Small Contaminations on Broiler Carcasses Are More a Quality Matter than a Food Safety Issue

Kacper Libera, Len Lipman, Boyd R Berends*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Depending on the interpretation of the European Union (EU) regulations, even marginally visibly contaminated poultry carcasses could be rejected for human consumption due to food safety concerns. However, it is not clear if small contaminations actually increase the already present bacterial load of carcasses to such an extent that the risk for the consumers is seriously elevated. Therefore, the additional contribution to the total microbial load on carcasses by a small but still visible contamination with feces, grains from the crop, and drops of bile and grease from the slaughter line was determined using a Monte Carlo simulation. The bacterial counts (total aerobic plate count, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter spp.) were obtained from the literature and used as input for the Monte Carlo model with 50,000 iterations for each simulation. The Monte Carlo simulation revealed that the presence of minute spots of feces, bile, crop content, and slaughter line grease do not lead to a substantial increase of the already existing biological hazards present on the carcasses and should thus be considered a matter of quality rather than food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number522
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • carcass
  • contamination
  • food safety
  • poultry
  • process hygiene criteria
  • slaughter


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