Salmonella spp. are often associated with foodborne disease and outbreaks related to turkey and turkey products in the USA.
Salmonella has been detected in ground turkey at 11%, although the prevalence on turkey carcasses was 2.2% in 2012. A possible route for Salmonella contamination of ground turkey is through neck skin and internalisation in different organs such as bone marrow. Additionally, Salmonella presence/levels in the spleen at harvest might be an indicator for Salmonella contamination.
The objective of a study was to determine Salmonella levels (prevalence and enumeration) in turkey drumstick bone marrow, spleen, and neck skin samples.
In cooperation with a turkey production company, 15 drumsticks, spleens, and neck skins were collected per flock (with 3 parts per carcass).
Ninety samples of each turkey part (drumstick, neck skin and spleen) were collected and tested for the presence and levels of Salmonella. Prevalence of Salmonella in neck skin, spleen, and bone was 51.1%, 5.6%, and 7.8%, respectively. Furthermore, when Salmonella was present in inner organs (bone and spleen), the neck skin sample from the same bird was also found to be Salmonella positive.
These findings indicate that Salmonella was present in internal organs of turkeys, which may pose risk toward ground turkey production. However, the counts were low compared to that on neck skins (i.e., external contamination). Identifying potential sources and predictors for Salmonella status in ground turkey is expected to be a key for the industry in control and prevention of ground product contamination.
[Source: Yue Cui, University of Georgia, Center for Food Safety, Griffin, GA, USA;
Mark Harrison, University of Georgia, Department of Food Science and Technology, Athens, GA, USA;
Charles Hofacre, University of Georgia, Poultry Diagnostic Research Center, Athens, GA, USA;
Proceedings of the 2014 International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, GA, USA ]