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In Poultry science

Do faster slaughter line speeds for young chickens increase risk of Salmonella contamination? We analyze data collected in 2018-2019 from 97 slaughter establishments processing young chickens to examine the extent to which differences in slaughter line speeds across establishments operating under the same inspection system explain observed differences in their microbial quality, specifically frequencies of positive Salmonella samples. A variety of off-the-shelf statistical and machine learning techniques applied to the data to identify and visualize correlations and potential causal relationships among variables showed that the presence of Salmonella or other indicators of process control, such as noncompliance records for regulations associated with process control and food safety, are not significantly increased in establishments with higher line speeds (e.g., above 140 birds per min) compared with establishments with lower line speeds when establishments are operating under the conditions present in this study. This included some establishments operating under specific criteria to obtain a waiver for line speed. A null hypothesis advanced over 30 yr ago by the National Research Council that increased line speeds result in a product that is not contaminated more often than before line speeds were increased, appears to be fully consistent with these recent data.

Cox Louis Anthony


Salmonella, chicken, line speed, risk analysis, slaughter