Pre-scald brushing for removal of solids and associated broiler carcass bacterial contamination.

Research paper by Ewa E Pacholewicz, Len J A LJ Lipman, Arno A Swart, Arie H AH Havelaar, Willem J C WJ Heemskerk

Indexed on: 01 Sep '16Published on: 01 Sep '16Published in: Poultry science


The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of brushing prior to scalding on reducing the E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae concentrations on carcasses. Three visits were arranged to a commercial slaughterhouse in which carcasses were cleaned in a separate line. Ten batches were sampled to compare the E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae concentrations on carcasses before and after a stand-alone brushing unit. Per batch, 8 carcasses before and 8 after brushing were sampled by the whole-carcass rinse method. Furthermore, the dry matter content and the pH were determined in these samples, as these parameters indirectly (dry matter) or directly (pH) influence the scalding lethality. Results revealed a small but statistically significant reduction (P < 0.001) in E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae concentrations on the brushed carcasses. The concentrations on whole carcasses were reduced on average by 0.3 log for both E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae. Rinse samples from treated carcasses had significantly less dry matter on average by 2.5 g (P < 0.001) and significantly higher pH by 0.08 units (P < 0.001). Although these differences are statistically significant, they might have rather low biological relevance; thus, further optimization of brushes is needed for more relevant results. This study confirms that brushing reduces bacterial concentrations on carcasses, which may be increased potentially by enlarging the brushed surface of the carcass. Further in-line investigations are needed to observe the effect of brushing on bacterial concentrations in scalding water and on carcasses after scalding and at the end of processing.