The performance of a system to measure broiler carcass hygiene was investigated in the abattoir environment. The system involved: whole carcass rinses aided by a mechanical carcass shaker; filtration of rinse solutions though hydrophobic grid membrane filters (HGMF) (ISO-GRIDR, QA Laboratories Ltd.); and use of an automated HGMF interpreter. The interpreter recorded culture results in units of most probable number (MPN) of aerobic bacteria, in electronic data files (MI-100 HGMF Interpreter System, Richard Brancker Research Ltd.). Set-up and operation of the system by government inspection staff at an abattoir ran relatively smoothly with minimal interference to normal plant operation. The system demonstrated good repeatability in measuring log10 most probable number per gram of carcass (LgMPN/g), between repeat readings of the same filters (r=0.993 p<0.001), and good repeatability between repeat filters within the same carcass rinses (r=0.970 p<0.001). Overall, the LgMPN/g ranged from 0.258 to 3.955 with a mean of 2.276 and a variance of 0.324. These corresponded to MPN/g counts in the range of 2 to 9000 and a geometric mean of 188.8 MPN/g. A regression model was developed to investigate poultry supplier and abattoir effects on the variability of counts. A significant supplier effect was observed. The addition of two more carcass showers located just after the venting machine along the evisceration line was not associated with a change in carcass hygiene.

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