ATLANTA – During the first day of the Salmonella and Campylobacter Reduction Conference held during the 2011 International Poultry Expo, several hundred attendees heard the results of an industry survey focusing on the types of pathogen interventions used by US processors. The survey was conducted by Auburn Univ. in partnership with the National Chicken Council, the North American Meat Processors Association and the US Poultry & Egg Association. An overview of the survey results were presented by Dr. Shelly McKee, associate professor at Auburn Univ.’s department of poultry science. The study was designed to provide a snapshot of the US poultry industry to gather updated information from the majority of US poultry processors and targeted the corporate offices that direct plant food safety.

According to McKee, “We worked closely with NCC and USPOULTRY to develop a thorough survey, designed to get the answers that everyone in the industry is interested in.”

Surveys included questions about interventions used throughout plants’ processing systems, from the time the birds enter the facilities to when the product is shipped. “We want to know what systems they used to have in place and what has changed. We asked about the physical steps they take to reduce pathogens, as well as the chemicals they use. Despite Russian exporting requirements that do not allow for chlorine use in chill tanks, McKee said many of the medium and small-size processors not exporting to Russia continue using chlorine because of its lower cost.

Options available to comply with the Russian requirements include using cetylpyridinium chloride, peroxyacetic acid or hydrogen peroxide in lieu of chlorine. McKee pointed out that according to the survey results, campylobacter may not be effectively controlled using the current interventions and there is opportunity for improvement.

Overall, she said, “There is an increase in the number of facilities using dip tanks, finishing chillers and post chiller antimicrobial interventions.” The contact time antimicrobials have with carcasses is directly related to the effectiveness of the intervention, she said.

For processors still using chlorine, it is most effective at ph levels between 5.5 and 6.0 ppm, according to the survey. Interventions involving the use of acidic additives in finishing chillers are effective at levels of 1.5 to 1.7 ppm, however this intervention is regarded as a more expensive option by processors surveyed. McKee said the use of trisodium phosphate results in higher ph levels in chillers and increased levels in phosphate in waste water, but has proven to be an effective intervention to prevent E. coli

For more details about the survey, contact NAMP at