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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Cleaning and disinfection of transport crates for poultry - comparison of four treatments at slaughter plant

Dzieciolowski, Tomasz; Boqvist, Sofia; Rydén, Jesper; Hansson, Ingrid


Transport crates for poultry can contribute to the spread of pathogens, with those of public health interest, for example, Campylobacter, being of particular importance. A strict cleaning procedure and use of an effective disinfection method for transport equipment are thus important to avoid introduction of Campylobacter to chicken and poultry farms, particularly during flock thinning. This study evaluated the efficacy of the disinfection procedure currently in use at one of the largest slaughter plants in Sweden and compared the effects with those of other disinfection methods. The evaluation was based on treatment ability to reduce the presence and amount of indicator bacteria belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae and total aerobic bacteria. In 4 trials, sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid, and drying with hot air, with or without sodium hypochlorite for final disinfection, were compared. The analysis was based on 40 cotton swab samples taken in each treatment, 20 after the soaking stage and 20 after the final disinfection step.The results showed that use of a chemical disinfectant in combination with drying with hot air (dehumidifier) was the most effective treatment, with an average reduction of 3.4 log for total aerobic bacteria and 3.8 log for Enterobacteriaceae. Since all crates treated with hot air were dry, transport conditions for the birds also improved, particularly in cold weather. A disadvantage is that this treatment is energy-consuming and would require substantial technical changes to the current cleaning process, increasing operating costs at the slaughter plant. However, considering the contribution of improved crate cleaning to overall hygiene control within the poultry supply chain and the beneficial effect on animal welfare, the costs may be justified.


campylobacter; transport crate; poultry; cleaning; disinfection

Published in

Poultry Science
2022, Volume: 101, number: 1, article number: 101521