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Last update: May 2021

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Press release on poultry

dossier volaille
Poultry in the eye of food safety

An INRA press kit

Alternative feeds for poultry, lineages especially selected for their resistance of for lower production of waste, innovative breeding methods, studies on emotions, cognitive capabilities of poultry or animal health... Inra has a stake in thinking about breeding sustainibility.
At the Nantes-Angers INRA Centre, UMR SECALIM (Food Safety and Microbiology) takes an particular interest in the food chain production of poultry meat. Poultry / Campylobacter and Poultry / Salmonella combinations have been respectively ranked first and fourth on the top 5 of food - pathogen combinations based on estimates of the cost of illness and loss of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) from acute and chronic illness and mortality.
Food safety analysis has shown that the annual number of digestive campylobacteriosis cases exceeds today that of salmonellosis. Contamination by Campylobacter occurs upstream of the food chain production due to unefficient control of slaughtering steps, transfer of bacteria present in the digestive system of birds and their survival along processing steps of meat. The control of these bacterial hazards, "silent" to animals, and spoilage flora, requires to reinforce and harmonize official sanitary controls and to understand the factors which influence microbial balances in meat all along the food chain production.

A chicken hosting fewer Campylobacter

A lactic acid bacteria strain of Lactobacillus salivarius was shown to exhibit probiotic and anti-Campylobacter activities. Now, it remains to determine if this strain, brought through poultry feeding under experimental conditions then under breeding situation, would limit the settlement of Campylobacter in their digestive system.

The official authorities have the slaughter in the eye
The sanitory inspection comprises missions of safety and quality control of meat, survey of animal health and well-being, subject to withdrawal sanctions in case of non-conformities. According to a process of risk analysis, a definition of the associated four tasks, their moment, modality and indicator of achievement have been set and are currently being tested at the national scale.

Campylobacter and its roommates
Campylobacter is not the only bacterium present in meat. Biodiversity of the microbial ecosystem of chicken meat has been characterized by sequencing techniques of 16S DNA. Using a contaminated meat model, factors that influence balances between bacteria hazards, spoilage bacteria and the positive flora have been identified and quantified.

Campylobacter is not running out of air
Modified atmosphere packaging is a process commonly used to preserve perishable foods. The understanding of Campylobacter behaviour upon contact with oxygen will enable to improve the composition of gas atmospheres. Also, the genome of a Campylobacter strain particularly resistant to oxygen has been sequenced in order to identify the genes which confer it its special characteristic. It is studied under the angle of its capability to adhere to inert surfaces (cutting boards, knife blades) and to form biofilms.

Bacteria under pressure !
The destructive effect of high hydrostatic pressure, a preservation process alternative to preservative addition, use of modified atmosphere packaging and heat processing, has been quantified and modelled, then integrated into the determination of the shelf-life of poultry sausages. A making-decision approach comprising criteria of three dimensions: safety, hygiene and sensory aspects, has enabled to safely extend the shelf-life of poultry sausages by seven days.