Evaluating best practices for Campylobacter and Salmonella reduction in poultry processing plants

Poult Sci. 2016 Feb;95(2):306-15. doi: 10.3382/ps/pev328. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


Poultry processing plants in the United States were surveyed on their current Campylobacter and Salmonella control practices. Following surveys, data were collected to develop a baseline for prevalence rates of Salmonella and Campylobacter; then changes in practices were implemented and evaluated for improvements in pathogen control. Surveys were sent to the plant Quality Assurance managers to determine production levels, antimicrobial interventions, and current pathogen testing practices. Initial sampling was performed at 6 plants with similar production volumes, at sites that included carcass samples before any pre-evisceration intervention, after exiting the inside-outside bird washer (IOBW), after exiting the pre-chiller, after exiting the primary chiller, and after exiting any post-chill intervention, as well as a water sample from each scalder, pre-chiller, primary chiller, and post-chill dip tank or finishing chiller. Enumerations and enrichments were performed for Campylobacter and Salmonella. Following the baseline sampling, changes in practices were suggested for each plant and a second sampling was conducted to determine their effectiveness. Results demonstrated that peracetic acid (PAA) was the most effective (P < 0.05) antimicrobial currently in use. The use of a post-chill antimicrobial immersion tank and/or use of a cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) spray cabinet also displayed a further reduction in microbial levels (P < 0.05) when the primary chiller was not sufficient (P > 0.05). Microbial buildup in the immersion tanks demonstrates the need for effective cleaning, sanitation practices, and chiller maintenance to reduce contamination of poultry with Campylobacter and Salmonella.

Keywords: Campylobacter; Salmonella; best practices; poultry processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Campylobacter / drug effects
  • Campylobacter Infections / epidemiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / prevention & control
  • Campylobacter Infections / veterinary*
  • Chickens*
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Meat / microbiology*
  • Peracetic Acid
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology
  • Poultry Diseases / microbiology
  • Poultry Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Salmonella / drug effects
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / epidemiology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / prevention & control*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Peracetic Acid