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Summary

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service determined populations of bacteria on poultry during processing at a slaughter plant in Puerto Rico in November and December 1987. The plant was selected because of its management's willingness to support important changes in equipment and processing procedures. The plant was representative of modern slaughter facilities. Eight-hundred samples were collected over 20 consecutive 8-hour days of operation from 5 sites in the processing plant. Results indicated that slaughter, dressing, and chilling practices significantly decreased the bacterial contamination on poultry carcasses, as determined by counts of aerobic bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, and Escherichia coli. Salmonella was not enumerated; rather, it was determined to be present or absent by culturing almost the entire rinse. The prevalence of Salmonella in the study decreased during evisceration, then increased during immersion chilling.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In June and September 1988, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service sampled raw chicken carcasses at a federally inspected slaughter establishment in Puerto Rico to determine the effects of changing the scalding equipment on bacterial contents of raw poultry products. The scalding equipment was changed to a countercurrent configuration, with a postscald hot-water rinse cabinet that sprayed carcasses as they exited the scalder. Analysis of 250 carcass-rinse samples collected at preevisceration, prechill, and postchill sites over 7 days indicated that carcasses had mean aerobe plate counts of log103.73 before evisceration, 3.18 before chilling, and 2.87 after chilling; Enterobacteriaceae counts of log102.70 before evisceration, 2.25 before chilling, and 1.56 after chilling; and Escherichia coli counts of log102.09 before evisceration, 1.61 before chilling, and 0.89 after chilling. Salmonellae were found on 24% of the carcasses before evisceration, on 28% before chilling, and on 49% after chilling. Although bacterial count reductions were significant at all 3 sites, the proportion of carcasses contaminated with salmonellae in this study was higher at the postchill than prechill site (49 vs 28%). This no doubt was caused by cross-contamination in the chiller. These percentages indicated that although simple scalder changes contributed substantially to the improvement of the bacterial quality of chicken carcasses, additional interventions in the chilling process (such as chlorination of chill water) are important to control cross-contamination and to preserve the positive effects obtained by the scalder changes.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association