It is important to minimise microbial contamination of poultry-meat products, especially in relation to any foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella.
Processing of Salmonella-positive flocks
- The Salmonella status of broiler flocks should be monitored during rearing.
- Salmonella-positive flocks should be processed seperately, usually at the end of the proceesing shift.
- The equipment and the processing environment are then cleaned and suitably sanitised before the next flock is processed.
Control of Salmonella contamination in processing
Because of the nature of the process and the high speed at which finished carcasses are often produced, it is not possible to entirely prevent the spread of any Salmonellas that may be introduced by in-coming birds.
Cross-contamination of carcasses can occur via:
- Contaminated equipment – Some equipment is prone to harbouring Salmonellas eg defeathering machines. Requires special attention in cleaning and disinfection.
- Process water.
- The hands of personnel.
Product contamination can be minimised by the application of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles in conjunction with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for plant cleaning and disinfection. These systems involve appropriate training and supervision of staff.
When processing is properly controlled, any contamination of the end-product with Salmonella is usually at a very low level and consistent with the requirements for a safe, acceptable, raw-meat product.