- Animals: poultry
- Animal Products: meat
- Animal Production: meat product quality/safety, probiotics
- Education and Training: extension, workshop
Need and Justification: Poultry meat is one of the leading causes of foodborne Salmonellosis in the US. Thus, to promote poultry meat safety, the USDA-FSIS announced new performance standards for controlling Salmonella on raw poultry. However, despite advancements in food safety, Salmonella-contaminated poultry meat continues to pose a significant threat to public health. This national trend is also reflected in the Salmonella outbreaks in the Northeast. Therefore, there is an ongoing need to develop effective and feasible antimicrobial interventions to control Salmonella in chickens. Towards this, most pre-harvest Salmonella-control strategies primarily target breeder flocks and grow-out birds. However, the population most vulnerable to Salmonella colonization are the hatchlings. Contamination at this stage can result in horizontal spread of the pathogen on the farm. Therefore, early interventions to reduce Salmonella in hatchlings will help reduce the subsequent risk for pathogen dissemination in the flock.
Approach: We hypothesize that probiotic administration along the hatchery to farm continuum will significantly reduce the delivery of Salmonella-positive chicks and control subsequent Salmonella dissemination at the grow-out farm. Specifically, we will investigate the efficacy of in-ovo probiotic spray application and incorporation in water replacer to reduce Salmonella population in hatchlings. Further, to promote Salmonella exclusion, we will supplement probiotics as an on-farm supplement to chicks. Through these approaches we aim to promote probiotic establishment in the growing chick gut and prevent Salmonella colonization. This study is based on our previous data demonstrating the ability of probiotics [Lactobacillus rhamonsus (LR) and Lactobacillus paracasei (LP)] to reduce Salmonella population on eggs and reduce its cecal colonization. Additionally, our study demonstrated the growth promoting effect of these strains in chickens. Thus, it is expected that these probiotics will help control Salmonella in broiler chicks while improving their performance.
Farmer engagement and outreach: To ensure the feasibility and adoptability of our proposed interventions, we will work with farmers throughout the research process to share our preliminary findings and obtain feedback. Further, based on the feedback received from the local farming community, we will develop and evaluate a probiotic-based multi-hurdle approach to controlling Salmonella from hatchery to farm. In addition, working with our project advisory committee, we will reach out to poultry producers in the Northeast to assess their needs and perceptions towards integrating probiotics in their current management practices. We will also conduct workshops and demonstrations for stakeholders to update them of the project outcomes. Ultimately, we expect to develop a probiotic-based comprehensive, effective and adoptable strategy to improve meat safety while promoting poultry performance. This in turn, is expected to help promote the sustainability, viability, competitiveness and economic efficiency of small producers in the region.
Performance targets from proposal:
In the pre-harvest environment, the population most vulnerable to Salmonella colonization are the hatchlings. Reducing Salmonella colonization at this stage will reduce subsequent transmission and pathogen prevalence in the flock. Therefore, our goal is to control Salmonella in broilers along the hatchery to farm continuum. We aim to do this by supplementing probiotics i) in-ovo to hatching eggs, ii) in water replacement during transport to hatchlings and iii) as an on-farm supplement to chicks. Ultimately, inclusion of these pre-harvest hurdles will help improve food safety while promoting the viability and sustainability of the enterprise.