Based on the results of the baseline studies of pastured poultry farms, most pasture-raised broilers processed on-farm, in a small United States Department of Agriculture Inspected slaughter facility (USDA-IF), and in a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) pilot plant methods were contaminated with Salmonella and/or Campylobacter. These pathogens were highly prevalent in wastewater, soil, and compost resulted from broiler processing on-farm. The MPU has a good economic feasibility and it is a competitive alternative to the traditional on farm processing option.
1. Assess the food safety risk (concentrations of foodborne pathogens) on pasture poultry chicken carcasses processed using MPU compared to traditional on-farm processing and chicken processed at a small volume USDA facility.
(Leader-Alali; Co-PIs: Ricke, Jaroni, Gibson, C. Owens)
2. Assess the biosafety risk of pathogens in waste disposal (wastewater and solid waste) of poultry processing (MPU vs. on-farm) on the environment.
(Leader-Gibson; Co-PIs: Ricke, Crandall, Jaroni, Sharpley, Alali, C. Owens)
3. Evaluate the economic feasibility of MPU for pasture farmers as a potential source to increase poultry products marketability. Furthermore, pasture poultry farmers in Georgia, Arkansas, and Louisiana will be surveyed to evaluate their interest and willingness to process their birds in MPU.
(Leader- Kostandini; Co-PIs: Van Loo, Welander, C. Owens)
4. Assess the consumers’ willingness to pay for pasture chickens compared to USDA certified-organic chickens in the three states using ‘consumer experiments’.
(Leader- Van Loo; Co-PIs: Ricke, Crandall, Alali)