OCTOBER n NOVEMBER 2018 17
tearing of viscera. This allows for intes-
tinal contents, which can contain high
levels of foodborne pathogens, to come
into contact with carcasses on the pro-
cessing line. In short, bird health im-
pacts flock uniformity, which then leads
to potential impacts on food safety.
There are few comparisons between
raw products from chickens fed NAE
and conventionally raised birds. When
retail chicken breasts were sampled for
Salmonella, Campylobacter, and coliforms,
no differences in prevalence or antibi-
otic resistances were observed between
organic, antibiotic-free, or conventional
products (Figure 3). 25 However, in this
study, chicken was purchased at a retail
market from a variety of sources. In
another study where chickens were all
processed at the same plant, Salmonella
was isolated more frequently from anti-
biotic-free chicken than conventionally
raised birds. 26 A more comprehensive
analysis of the impact of NAE programs
on the presence of Salmonella and Cam-
pylobacter on ready-to-cook poultry meat
could potentially be done by assessing
regulatory results from both NAE and
To minimize potential negative
food safety impacts of antibiotic-free
programs on ready-to-cook poultry
products, poultry producers are working
toward enhancing and maintaining opti-
mum bird health. n
Dianna V. Bourassa, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor/
Extension Specialist in poultry processing in the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn University.
Kim M. Wilson, Ph.D., recently completed her
doctoral degree at Ohio State University.
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Fecal Contamination Digestive cuts/tears
Campylobacter E. coli
0 Salmonella Campylobacter
Figure 3. Pathogens Recovered from Retail