Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

Irene Hanning

Committee Members

Michael Davidson, David Golden


Poultry and poultry products are a leading source of foodborne pathogens and illnesses. The rearing conditions of poultry can be an influential factor on the presence of foodborne pathogens including Campylobacter and Salmonella because some types of rearing practices have increased risks in terms of biosecurity. However, there is a gap in knowledge of food safety in raw chicken products and no studies have reported the microbiological quality of turkeys produced under different rearing environments. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare conventionally and organically-reared whole chicken and turkey carcasses purchased from three retail outlets in Knoxville, TN. A total of 50 conventionally-raised and 50 organically-reared chicken carcasses were evaluated. A total of 25 conventionally-raised and 25 organically-reared turkey carcasses were evaluated. The Food and Drug Administration Bacteriological Analytical Manual protocol for rinsing whole poultry carcasses was used for the isolation of Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Campylobacter and to determine total aerobic bacteria counts. Salmonella was isolated only from organic chickens and turkeys. Organic turkey had the highest prevalence of Staphylococcus and Campylobacter but differences were not statistically significant. From this data, it appears that the rearing conditions of the poultry carcasses evaluated in this study did not affect the microbiological quality however the microbiological was dependent on the producer.

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