The cross-contamination effects of three commercial defeathering systems were compared using turkeys from a single Salmonella-positive flock (< or = 15% cloacal-positive). Single or "common" flocks were used to control flock-to-flock variability. Thirty birds were mechanically defeathered in each system as the first flock of the day and compared with 30 hand-defeathered (control) birds. Three trials, each using a different common flock, were completed. In Trial 1, the incidence of Salmonella-positive birds decreased following mechanical defeathering at all three processors. The incidence of Salmonella-positive carcasses in test flocks increased following steam-spray (approximately 100%) and kosher (approximately 50%) defeathering in Trials 2 and 3, whereas no increase in Salmonella-positive carcasses resulted from conventional defeathering. The decrease in the number of Salmonella-positive birds as a result of defeathering observed in Trial 1, as compared to increases observed in Trials 2 and 3, may be related to the selection of feather-contaminated (Trial 1) vs intestinal-colonized (Trials 2 and 3) turkeys. Surface temperature of the carcasses and length of time required to defeather were monitored within each system. It is hypothesized that the increases in the number of Salmonella-positive birds following steam-spray and kosher defeathering in Trials 2 and 3 were a result of skin surface changes occurring during the defeathering process, which allowed increased adherence or entrapment of Salmonella spp. on or within remaining skin layers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology