ABSTRACT

This study aimed to evaluate the decontamination effects of steam-ultrasound application, through specially designed nozzles installed inside a constructed machine, with a capacity of 10,500 birds per h on naturally contaminated broilers. Using three different skin-sampling areas—back, breast, and neck skin—microbial analysis of Campylobacter, Enterobacteriaceae, and total viable count (TVC) was performed before and after steam-ultrasound treatment. In total, 648 skin samples were analyzed for Campylobacter, and 216 samples were analyzed for Enterobacteriaceae and TVC. Results showed Campylobacter reductions (P < 0.001) of 0.8, 1.1, and 0.7 log, analyzed from back, breast, and the neck skin samples, respectively. Furthermore, reductions of Enterobacteriaceae (P < 0.001) by 1.6, 1.9, and 1.1 log and reductions of TVC (P < 0.001) by 2.0, 2.4, and 1.3 log were found on back, breasts, and neck, respectively. Campylobacter levels were evaluated after 8 days of refrigeration at 4°C in control and steam-ultrasound–treated broilers to determine contamination stability in a small 12-sample trial. The results showed no changes in reductions during refrigeration, indicating that reduced Campylobacter numbers remained stable in treated broilers. This study showed significant bacterial reduction was achieved in three different broiler surface areas at a slaughter speed of 10,500 birds per h at temperatures more than 80°C. The rapid treatment of less than 1.5-s exposure time inside the chamber makes this technology potentially suitable for modern and fast poultry processing lines.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Broiler decontamination with combined steam-ultrasound was evaluated.

  • Skin from three different areas on whole broilers was sampled.

  • Reductions (P < 0.0001) of Campylobacter, Enterobacteriaceae, and TVC were reached.

  • Campylobacter reductions were preserved post 8 days of refrigeration at 4°C.

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