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Still room for improving hygiene in the slaughter of poultry

34/2001, 22.10.2001

BgVV calls for stricter control measures

Poultry meat is still a main source of foodborne infections. Problems are caused above all by bacterial pathogens like salmonella and campylobacter bacteria. There is still no effective agent to prevent their spread in poultry stocks. Also during the slaughter process, the hygiene measures used are not sufficient to prevent the spread of these germs on an adequate level. The improvements to slaughter techniques introduced in recent years were mainly targeted at increasing the speed of slaughter. These techniques are far from satisfactory from the hygiene angle.

A current study by BgVV on the infection and contamination of broilers with salmonella shows that there is a need for further precautionary measures particularly in the cleaning of transport boxes, during scalding and plucking and other slaughter stages in addition to the previous cleaning and disinfection steps.

Beyond this, the medium-term goal must be to achieve salmonella-free fattening stocks. Studies on the entry of salmonella into the poultry meat production chain have only been conducted on an isolated basis up to now in the fattening area and mainly within the framework of the farm's own controls. As a rule, the findings did not lead to any action as there is no obligation for them to be passed on by the livestock farmer either to the abattoir or to the control authorities.

BgVV, therefore, believes that there is a need for more extensive measures like, for instance, the regular control of fattening poultry stocks for infections with salmonella and campylobacter bacteria using standardised methods in order to reduce or even completely prevent the entry of these microorganisms into the abattoirs. Furthermore, there are calls for the conduct of "logistical slaughter"; this means for example that salmonella-positive poultry flocks are slaughtered after salmonella-negative flocks.

Based on the findings of the above study on the infection and contamination of broilers with salmonella, BgVV is continuing to call for a reduction in the use of antimicrobial substances in poultry fattening. Furthermore, monitoring systems are to be set up to obtain on the one hand representative data about the antibiotic resistance situation with salmonella and other relevant microorganisms and, on the other, to determine the use of antimicrobial substances.

The problem of slaughter poultry and poultry meat examination has already been discussed at BgVV in an earlier expert meeting. The minutes of that meeting were published in BgVV Heft 03/99. The results of the studies on the incidence of salmonella in German productive poultry and poultry meat have also been published recently as BgVV Heft 02/01. Both publications can be obtained at a cost of DM 15 from the BgVV Press and Public Relations Office.


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