<OL> <LI> To improve poultry meat safety (production, processing, and packaging safety of poultry meat) through bacterial intervention strategies (chemical, biological, thermal, engineering) and nutritional aspects. <BR>a. To test chemical (organic acids, acidified electrolyzed water, nisin/lysozyme) interventions for reduction and eliminating pathogenic (Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria) and spoilage bacteria on processed poultry products. <BR>b. To identify and evaluate biological interventions, such as competitive exclusion or biologically derived molecules, for eliminating pathogenic bacteria from poultry processing equipment surfaces and products. <BR>c. To assess novel thermal and non-thermal (irradiation) processes for the ability to eliminate pathogens and extend the shelf life of poultry products. <BR>d. To develop novel engineering and chemical (nisin and lysozyme) approaches for producing safer poultry products.<BR> e. To assess dietary components and management practices (photoperiod) that may decrease colonization and shedding of pathogens during the production of poultry. <LI> Egg Quality and Safety - To identify methods and procedures to improve and maintain the quality and safety of shell eggs and egg products. <BR>a. Identify strain and environmental factors associated with functionality deficiencies in egg products. <BR>b. Quantify the changes in functionality of eggs and the compositional changes in egg over the hens egg production cycle.<BR> c. Assess the effectiveness of alternative sanitizing agents on shell eggs. <BR>d. Determine environmental and biological factors impacting the safety of eggs.
Non-Technical Summary: Outbreaks of foodborne illness continue to persist in the U.S. food supply even though it is considered one of the safest in the world. There are an estimated 60 to 80 million individuals who contract foodborne illness each year leading to approximately 5,000 deaths. The annual costs of foodborne illness in the U.S. are estimated at from $5 to $6 billion, including both medical costs and productivity losses. Contaminated poultry products contribute significantly to these foodborne disease statistics. Removal and destruction of pathogens on the surfaces of poultry products and processing equipment are important links in the goal of producing pathogen-free products. Hence, new on-farm and in plant strategies and methods to reduce bacterial populations inherent to the live bird and on poultry products are needed while assuring that products reach the consumer in a wholesome state. The intent of this study is to evaluate different strategies and interventions to achieve the goal of improving the safety and quality of poultry and egg products. <P> Approach: Poultry Meat Safety. Influences of grain particle size and insoluble fiber content on Salmonella colonization and shedding in turkeys fed a corn-soybean meal diet will be evaluated. The effects of Immustim and Protimax on C. jejuni and S. Typhimurium populations in broilers will be evaluated. Using the poultry production resources located at NC, turkeys will be reared according to the above outlined treatments and then subsequently processed and split cecal and fecal samples analyzed at NC and SC for the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella intestinal colonization, respectively. Pathogen (E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter) dissemination in an integrated poultry production complex will be studied by monitoring broiler farms. Intervention strategies for reducing pathogenic, indicator, and spoilage bacteria from poultry carcasses will be investigated. Environmental isolates will be correlated with those recovered from post-chill carcasses by bacterial ribotyping. Effect of carcass washers on Campylobacter and Salmonella contamination in large broiler processing plants will be researched. As a means of estimating the prevalence of contamination across a multitude of broiler processing plants located in the southeastern United States, carcasses from multiple plants will be monitored for these two pathogens. Listeria monocytogenes will be subtyped from several poultry further processing plants over a period of months to determine the source of contamination. The elimination of L. monocytogenes in packaged, ready-to-eat poultry products by combining heat with lysozyme and/or nisin and MAP will be investigated. Efficacy of conveyor belt materials containing inhibitors for controlling food-borne pathogens in the processing environment will be evaluated. The risk of microbial cross-contamination using these conveyor belts will be determined. Optimum belt treatments identified from these studies will be further evaluated during in-plant trials conducted across several states. The ability of various food-grade powders to adsorb and release nisin activity will be evaluated. Furthermore, a multi-hurdle approach using natural antimicrobial films and carriers with in-package pasteurization for sliced ready-to-eat poultry products will be evaluated. Packaging films containing or coated with adsorptive powders containing nisin will be generated and subsequently tested for their efficacy against Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat poultry products. The application of antimicrobial propoerties of eggshell membranes to different muscle food systems will be examined. Egg Safety and Quality. Testing will be directed at ways to improve the quality of shell eggs and egg products using established methods. ARS and NC will seek to develop more advanced rheological methods for assessing egg and egg product quality. NC will examine the factors associated with functional deficiencies in egg products and changes in the composition and functionality of eggs as influenced by the hen life cycle. Through collaborations, AL, ARS, and NC will seek to develop more objective methods of assessing egg and egg product functionality.