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Distribution of Campylobacter spp. in Selected U.S. Poultry Production and Processing Operations

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Abstract:

A study was conducted of 32 broiler flocks on eight different farms, belonging to four major U.S. producers. The farms were studied over 1 complete calendar year. Overall, 28 (87.5%) of the flocks became Campylobacter positive, and only four (12.5%) remained negative throughout the 6- to 8-week rearing period. In the majority of flocks, sampled every 2 weeks throughout production, Campylobacter-positive fecal and cecal samples were not detected until 4 to 8 weeks of age. In only six of the flocks were environmental samples found to be positive before shedding of Campylobacter was detected in the birds. Even in some of the Campylobacter-negative flocks, contamination of the rearing environment was positive for Campylobacter but did not result in the birds subsequently excreting the organism. These findings are discussed in relation to U.S. husbandry practices and present uncertainty about sources of Campylobacter infection for poultry flocks. Birds were often transported to the processing plant in coops that were already contaminated with Campylobacter, and the organisms were sometimes found in samples of scald water and chill water. After chilling, the proportions of Campylobacter-positive carcasses from different producers ranged from 21.0 to 40.9%, which is lower than in other studies, and possible reasons are considered.

Keywords:

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 5677, Athens, Georgia, 30604-5677, USA 2: Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 5677, Athens, Georgia, 30604-5677, USA 3: 17 Harbutts, Bathampton, Bath, Somerset BA2 6TA, UK

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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