Salmonella levels in turkey neck skin, bone, and spleen in relation to ground turkey production
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The objective of this study was to determine Salmonella levels (presence and numbers) in turkey drumstick bone, spleen, and neck skin samples in relation to Salmonella contamination levels in ground turkey. Three hundred samples of each turkey part were collected after evisceration and tested for Salmonella using most probable number (MPN) and enrichment methods. The flocks were classified into targeted and non-targeted groups based on the farm/flock historical Salmonella contamination data in ground product. Overall Salmonella prevalence in bone, spleen, neck skin and ground turkey samples was 9.3%, 6.7%, 42.0%, and 14.5%, respectively. When Salmonella was present in spleen and/or bone (at MPN > 1 log10), and in neck skin (MPN > 2 log10), the ground turkey lot was Salmonella-positive. Our findings suggested Salmonella presence at high levels in neck skin may indicate a highly contaminated flock that results in ground turkey contamination.