Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Overview of Listeria in Poultry Processing Plants

item Berrang, Mark

Submitted to: Georgia Poultry Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 5, 2000
Publication Date: October 10, 2000

Technical Abstract: Listeria monocytogenes is a human pathogen, listeriosis is a rare disease, however, fatality rates can be higher than 20% The most recent well publicized outbreak of this disease from poultry products occurred in 1998 and 1999. Ready to eat meats (hotdogs and deli meats) were implicated in a large multi-state outbreak resulting in 50 illnesses, 6 deaths and 2 abortions. The Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA responded to the listeriosis outbreak in several ways. Recommendations were made to producers regarding environmental sampling for Listeria spp and L monocytogenes. FSIS also started long term initiatives in an effort to lessen the risk to the general public. An ARS study reported in 1989 clearly indicated that L. monocytogenes could indeed be associated with processed chicken carcasses. Another study by ARS scientists was reported in 1997 in which the source of L. monocytogenes to the processed carcass was examined. The authors found a low percentage (1 and 6%) of hatchery samples and a low percentage (0 and 1.3%) of feathered (pre-scald) carcasses to be positive. However, when chilled carcasses were examined, 20 and 40 % were found to harbor L. monocytogenes. Furthermore, 40% of carcasses examined at a retail market were positive. These data indicated that the organism may trickle into the plant on the birds but some amplification seems to occur while in the processing facility. A more recent study completed in 1999 and soon to be published includes results that suggest that the incidence of L. monocytogenes on chilled carcasses may have decreased in the last several years.

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page