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Lightening the load: Teamwork between live production, processing key to reducing foodborne pathogens in poultry

While statistics show the US poultry industry has made great strides reducing foodborne pathogens, USDA’s new standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken parts have made poultry companies up their game.

While statistics show the US poultry industry has made great strides reducing foodborne pathogens, USDA’s new standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken parts have made poultry companies up their game.

 

Processing can’t do it all, however. According to panelists at an industry roundtable, there needs to be greater teamwork between live production and processing to meet these new standards.

“Sometimes you have flocks that come in with a very high pathogen load, one that’s higher than what the plant’s set to reduce,” said John Smith, DVM, formerly with Fieldale Farms and now a poultry consultant with Alectryon LLC.

“There probably are things we can do in the plant to make further improvements, but I don’t know that we can ratchet up our in-plant control procedures enough to meet a more stringent standard. Live production may need to play a bigger role.”

In addition to Smith, the roundtable featured Marty Ewing, DVM, Sanderson Farms, Robert O’Connor, DVM, Foster Farms; Charles Hofacre, DVM, University of Georgia and Southern Poultry Research Group; Randall Singer, DVM, University of Minnesota; Eric Willinghan, DVM, Winfield Veterinary Consulting; and Douglas Fulnechek, DVM, and Shane Calhoun, both with Zoetis.

 

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