The Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program (EQAP) provided the framework for Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) control programs, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated Final Egg Rule, for commercial layer facilities throughout the United States. Although flocks with ≥3000 birds must comply with the FDA Final Egg Rule, smaller flocks are exempted from the rule. As a result, eggs produced by small layer flocks may pose a greater public health risk than those from larger flocks. It is also unknown if the EQAPs developed with large flocks in mind are suitable for small- and medium-sized flocks. Therefore, a study was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of best management practices included in EQAPs in reducing SE contamination of small- and medium-sized flocks by longitudinal monitoring of their environment and eggs. A total of 59 medium-sized (3000 to 50,000 birds) and small-sized (<3000 birds) flocks from two major layer production states of the United States were enrolled and monitored for SE by culturing different types of environmental samples and shell eggs for two consecutive flock cycles. Isolated SE was characterized by phage typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-multi-virulence-locus sequence typing (CRISPR-MVLST). Fifty-four Salmonella isolates belonging to 17 serovars, 22 of which were SE, were isolated from multiple sample types. Typing revealed that SE isolates belonged to three phage types (PTs), three PFGE fingerprint patterns, and three CRISPR-MVLST SE Sequence Types (ESTs). The PT8 and JEGX01.0004 PFGE pattern, the most predominant SE types associated with foodborne illness in the United States, were represented by a majority (91%) of SE. Of the three ESTs observed, 85% SE were typed as EST4. The proportion of SE-positive hen house environment during flock cycle 2 was significantly less than the flock cycle 1, demonstrating that current EQAP practices were effective in reducing SE contamination of medium and small layer flocks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Animal Science and Zoology