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Impact of Feathers and Feather Follicles on Broiler Carcass Bacteria

by 5m Editor
12 August 2004, at 12:00am

By J. A. Cason, A. Hinton, Jr., and R. J. Buhr, Poultry Processing and Meat Quality Research Unit, USDA/ARS - Genetically featherless and feathered broiler siblings were used to test the contribution of feathers and feather follicles to the numbers of aerobic bacteria, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter in whole-carcass rinse samples taken immediately after carcasses were defeathered for 30 or 60 s.

Impact of Feathers and Feather Follicles on Broiler Carcass Bacteria - J. A. Cason, A. Hinton, Jr., and R. J. Buhr, Poultry Processing and Meat Quality Research Unit, USDA/ARS - Genetically featherless and feathered broiler siblings were used to test the contribution of feathers and feather follicles to the numbers of aerobic bacteria, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter in whole-carcass rinse samples taken immediately after carcasses were defeathered for 30 or 60 s.

Abstract

Numbers of spoilage bacteria were counted after the same fully processed carcasses were stored for 1 wk at 2°C. In each of 3 replications, twenty-eight 11-wk-old, mixed-sex, genetically featherless or feathered broilers were processed in a laboratory processing facility.

Immediately after individual defeathering in a mechanical picker, carcasses were sampled using a carcass rinse technique. Carcasses were eviscerated, immersion chilled at 2°C for 30 min, individually bagged, and stored for 1 wk at 2°C, after which all carcasses were rinsed again, and spoilage bacteria in the rinsate were enumerated.

There were no significant differences (P is less than or equal to 0.05) between the featherless and feathered broilers in numbers of aerobic bacteria, E. coli, and Campylobacter in rinse samples taken immediately after defeathering and no differences between carcasses picked for 30 or 60 s.

There were no differences in numbers of spoilage bacteria after 1 wk of refrigeration for any of the feather presence-picking length combinations.

Although the defeathering step in poultry processing has been identified as an opportunity for bacterial contamination from the intestinal tract and cross-contamination between carcasses, the presence of feathers and feather follicles does not make a significant difference in carcass bacterial contamination immediately after defeathering or in spoilage bacteria after 1 wk of refrigeration.

The study is published in Poultry Science 83:1452-1455, August 2004 edition

Source: Poultry Science - August 2004