Chickens at selected points in the slaughter process and after slaughter on the dressing line in poultry plants were sampled and analyzed for Salmonella. These chickens came from the northeast part of Poland. The examinations were carried out in quarters I, II, III, and IV of 1999. All the birds were determined to be healthy by a veterinary inspection. Swab samples were taken from the cloaca after stunning and from the skin surface and body cavity of the whole bird after evisceration, after rinsing at the final rinse station but before chilling in the spin-chiller, and after cooling in the continuous cooling plant at the end of the production day. In 1999, 400 whole chickens were examined. The percentage of these 400 chickens from which Salmonella spp. were isolated was relatively high (23.75%; Salmonella-positive results were observed in 95 cases). Salmonella spp. were found after stunning in 6% of the chickens (6 of 100 samples), after evisceration in 24% (24 of 100), before cooling in 52% (52 of 100), and after cooling in 13% (13 of 100). These results show that Salmonella spp. were found more often at some processing points than at others. The lowest Salmonella spp. contamination rate (6%) for slaughter birds was found after stunning, and the highest contamination rate was found before chilling (52%). The serological types of Salmonella spp. isolated from whole chickens were Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium, Salmonella Saintpaul, Salmonella Agona, and Salmonella Infantis. The results of these investigations indicate that Salmonella Enteritidis is the dominant serological type in infections of slaughter chickens, as it is in many countries.

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