Contamination of rendered products with Salmonella is a concern for the rendering industry, particularly when those products are intended for use in other foodstuffs, such as pet food. This study was conducted to understand the influence of compositional variation on the location and survivability of Salmonella in a poultry fat matrix. Specifically, this study aimed to (i) assess the influence of postinoculation time and moisture content on the distribution of Salmonella in rendered poultry fat and (ii) evaluate the impact of postinoculation time and physical parameters (i.e., impurity level and moisture content) on survival of three Salmonella strains in rendered poultry fat stored at two different temperatures. Three studies, designated as study I(a), I(b), and II, respectively, were conducted to address these objectives. In study I(a), a green fluorescent protein–expressing strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was used to map the organism within warmed (45°C) poultry fat containing various levels of moisture. In study I(b), the influence of storage temperature on the survivability of green fluorescent protein–expressing Salmonella was evaluated. In study II, the impacts of physical impurities, moisture content, and storage temperature on the survivability of three Salmonella strains (Enteritidis, Senftenberg, and Typhimurium) were assessed. The results of this study demonstrated that composition (i.e., moisture and impurity contents) influences the survivability of Salmonella in poultry fat; specifically, Salmonella is more persistent in poultry fat with a greater moisture content and water activity. Nonetheless, although composition impacts the distribution and survivability of Salmonella in poultry fat, Salmonella generally does not survive in poultry fat maintained at high temperatures (45°C and above).

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