Salmonella in poultry can be reduced by using
probiotics. This development offers a way that makes it easy on poultry growers
and enhances food safety.
It's a matter of incorporating the probiotic into either the water or the
feed for the poultry, explained Billy Hargis, director of the Poultry Health
Research Laboratory at the University of Arkansas System's Division of
Agriculture. Results from experiments show that administration of the probiotic
can reduce Salmonella in either meat-type chicken houses or turkey houses before
being transported to the processing plant and reduce the risk of cross
contamination among turkeys at the plant.
"It's not a chemical. It's not a drug," explained Hargis, who has pursued
the research for the Food Safety Consortium. "These (probiotics) are live
The term for the probiotic developed in Hargis' lab is FM-B11, also known
as a defined lactic acid bacterial culture. Hargis' research group has taken the
lactobacillus probiotic, a form of milk bacteria found in the bird, and added it
to poultry water or feed.
More recent efforts are directed toward beneficial bacteria from a totally
different genus called Bacillus. During the last year, a substantial laboratory
effort has been directed toward identification of organisms of this genus that
are harmless to the animals or humans, which inhibit certain pathogenic
organisms, and which can produce spores that are resistant to heating or
storage. The important part of these new efforts is to develop effective
probiotics that can be added to feed, which greatly reduces costs associated
with delivery in the drinking water at the farm.
"We can add these to the feed even before pelleting," Hargis said. "The
beneficial bacteria in the feed have tremendous advantages because now we can
talk about continuous administration over time. It makes it very simple. It just
comes in with the feed."