Salmonella in poultry can be reduced by using probiotics. This development offers a way that makes it easy on poultry growers and enhances food safety.
It’s a matter of incorporating the probiotic into either the water or the feed for the poultry, explained Billy Hargis, director of the Poultry Health Research Laboratory at the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Results from experiments show that administration of the probiotic can reduce Salmonella in either meat-type chicken houses or turkey houses before being transported to the processing plant and reduce the risk of cross contamination among turkeys at the plant.
“It’s not a chemical. It’s not a drug,” explained Hargis, who has pursued the research for the Food Safety Consortium. “These (probiotics) are live organisms.”
The term for the probiotic developed in Hargis’ lab is FM-B11, also known as a defined lactic acid bacterial culture. Hargis’ research group has taken the lactobacillus probiotic, a form of milk bacteria found in the bird, and added it to poultry water or feed.
More recent efforts are directed toward beneficial bacteria from a totally different genus called Bacillus. During the last year, a substantial laboratory effort has been directed toward identification of organisms of this genus that are harmless to the animals or humans, which inhibit certain pathogenic organisms, and which can produce spores that are resistant to heating or storage. The important part of these new efforts is to develop effective probiotics that can be added to feed, which greatly reduces costs associated with delivery in the drinking water at the farm.
“We can add these to the feed even before pelleting,” Hargis said. “The beneficial bacteria in the feed have tremendous advantages because now we can talk about continuous administration over time. It makes it very simple. It just comes in with the feed.”