Presence of Campylobacter jejuni was determined at various locations in turkey carcass processing and further processing of turkey products (wieners, ham and boneless breast). Contamination of turkey carcasses with C. jejuni, in most cases, occurred on the surface of the skin or on the surface of the abdominal cavity lining. No contamination of interior muscle tissue was observed. The percentage of turkeys containing C. jejuni upon entering the processing plant varied (50 to 100%). Large numbers of C. jejuni were killed during scalding of carcasses, but extensive recontamination occurred during mechanical defeathering. After scalding, numbers of C. jejuni peaked during evisceration, but dropped to lower levels after washing. Few or no C. jejuni were recovered from the carcasses after leaving the chill tank. No C. jejuni were detected on frozen turkey carcasses, including the drip, at the wholesale or retail level. However, Campylobacter coli was detected in the drip of a few carcasses that had been in frozen storage at the wholesale level for 2 wk and 3 months. Neither C. jejuni nor C. coli was detected on frozen turkeys at the retail level. Although, in some cases, C. jejuni were recovered from turkey meat during initial stages of further processing, no C. jejuni were recovered from heat-treated, further processed products.
1Department of Animal Science.
2Department of Poultry Science.