Cross-contamination with Salmonella on a broiler slaughterhouse line demonstrated by use of epidemiological markers

J.E. Olsen, D.J. Brown, M. Madsen, M. Bisgaard

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Aims: To investigate contamination of surfaces on a poultry slaughter line from infected poultry and subsequent cross-contamination of non-infected poultry. Methods and Results: A broiler slaughterhouse was investigated for the presence of Salmonella on 17 defined points over two 1-week periods. Flocks supplied to slaughter and neck skin samples from processed chicken were likewise investigated. Salmonella was detected in 10 out of 18 flocks at ante-mortem inspection, while seven flocks tested positive in the finished products. Equipment at all but one control point at the slaughter line tested positive at least once during the study. The chicken receiving area was the most contaminated. By comparison of typing results from serotyping, plasmid profile typing and phage typing, direct evidence for cross-contamination with Salm. serotype Typhimurium, Salm. Serotype 4.12:b:- and Salm. serotype Virchow on the slaughter line was obtained for four of the flocks. The cleaning procedure in place did not remove all Salmonella from the contaminated areas. Conclusions: Evidence for contamination of equipment on a slaughter line and subsequent cross-contamination to non-infected chicken was provided by typing methods. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study has provided detailed information on cross-contamination on a slaughter line by the use of phage typing and plasmid profiling. The study stresses the importance of controlling Salmonella in the primary production, as contamination of the equipment on the slaughter line will act as a vehicle to contaminate finished products. Cleaning procedures on slaughter lines cannot be expected to control this problem with the current equipment.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)826-835
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • cross-contamination
    • typing
    • Salmonella
    • broiler production


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