Skip to main content

Broiler Carcass Contamination with Campylobacter from Feces during Defeathering

Buy Article:

$37.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Three sets of experiments were conducted to explore the increase in recovery of Campylobacter from broiler carcasses after defeathering. In the first set of experiments, live broilers obtained from a commercial processor were transported to a pilot plant, and breast skin was sampled by a sponge wipe method before and after defeathering. One of 120 broiler breast skin samples was positive for Campylobacter before defeathering, and 95 of 120 were positive after defeathering. In the second set of experiments, Campylobacter-free flocks were identified, subjected to feed withdrawal, and transported to the pilot plant. Carcasses were intracloacally inoculated with Campylobacter (107 CFU) just prior to entering the scald tank. Breast skin sponge samples were negative for Campylobacter before carcasses entered the picker (0 of 120 samples). After defeathering, 69 of 120 samples were positive for Campylobacter, with an average of log10 2.7 CFU per sample (approximately 30 cm2). The third set of experiments was conducted using Campylobacter-positive broilers obtained at a commercial processing plant and transported live to the pilot plant. Just prior to scalding, the cloacae were plugged with tampons and sutured shut on half of the carcasses. Plugged carcasses were scalded, and breast skin samples taken before and after defeathering were compared with those collected from control broilers from the same flock. Prior to defeathering, 1 of 120 breast skin sponge samples were positive for the control carcasses, and 0 of 120 were positive for the plugged carcasses. After passing through the picker, 120 of 120 control carcasses had positive breast skin sponge samples, with an average of log10 4.2 CFU per sample (approximately 30 cm2). Only 13 of 120 plugged carcasses had detectable numbers of Campylobacter on the breast skin sponge, with an average of log10 2.5 CFU per sample. These data indicate that an increase in the recovery of Campylobacter after defeathering can be related to the escape of contaminated feces from the cloaca during defeathering.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: USDA-ARS–Poultry Processing and Meat Quality Research Unit, Russell Research Center, Athens, Georgia 30604-5677, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website).

    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

    Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more