The consumption of meat from cull dairy cows and of raw milk has been associated with foodborne salmonellosis. This survey was conducted to establish the prevalence of Salmonella in cull dairy cow fecal samples and bulk tank milk and to determine the proportion of Salmonella-positive dairy farms (n = 30) in east Tennessee. Food and Drug Administration bacteriological analytical protocols were generally used for Salmonella isolation. Primary enrichment was performed with lactose broth, and secondary enrichment was conducted with tetrathionate broth. Eosin methylene blue, hektoen enteric, xylose lysine desoxycholate, bismuth sulfite, and brilliant green (BG) were used as isolation agars. BG agars supplemented with individual antibiotics and/or sulfur compounds were also evaluated. Six of 268 (2.24%) bulk tank milk samples and 9 of 415 (2.17%) fecal samples from 7 of 30 (25.3%) dairy farms were Salmonella-positive. Most isolates (11 of 15) were obtained between September and December. Salmonella isolates were further characterized using polyvalent somatic O Salmonella antiserum, o-nitrophenyl-β-d-galactopyranoside (ONPG), and Analytical Profile Index (API) 20E strips for Enterobacteriaceae. Serological evaluation of presumptive positive Salmonella isolates resulted in substantial numbers of false positives (41.2%). ONPG and API 20E tests enabled further biochemical distinction of the majority of Salmonella spp. from Salmonella Arizonae and closely related members of Enterobacteriaceae like Citrobacter youngae. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of SpeI-digested Salmonella DNA was used to subtype isolates. The isolates grouped into four clusters. The baseline information generated in this survey is being used to develop preharvest pathogen reduction programs on selected farms.

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