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Enumeration of Campylobacter spp. in Broiler Feces and in Corresponding Processed Carcasses

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Twenty north Georgia commercial flocks of broiler chickens sampled in 1995 and 11 flocks sampled in 2001 were tested for Campylobacter spp. Direct plating on Campy-Cefex agar was carried out to determine levels of Campylobacter colonization within each flock through the enumeration of the organism in 50 fresh fecal samples 1 day prior to slaughter. The next morning, these flocks were the first to be processed, and levels of the organism per carcass before the chilling operation (50 carcasses per flock) in 2001 and after the chilling operation (50 carcasses per flock) in both 1995 and 2001 were estimated. Levels of the organism on freshly processed broiler carcasses were estimated by the same methods in 1995 and 2001, and a significant reduction from an average of 104.11 CFU per carcass in 1995 to an average of 103.05 CFU per carcass in 2001 was observed. Levels of Campylobacter spp. found in production and in processing were not strongly correlative, indicating the existence of complex parameters involving production factors and variables associated with flock transport and the processing of the broilers. The reduction in Campylobacter levels on processed carcasses may have contributed to the reduction in the frequency of human disease observed by the Centers for Disease Control during the same period. These data characterize the distribution of Campylobacter in north Georgia poultry operations and should assist in the development of risk assessment models for Campylobacter spp. The results obtained in this study suggest that the implementation of antimicrobial interventions by the poultry industry has already reduced consumer exposure to the organism.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, Russell Research Center, 950 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605 2: Wayne Farms LLC, 4110 Continental Drive, Oakwood, Georgia 30566, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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