Chicken and Salmonella: Salmonella Control in the Poultry Production Line
Bacterial infections caused by salmonella bacteria often can be traced back to the means of live production of poultry products, the most common source of salmonella infections from food. There are many ways that salmonella can manifest itself in the production line of poultry products, and much of the spread of bacteria happens early in the lives of chicks. This is because the underdeveloped state of the chicks’ intestinal tracts that serve as prime spreading grounds for the harmful bacteria.
This being said, there are ways of helping to prevent the spread of these infections.
- Broilers, which is the name given to poultry that is to be raised for meat, are less likely to be infected with salmonella when litter for raising them as chicks is not reused for later hatchings of chicks. The alternative to not reusing litter is making sure that the top layer of dressing on this litter is fresh for each hatching group. This helps reduce the spread of bacteria from prior infected groups to new hatchling groups.
- Preventing salmonella at the “early” stage of production can include vaccinating birds and “amping up” their immune systems with targeted booster shots at their hatching, and making sure that “laying sites” are clean and dry, as damp and dirty laying sites facilitate salmonella spreading through contact with fecal material. Vaccinating birds at their hatching greatly reduces the chances for salmonella to spread. In fact, studies have found an over sixty percent decrease in the incidence of salmonella-infected chicken carcasses when vaccines are utilized.
- Discarding visibly dirty eggs is an advisable practice, as later efforts to disinfect these eggs can actually cover up (without killing) the bacteria, and producing unsanitary conditions down-stream.
- Maintaining sanitation within a facility, at every step in the laying, hatching, and transferring processes (including sanitary ventilation of facilities) can greatly reduce cross-contamination and the spread of salmonella to the consumer.
There are also practices that can prevent the spread of salmonella through feeding and processing processes.
- When producing feed, ensuring proper temperatures of 185℉ in the production of pellets is important, as is preventing condensation within the pellet cooler.
- In the processing stage, maintaining the integrity of poultry skins while scalding at adequate temperatures (above 125℉) is key.
- Using food-safe acid and chemical washes during feed production and poultry processing is a useful option.
- Formaldehyde and propionic acid can be used to eliminate salmonella in feed, and peroxyacetic acid, hypochlorous acid, and buffered sulfuric acid can all be used while chilling in the processing.
- Meats can be given antimicrobial baths after chilling.
These practices can help prevent the spread of salmonella bacteria, but none of these strategies are guarantees that salmonella will not reach food that is consumed. “Every year there are well over a million cases of salmonella poisoning,” says National Salmonella Lawsuit Lawyer Tony Coveey, “making salmonella, named after Dr. Daniel Elmer Salmon in 1900, one of the most prolific food borne bacteria in the United States. It Hospitalizes about 23,000 people in the US annually, killing between 400 and 500. In our practice as food poisoning lawyers, we have represented thousands of salmonella victims, including many who develop life-long ailments such salmonella post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome and salmonella post infectious reactive arthritis.
Staying up to date with outbreaks of infectious bacteria like salmonella is crucial, and knowing what to do when symptoms appear is crucial. Symptoms are similar to most moderate cases of food poisoning and can include moderate stomach pain and diarrhea, but if symptoms worsen or last longer than a few days, medical attention should be sought and the infection should not be remedied from home.