Poultry International - November 2017 - 30
30 ❙ PoultryInternational
How to reduce bacteria during
Key points from harvesting to chilling can minimize bacterial
contamination of processed chickens.
EDUARDO CERVANTES LÓPEZ
Processed chicken must be safe for consumers to eat
and also have a good shelf life. To achieve both of these
qualities, it must be produced in hygienic conditions,
and microbial contamination kept to a minimum.
Various operations, starting with pre-slaughter,
need to be closely monitored in real time to ensure that
birds are kept clean. It is worth remembering that preslaughter and processing are highly linked, meaning
that broilers must be as clean as possible on arrival at
the processing plant if hygiene standards are to be maintained throughout processing.
Caged birds can be sprayed
once they are loaded onto
trucks to remove fecal matter.
Eduardo Cervantes Lopez
Feed is withdrawn 8-12 hours prior to slaughter.
During withdrawal, feeders should be kept at their normal height until the capture team arrives. This allows
the birds to eat any remaining feed and, once the feed
is finished, to peck the feeders. Without the feeders in
place, they will start to peck and ingest the litter and its
The house temperature also needs to be closely monitored during feed withdrawal, especially in open houses.
When temperatures are very high, birds will eat less
feed, affecting the consistency of fecal material and
resulting in an increase in the emptying of the gastrointestinal tract. To counter this, feed withdrawal should be
shortened during hot weather.
During cold periods, when temperatures fall below
16C, the gastrointestinal tract will be emptied more
slowly and so feed withdrawal periods can be lengthened to counter this.
Capture and caging
The noise and rapid movements of the capture team
will cause birds stress, leading to them defecating. This
will result in the cloaca, and its surrounding skin and
feathers, becoming contaminated with feces containing
Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter.
Once birds are caged and cages built into stacks,
there is a strong likelihood that fecal matter will fall
from birds in cages at the top of the stacks onto birds in
the lower layers, making the risk of bacterial contamination of the birds in the lower cages very high.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ November 2017