Vaccine programs in the turkey industry are a primary pre-harvest Salmonella mitigation strategy, and development of effective programs rely heavily on effective Salmonella serovar surveillance. Noteworthy hurdles to surveillance and vaccine program development includes the fact that traditional isolation identifies only the most abundant serovars in a population, while underlying serovars remain unknown. Further, there is a lack of understanding where in the supply chain samples should be taken to inform serovars present in the system.
USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation recently announced the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in which researchers evaluated methods to improve Salmonella surveillance in turkeys. The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Cargill and proceeds from the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The research is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. A summary of the completed project is below.
Dr. Nikki Shariat, assistant professor at the University of Georgia, and collaborators have completed the first high-resolution study of Salmonella in turkey that investigates serovar populations through the supply chain. Further, molecular tools were used to resolve significant differences observed in serovar prevalence between ground turkey and mechanically separated turkey at processing. Completion of this work highlighted the complexity of this pathogen in turkey production and processing. The study demonstrates flocks are likely contaminated with multiple serovars, and effective surveillance should include samples taken at processing where prevalence and diversity are highest.
The full research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website.