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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Reducing Campylobacter jejuni, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and total aerobic bacteria on broiler carcasses using combined ultrasound and steam

Moazzami, Madeleine; Bergenkvist, Emma; Fernstrom, Lise-Lotte; Ryden, Jesper; Hansson, Ingrid


Campylobacteriosis is the most frequently reported foodborne illness in Europe and many other parts of the world. Campylobacter can colonize the intestines of broilers, mostly in large amounts. Broilers are usually slaughtered in a high-speed automated system that could cause rupture of the intestines during evisceration, resulting in contamination of carcasses with intestinal bacteria like Campylobacter. This study evaluated the combined effects of ultrasound and steam (SonoSteam) on naturally contaminated chicken carcasses at a large-scale abattoir in Sweden. Ultrasound at 30 to 40 kHz and steam at 84 to 85 degrees C or 87 to 88 degrees C were used at slaughter, with a line speed of 18,000 birds per hour. The amounts of Campylobacter spp., Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and total aerobic bacteria on neck skins from 103 chicken carcasses, sampled before and after treatment by ultrasound-steam, were analyzed. Campylobacter spp. were quantified in 58 (56%) of the neck skins, from birds belonging to four of the seven flocks represented. All 58 isolates were identified as Campylobacter jejuni. After the ultrasound-steam treatment, the mean reductions in C. jejuni, Enterobacteriaceae, E. coli and total aerobic bacteria were 0.5 +/- 0.8, 0.6 +/- 0.6, 0.5 +/- 0.6, and 0.4 +/- 0.7 log CFU/g, respectively. No significant differences in reduction between the two different treatment temperatures were observed for any of the bacteria. Although the bacterial reductions were significant, large amounts of bacteria remained on the carcasses after treatment. Further studies are needed to identify optimal measures at slaughter to reduce food spoilage bacteria and pathogenic bacteria, which should be considered in a One Health perspective.


Broiler carcass; Campylobacter; Enterobacteriaceae; Escherichia coli; Total aerobic bacteria; Ultrasound-steam

Published in

Journal of Food Protection
2021, Volume: 84, number: 4, pages: 572-578