Think you’ve had a ‘poo’ day…

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Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries microbiologists are working with the chicken meat industry to understand the seasonal variation of the naturally occurring pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter to help make our food even safer.

This project, co-funded by AgriFuturesTM Chicken Meat Program, is intense, dirty, smelly and critical to understanding how the presence and level of key food safety pathogens, Salmonella and Campylobacter, vary between winter and summer.

This information will give the Australian chicken meat industry new insights into the life of these pathogens and identify opportunities for further strengthening its risk management guidelines.

The team, Jillian Templeton (Project Leader, DAF), Sarah Yee (QAAFI) and Pat Blackall (QAAFI), have already processed 270 chicken carcass rinse samples and 270 caeca (the part of the chicken intestine that is the “home” of these food safety pathogens).

Sample processing involves culturing bottles of chicken carcass ‘rinse’ as well as delicately squeezing out the caecal contents (poo) and plating this out onto suitable agar and liquid media. Then once everything has had time to grow the team looks at the incubated media to determine the presence and levels of the target food safety pathogens.

The team are happily 1/4 way through the sampling, only 3/4 more to go.

A full project summary is available here.

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