The Australian chicken meat industry requires reliable and cost-effective supplies of litter that are safe and enable efficient meat chicken production. The diminishing supply and higher cost of traditional litter materials has stimulated interest in alternative litter sources. However, these materials can contain hazardous pathogens and chemical contaminants.
Due to the lack of guidance in this area, this project developed a method to assess contaminants that may be present in litter materials that can cause disease in chickens or be transferred to edible chicken products. Scientific literature was reviewed to provide threshold contaminant levels in poultry litter.
These values were then used to develop a tool that provides a screening and risk assessment process for a variety of alternative litter materials. This tool also includes management and mitigation strategies to ensure litter is safe and effective to use.