Poultry food safety research at UMES

  • Friday, April 1, 2011

     

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (April 1, 2011) - UMES poultry food safety researchers have authored one of the Journal of Food Protection's most read articles.  The journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology and boasts a readership that exceeds 11,000 scientists from 69 countries.

    Dr. Salina Parveen, UMES; Geoff Rutto, UMES; Dr. Tom Oscar, USDA-Agriculture Research Service (ARS), UMES; and Jacquelyn Wheatley-Ludwig, USDA-ARS, UMES, are the authors of  "Qualitative Map of Salmonella Contamination on Young Chicken Carcasses." According to the publisher of the International Association for Food Protection, the article was the most-read article in the trade journal's September 2010 issue.

    Because the article is the first report of a map tracking the distribution of Salmonella in chicken, it was of high interest to  journal readers. The map allows poultry inspectors to target sampling efforts to detect Salmonella, making it a valuable food safety tool in the poultry industry. It also will give poultry processors more information about effective intervention strategies to remove or eliminate Salmonella from chickens during commercial processing. 

    Moreover, the map will provide valuable insights into how poultry processing procedures can be changed to reduce or eliminate Salmonella from chicken. The study found that the right drumstick was more often contaminated with Salmonella than the left drumstick; because during poultry processing, line workers lay the intestines over the right drumstick for subsequent inspection by USDA inspectors. In addition to recommending that the procedure be changed, the study also proposed new approaches for sampling and testing for Salmonella to allow the USDA and the poultry industry to assess and manage risks to public health more effectively.  

    The UMES research team's work also was highlighted by the website, Meatingplace.com, an online community for North American beef, pork, and poultry processors. Parveen and Oscar, researchers from the Food Science and Technology Ph. D. Program, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and USDA ARS, mapped the distribution of Salmonella on young chicken carcasses in the Cornish game hen class.

    The chickens were bought at retail over a three-year period.  Carcasses were sectioned into 12 parts and Salmonella was isolated and cultured, and characterized for serotype, antibiotic resistance and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (DNA fingerprint) patterns. Salmonella was detected in 21.5 percent (181 of 840) of the parts, and in 57.1 percent (40 of 70) of the carcasses.

    The researchers determined the rib back and the sacral back were the most contaminated parts of the carcass. Of the contaminated whole carcasses, researchers found 37 different patterns. When Salmonella is present on chicken carcasses, it exhibits a diverse pattern of contamination, and often more than one type of Salmonella is present, according to new research published in the Journal of Food Protection.

    The researchers concluded that "whole-carcass incubation succeeded by characterization of multiple isolates