The burden of foodborne illness linked to the consumption of contaminated broiler meat is high in the United States. With the increase in popularity of alternative poultry rearing and production systems, it is important to identify the difference in food safety risks presented by alternative systems when compared to conventional methods. While many studies have been conducted surveying foodborne pathogen prevalence along the broiler supply chain, a systematic overview of all of the available results is lacking. In the current study, a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to quantify the differences in Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. prevalence in farming environment, rehang, prechill, postchill, and retail samples between conventional and alternative production systems. A systematic search of Web of Science and PubMed databases was conducted to identify eligible studies. Studies were then evaluated by inclusion criteria, and included studies were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed. In total, 137 trials from 72 studies were used in the final meta-analysis. Meta-analysis models were individually constructed for subgroups that were determined by sample type, pathogen, and production type. All subgroups possessed high amounts of heterogeneity (I 2 > 75%). For environmental sample subgroups, Campylobacter prevalence was estimated to be 15.8 and 52.8% for conventional and alternative samples, respectively. Similar prevalence estimates for both production types were observed for Salmonella environmental samples and all retail samples. For conventional samples, Campylobacter and Salmonella prevalence was highest in prechill samples, followed by rehang and postchill samples, respectively. The presented results will be of use in future quantitative microbial risk assessments to characterize the differences in foodborne illness risks presented by different broiler production systems.

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