1. Animal Husbandry

Salmonella Infections Linked to Poultry: USDA Initiates New Effort to Curtail It

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
Chicken Farm

Federal health authorities in the United States of America are reconsidering their strategy to control Salmonella in chicken factories in the hopes of reducing the number of infections linked to the bacteria each year.

The US Department of Agriculture will unveil several initiatives to reach that objective on Tuesday. Poultry is responsible for around 23% of the 1.35 million salmonella infections that occur in the United States each year, resulting in 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 fatalities, and these figures haven't changed significantly in recent years. 

As a result, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDAwants to launch pilot projects to change the way it tests for salmonella in plants and to encourage the industry to do more on the farm to limit the number of bacteria on hens before they enter the plant. 

Farmers should also be encouraged to use a combination of proven methods to reduce bacteria in their chickens, such as increasing immunizations, adding probiotics to feed, and doing more to keep the birds' bedding, food, and water clean. 

According to the National Chicken Council, the industry has previously taken steps to reduce salmonella transmission, including spraying germ-killing chemicals on raw chicken during processing, enhancing cleanliness, and increasing vaccine use. Many poultry farms are already adopting the actions recommended by the USDA, according to spokesman Tom Super. 

Because the number of bacteria, and not only the presence or absence of Salmonella, might affect the chance of disease, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will look at how quantification can be incorporated into this approach. Furthermore, because new research suggests that not all Salmonella serotypes and virulence factors are equally likely to cause human illness, FSIS will concentrate on the Salmonella serotypes and virulence factors that pose the greatest public health threat. 

“Far too many consumers become ill every year from poultry contaminated by Salmonella,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He also told the reporters that “We need to be constantly evolving in our efforts to prevent foodborne illness to stay one step ahead of the bad bugs.

Today we’re taking action to help prevent Salmonella contamination throughout the poultry supply chain and production system to protect public health.” 

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