Salmonella serotypes are changing — monitor which ones are in your flock

Do you know which strains of Salmonella may be circulating?
calendar icon 27 June 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

It’s imperative for poultry producers and companies to know what strains of Salmonella serotypes may be circulating in their flocks, said Chuck Hofacre, president of the Southern Poultry Research Group in Georgia.

“As Salmonellas on farms change, different Salmonellas will start to come into our processing plants,” he noted. “If they’re of human-health concern and…show up on the final product, then we’re going to have to change how we monitor and how we test our breeder and broiler flocks.”

Hofacre encourages companies to test their farms to understand which Salmonella serovars are in their broilers and/or breeders. Those serovars that survive all the way to whole-bird carcass rinse or parts rinse are the ones growers should focus on in their live production, he told Poultry Health Today. Monitoring live production provides useful information on what’s getting into the processing plant and whether or not breeder flocks are shedding Salmonella and trickling it down through the broilers in the plant.

“Our monitoring program really needs to focus on sussing out whether it’s a broiler issue or a breeder issue,” Hofacre said.

Common practice

Companies have begun to do more monitoring of their breeders, Hofacre explained, as a means of understanding which Salmonellas may be in their flocks. However, if they’re trying to better understand which Salmonella serovars could be at risk of coming into their processing plants, they’ll need to test more often.

“Breeders don’t just shed Salmonella continuously; they shed it intermittently,” he said. “If you look today, a flock may be shedding Salmonella Enteritidis, but tomorrow they may not. So routine monitoring of your breeders will help you to understand what your risk is from your breeders as it trickles down into the broilers.”

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