Salmonella is one of the most prevalent zoonotic pathogens worldwide, making salmonellosis a common foodborne illness in people. However, by using strategies that reduce the contamination of poultry and meat products at the farm level, producers play an important role in reducing the incidence of salmonellosis.
To enter the human food chain, Salmonella must first colonize the animal’s intestinal tract before spreading to people by contaminating the environment and the carcass during slaughter. In poultry, Salmonella colonization of the cecum can also cause vertical transmission (parent to progeny) through contamination of the yolk, albumen and eggshell membranes. Contaminated meat and poultry products then serve as a source of infection in consumers when these products are not handled or cooked properly.
There is a global effort to reduce the use of in-feed antibiotics in animal protein production in an effort to slow the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. This presents a challenge for producers who are being urged to control Salmonella at the farm level to reduce its contamination of meat and poultry products during processing.