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Hot Water Spray Helps Cut Salmonella on Chicken Carcasses

04 April 2013

US - Research at Michigan State University has revealed that the application of a hot water spray during processing plant reduced the prevalence of Salmonella after chilling but not Campylobacter.

The application of hot water spray (HWS) reduced the prevalence of Salmonella after chilling, but not for Campylobacter except for loosely attached cells, according to recent research from Michigan State University. Scientists expressed concerns that, after hot water exposure, a partially cooked appearance was seen on both broiler skin and skinless breast surface.

Chickens are known to harbour many bacteria, including pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, reported L. Zhang and colleagues in Poultry Science.

Their study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of HWS (71°C for one minute) in reducing bacterial contamination of pre-chilled broiler carcasses. For each of four replications, skin samples from five broilers were collected at three processing stages: after bleeding (feathers removed manually), after evisceration (with/without HWS) and after water chilling.

Broiler skin was quantitatively assessed for loosely attached (by rinsing the skin), intermediately attached (by stomaching the rinsed skin) and tightly attached (by grinding the rinsed/stomached skin) mesophilic aerobic bacteria (MAB) and Campylobacter as well as for the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Broiler skins possessed 6.4 to 6.6 log colony-forming units (cfu) per gram, 3.8 to 4.1 log cfu per gram and 2.8 to 3.5 log cfu per gram of MAB populations after bleeding, evisceration and chilling, respectively.

The HWS resulted in more than 1-log unit of reduction in MAB immediately after evisceration and immediately after chilling, regardless of microbial sampling method.

Compared with MAB, the contamination of Campylobacter was low (1.7 to 2.6 log cfu per gram) after bleeding but the level was not reduced throughout the processing steps regardless of HWS.

Zhang and co-authors added that more research is required to eliminate pathogenic organisms during processing effectively and suppress any recovery of bacteria regardless of attachment type after chilling.


Zhang L., P. Singh, H.C. Lee and I. Kang. 2013. Effect of hot water spray on broiler carcasses for reduction of loosely attached, intermediately attached, and tightly attached pathogenic (Salmonella and Campylobacter) and mesophilic aerobic bacteria. Poult. Sci. 92(3): 804-810. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02504

Further Reading

You can view the full paper (fee payable) by clicking here.

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