Numbers of certain pathogenic microorganisms associated with turkey and turkey products were determined at three Minnesota turkey eviscerating and processing plants. The influence of processing and freezing was investigated. Using a predetermined sampling plan, skin and meat samples were obtained from 96 turkeys. Numbers of Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus, salmonellae, and coliform organisms in each sample were determined. All types of organisms studied were found in 10 to 1000-fold higher levels in the skin than in meat samples. Clostridium perfringens and S. aureus organisms were recovered from samples obtained during each stage in the processing of the birds. Salmonellae were not found as frequently. Of 85 fresh skin and meat samples, 53 (62%) yielded C. perfringens and 46 (54%) yielded S. aureus. Salmonellae were recovered from 11 of 74 (15%) fresh samples and coliform organisms from 74 of 85 (85%) fresh samples, Frozen storage (31 days at −20 F) reduced recovery of the organisms to 56, 53, 9, and 67% respectively.

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Author notes

1Scientific Journal Series Paper No. 8385, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, St. Paul.

2Present address: Headquarters, U. S. Army Health Services Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234.

3Present address: Dalbo Cheese Company, Dalbo, Minnesota 55017.