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Serial Disinfection with Heat and Chlorine To Reduce Microorganism Populations on Poultry Transport Containers

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A prototype system for the cleaning and decontamination of poultry transport containers was previously developed and evaluated as a means of eliminating foodborne pathogens entering poultry processing plants. While decontamination of the containers once with the use of either hot water (up to 70°C) or sodium hypochlorite (up to 1,000 ppm) resulted in significant reductions in the numbers of coliforms and the elimination of small numbers of Salmonella, complete removal of pathogens was not attained. Therefore, the present study was conducted to determine whether repeated decontamination of the same containers could eliminate coliforms and Salmonella consistently. Individual five-tier containers consisting of galvanized steel frames and fiberglass floors were identified (n = 6) and decontaminated once per day for five consecutive days after being used to haul broilers from farms to the processing plant. Two types of containers were tested in this study: one had previously been used for broiler transportation, and the other had new floors. After each transport, the containers were first precleaned with a cleaning agent using a high-pressure jet (6,094 kPa) to remove debris and to loosen biofilms from surfaces. The containers were then immersed in an aqueous solution of 1,000 ppm of sodium hypochlorite at 70°C for 2 min. Samples obtained from the container surfaces before and after each cleaning and decontamination were analyzed to obtain coliform and Salmonella counts. Coliforms were completely eliminated from both types of containers following one decontamination treatment. Because no Salmonella were detected on the containers, the effect of decontamination in the elimination of Salmonella was not determined. Similar treatments on five successive days also resulted in poultry transport containers that were essentially free of Salmonella and coliforms. This decontamination system involving a combination of heat and sodium hypochlorite can be used as a standard method for cleaning poultry transport containers in the poultry industry. It is recommended that such containers be cleaned after each use to avoid the potential risk of a buildup of significantly higher loads of pathogenic microorganisms and their biofilms.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Resources Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA 2: Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA 3: Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, 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.

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