GLOBAL – In a recent report from the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA), it is emphasized that there is no singular control measure sufficiently effective in reducing Salmonella in poultry.

Instead, a comprehensive multi-hurdle approach has been proven to be the most impactful strategy.

Responding to a request from the 52nd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH), JEMRA conducted an assessment in September 2022 to evaluate the most recent scientific insights into the control of non-typhoidal Salmonella in chicken meat.

The experts reviewed the Codex Guidelines for the Control of Campylobacter and Salmonella in Chicken Meat and considered literature published since 2008 and data submitted in response to a call for information.

Primary production controls

JEMRA identified biosecurity and management approaches, such as sanitation, hygiene, and Salmonella-free flocks at the parent/grandparent level, as the most critical and promising strategies for Salmonella control in primary broiler production.

Competitive exclusion/probiotic approaches and vaccine-based strategies were also acknowledged, but further studies are needed.

Feed and water characteristics, management approaches, and the use of antimicrobial additives showed variable efficacy, with feed-based strategies proving helpful when combined with good hygiene practices (GHPs). Bacteriophage-based approaches require more research.

Processing and post-processing interventions

In processing, GHPs were highlighted as crucial for minimizing Salmonella contamination during slaughter and processing.

High-pressure processing (HPP) and ionizing radiation were proven effective in reducing Salmonella. Water additives like chlorine-based compounds and organic acids demonstrated potential efficacy, while other interventions or combinations still need refinement.

JEMRA stressed the importance of a positive food safety culture during post-processing activities like transport, storage, handling, and cooking practices. While interventions during processing can extend shelf life and control Salmonella growth, more research is needed in post-processing interventions.

Future considerations

The report highlighted factors that may impact Salmonella control strategies in the future, including changes in climate, human behavior, innovations in the broiler supply chain, and advancements in technology such as machine learning, omics, traceability tools, and microbiome science.

The multi-hurdle approach advocated by JEMRA aims to address Salmonella control comprehensively across the poultry production chain, fostering a more resilient and effective strategy in the face of evolving challenges.

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