Feed Sanitation: Heat treatment as a method for the decontamination of poultry feeds

An overview of the process, equipment and objectives.
calendar icon 20 May 2019
clock icon 4 minute read

The choice of equipment and heat treatment parameters used will depend on the overall objective, e.g., “Free of Salmonella” (i.e., a reduction in counts to a level below that of the infective dose for day-old chicks), “Guaranteed free of Salmonella” (complete kill i.e., a 5 log reduction [from 105 per gram to zero] with 99 percent confidence), and the type of product to be produced: mash, crumb, expandate, pellets, etc.

Conclusions

In light of the recent EU ban on formaldehyde as a feed additive, appropriate alternatives for feed decontamination must be in place.

Heat treatment of poultry feeds has been shown to be an effective decontamination method for Salmonella and provides a ‘breakpoint’ in the feed production process to aid biosecurity. However, each heat treatment system requires validation to establish efficacy and to determine the levels of ongoing risk. Effects on vitamin degradation require quantification, and high levels of downstream biosecurity are required.

table showing advantages and disadvantages of different poultry processing equipment
Table 1: Equipment that can be used for the heat treatment of feed.

Aviagen currently uses steam conditioning followed by long term retention at 86°C (187°F) for 6 minutes at approximately 15 percent moisture content (including steam addition). The conditioner introduces steam to the raw materials and the retention vessel ensures an even heat treatment through its first-in, first-out properties (Figure 1).

Steam conditioner used in the heat treatment of raw feed
Figure 1: Steam conditioning used by Aviagen in the heat treatment of raw materials.

Upper conditioner adds relatively low pressure steam and mixes with the raw materials. Lower retention vessel retains the set temperature and time. No steam added.

The choice of equipment and heat treatment parameters used will depend on the overall objective, e.g., “Free of Salmonella” (i.e., a reduction in counts to a level below that of the infective dose for day-old chicks), “Guaranteed free of Salmonella” (complete kill i.e., a 5 log reduction [from 105 per gram to zero] with 99 percent confidence), and the type of product to be produced: mash, crumb, expandate, pellets, etc.

Conclusions

In light of the recent EU ban on formaldehyde as a feed additive, appropriate alternatives for feed decontamination must be in place.

Heat treatment of poultry feeds has been shown to be an effective decontamination method for Salmonella and provides a ‘breakpoint’ in the feed production process to aid biosecurity. However, each heat treatment system requires validation to establish efficacy and to determine the levels of ongoing risk. Effects on vitamin degradation require quantification, and high levels of downstream biosecurity are required.

Colin Russell

Consultant microbiologist at Aviagen
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