Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 11, 2007
Publication Date: December 15, 2007
Citation: Gast, R.K. 2007. Serotype-specific and serotype-independent strategies for pre-harvest control of foodborne Salmonella in poultry. Avian Diseases. 51:817-828. Interpretive Summary: More than 2500 Salmonella serotypes have been identified, but only a few of these are common in poultry flocks. However, many of the serotypes that are most prevalent in humans (such as S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis) are also highly prevalent in poultry, suggesting a link with public health implications. In recent years, efforts to ensure the microbial safety of poultry products have increasingly emphasized animal production (pre-harvest) issues. The overall goal of pre-harvest poultry food safety is to prevent flock infections with Salmonella and other human pathogens. Some Salmonella control strategies are effective against all serotypes, whereas others are directed more specifically against particular serotypes known to be associated with food-borne disease problems. Studies to assess food safety risks and control options have recommended intervention at multiple steps throughout the chain from farm to consumer. A comprehensive quality assurance strategy, employing flock management practices to reduce the risk of exposure to pathogens plus testing to detect particular pathogens of concern, has been associated with significant reductions in the incidence of S. Enteritidis infections in both egg-laying flocks and humans in several countries. Although these programs generally focus on risk reduction practices, testing is essential to verify that resources are being invested in a cost-effective manner. Testing also identifies flocks infected with serotypes that are currently associated with serious public health problems. Vaccination can be an important tool for protecting flocks against specific serotypes of elevated significance.
Technical Abstract: Of more than 2500 identified Salmonella serotypes, only a small proportion are common in poultry flocks. However, there is an epidemiologically important connection between poultry products and human infections, as many of the serotypes that are most prevalent in humans (such as S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis) are also highly prevalent in poultry. The scope of food safety efforts for poultry products has been broadened in recent years to include more attention to animal production (or pre-harvest) issues. The goal of pre-harvest poultry food safety is to minimize opportunities for the introduction, persistence, and transmission of flock infections with Salmonella and other human pathogens. This objective can be pursued either by general strategies directed against all Salmonella serotypes (and in some instances against other pathogenic microorganisms as well) or by more specific strategies that are designed to act with precision against particular serotypes with distinctive public health or economic significance. Risk assessment studies have recommended intervention at multiple steps in the farm-to-table continuum as the most productive overall approach. A comprehensive quality assurance strategy, encompassing both broadly based risk reduction practices and targeted testing to detect pathogens of concern, has been associated with significant reductions in the incidence of S. Enteritidis infections in both egg-laying flocks and humans in a number of countries. Although the emphasis in these types of programs is primarily on risk reduction, testing provides essential verification of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of risk reduction practices (and identifies flocks infected with uniquely problematic serotypes). Vaccination can enhance the short-term responsiveness of control programs to address problems involving specific serotypes of elevated significance.