Summary of Awards to Date

An integrated system approach to reduce Salmonella in organic and all natural poultry.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2008 - Aug. 31, 2011

Award Number

ARK02192

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$599,521.00

Investigator

Steven C. Ricke, Ph.D.
University of Arkansas

Co-Investigator(s)

CRANDALL, P. G.; JONES, F. T.; ROSTAGNO, M. H.; O'BRYAN, C. A.; MORITZ, J. S.; CLARK, F. D.; HETTIARACHCHY, N. S.; SANCHEZ, M. X.; BIHN, B. A.

Summary

Illness from Salmonella contaminated poultry remains a huge problem. Despite the best efforts of the poultry industry, the levels of Salmonella contamination continue to be troubling as raw chicken and chicken products were recently linked to 214 outbreaks of foodborne illness and of these, 195 were due to Salmonella. Salmonella contaminated raw poultry is a vexing problem for regulators, USDA and FSIS, as well as consumers. This problem could grow worse with the rapid rise in consumer demand for all-natural and organic poultry. One of the "drivers" for consumers to purchase organic foods is personal or close family experience with a debilitating medical condition coupled with the belief that organic is safer than conventional. However, reports comparing conventional to organic poultry have demonstrated that organic poultry may have a higher rate of Salmonella contamination. Immediate action is required to protect these immunocompromised Consumers of organic poultry. Salmonella contaminated organic and natural poultry products impacts not only this segment of the population but will, as markets grow, impact an increasing number of consumers and consequently a wider spectrum of the poultry industry. Our overall goal of this project is to fill knowledge gaps about how frequent and where Salmonella is most likely to come from in organic and natural poultry large and small operations. Our specific objectives include: 1) examine potential sources of Salmonella in organic and natural poultry grow out operations; 2) devise control measures for both growers and processors 3) conduct workshops and good management programs for natural and organic poultry producers and processors. Completing this project will not only help identify critical gaps in determining where Salmonella contamination is occurring but help develop cost effective measures to minimize contamination natural and organic poultry production.