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Comparisons of microbial counts in organic chickens and commercially processed chickens

by Kingsbury, Laura.

Abstract (Summary)
The organic food industry is projected to reach sales of $32 billion by 2009. The basic tenets of organic food production involve production of food in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way without the use of chemicals; however, there may be food safety concerns associated with organic food production. For example, in organic production of chickens, processing takes place without any type of synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, or other chemicals like growth hormones and antibiotics and this may increase the prevalence of foodborne pathogens. The objective of this work was to compare the incidence and bacterial load of foodborne pathogens in organically and commercially processed chickens. Comparisons of incidence and average CFUlchicken of total aerobic bacteria, coliform bacteria, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, yeast and molds, Salmonella spp. and Listeria spp. were made between organic and commercial chickens. Differences in incidence and bacterial load were detected between the two populations. Of particular interest were the higher levels of pathogenic bacteria detected in the commercially raised chickens. Bacterial load of E. coli was significantly higher in the gut of the commercially raised chickens and bacterial load of S. aureus was higher in all locations tested in the commercial chickens. The results from this work indicate that differences in processing and handling practices between the organic and commercial industry may impact the safety of food products. The Graduate School University of Wisconsin Stout Menomonie, WI To begin I would like to thank the University of Wisconsin-Stout for the use of the facilities as well as equipment. I would like to thank Organic Valley, Marketplace foods and 3M Microbiology for their generous gifts of materials without which this research would not have been possible. I would also like to thank several individuals for their support, contributions and encouragement during the research process. First I would like to thank my committee members Dr. Kitrina Carlson, Mrs.Yvonne Nelson and Dr. Carolyn Bamhart for their assistance, suggestions, and expertise. Their time and attention was greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank the entire Biology Department for their interest and encouragement throughout the process. I would like to thank Organic Valley for the donation, 3M Microbiology Products for all their assistance and products that were donated. I would like to thank John Thompson, research coordinator for Research Services on campus; Sue Foxwell, UW-Stout Protection of Human Subjects Review Board; Don Moats, Building and Grounds Superintendent; Be1 Brockman and Julie Berglund, staff for Biology Department; and Jim Hawkins, Presence Marketing for all of their hard work without them this project would not have been possible. To my friends and co-workers, thank you for always listening and for always offering kind words of encouragement.I would also like to thank my mom Helenanne Kingsbury and Ron Marko as well as my sister Kimmy Kingsbury Curvelo, and my brother David Kingsbury (thanks for those extra days off), who have supported me in my decision to attend graduate school. Without them I never would have had the courage and perseverance to reach this goal. Finally I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to my advisors, Dr Kitrina Carlson, and Mrs. Yvonne Nelson. They are truly amazing individuals who are always full of ideas and solutions. They encouraged me to achieve more and to realize my potential. I will always be indebted to them for that. They were truly the reason I finished my paper and will graduate. Thank you all for helping me maintain my sense of mental balance and humor.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

School Location:USA - Wisconsin

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:chicken industry poultry natural foods organic farming microbial contamination foodborne diseases

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