ABSTRACT

Protecting public health by controlling Salmonella in chicken meat products continues to be a challenge to both industry and policymakers. Studies evaluating the combined use of commercially available antimicrobial interventions are scarce. The aim of this work was to develop a risk-based prioritization framework to rank chicken meat processing interventions that achieve the greatest Salmonella relative risk reduction. A baseline model characterizing the current U.S. broiler industry food safety intervention practices was created from direct observation of processes and expert elicitation. Results showed the combination of chlorine at the bird wash station and peroxyacetic acid at the on-line reprocessing and chill stages as the most common U.S. processing scenario. Irradiation at packaging and acidified sodium chlorite at evisceration were the most effective single processing interventions (98.8 and 91.6% risk reduction, respectively); however, no single intervention was able to comply with the current Food Safety and Inspection Service Salmonella postchill performance standards. The combination of peroxyacetic acid in at least one of the chicken processing stages with the current set of U.S. baseline interventions achieved >99% Salmonella relative risk reduction and ensured Food Safety and Inspection Service compliance. Adding more than one intervention to the U.S. current practice did not enhance (<2%) the overall Salmonella risk reduction. This study can help poultry processors to prioritize food safety interventions to maximize Salmonella reduction and public health protection.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A risk model evaluated the Salmonella interventions in the U.S. broiler industry.

  • Chlorine at the wash station and PAA at the OLR and chill stages were the most common.

  • Irradiation was the most effective single intervention (98.8% reduction).

  • Adding PAA to chill stages achieved 99% Salmonella reduction.

  • Adding more interventions did not achieve further Salmonella reduction (<2%).

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