Cumulative Drip Sampling Effective for Broiler Carcasses

US - Cumulative drip sampling saves labour and provides a representative summary of Campylobacter monitoring for process control in the poultry processing plant, according to a new study.
calendar icon 4 March 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Individual carcass rinses may not be representative of the flock microbial community but the cumulative drip sampling technique may save labour and provide a more representative summary of process control in poultry processing facilities, according to new research from the US Agricultural Research Service at the Russell Research Center in Athens, Georgia.

The whole carcass rinse (WCR) procedure is routinely used as a sampling method for determining the presence and number of quality-indicator organisms or pathogens associated with broiler chicken carcasses in processing facilities, according to Eric Line and colleagues in Athens in a paper in Poultry Science. They suggests that collection of a cumulative drip sample by placing collection vessels under the processing line could potentially capture a more representative sample of bacterial populations associated with an entire flock with less labor than individual bird rinses.

The purpose of their study was to evaluate a cumulative drip sampling method for recovery of Campylobacter spp. and three types of quality indicator organisms from broiler carcasses.

Cumulative drip and WCR samples were collected on 14 days from a commercial broiler processing facility over a three-month period.

No statistically significant difference was demonstrated between the WCR and cumulative drip sampling methods in recovery of Campylobacter spp., total aerobes, Enterobacteriaceae or Escherichia coli associated with the post-evisceration samples (P>0.01).

Analysis of the pyrosequencing census data demonstrated high variability between individual birds and indicates cumulative sampling may be required to obtain fully representative sampling of a flock. For most bacterial taxa, the relative abundance in individual WCR was correlated with cumulative drip samples, but some taxa were undercounted or missed entirely by individual WCR, Line and colleagues found.


Line J.E., B.B. Oakley and N.J. Stern. 2013. Comparison of cumulative drip sampling with whole carcass rinses for estimation of Campylobacter species and quality indicator organisms associated with processed broiler chickens. Poult. Sci. 92(1):218-224. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02217

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