Turkey skin is the deliciousness part – and a Salmonella source

Turkey skin is used as a source of fat in finished ground turkey products. Salmonella-contaminated skin may potentially disseminate this pathogen to ground turkey. The objective of this study was to determine and compare Salmonella levels (presence and numbers) associated with the skin of turkey parts (i.e., drumstick, thigh, and wing).

turkey.tom.bradyOver a 10-month period, 20 turkey flocks expected to be highly contaminated with Salmonella based on boot-sock testing data of turkey houses were sampled. A total of 300 samples per type of turkey part were collected post-chill and were tested for Salmonella using the most-probable-number (MPN) and enrichment methods.

Overall, Salmonella was detected in 13.7, 19.7, and 25.0% of drumstick skin, thigh skin, and wing skin samples, respectively. Salmonella prevalence from wing skin was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than in drumstick skin, but the difference was not significant (P > 0.05) when compared with thigh skin. Salmonella was 2.4 times more likely to be present from thigh skin (odds ratio = 2.4; P < 0.05) when the pathogen was found from wing skin. Salmonella mean numbers from drumstick, thigh, and wing were 1.18, 1.29, and 1.45 log MPN per sample, respectively; these values were not significantly different (P > 0.05).

Based on our findings, the high prevalence of Salmonella associated with the skin of turkey parts could be a potential source for ground turkey contamination.

Salmonella levels associated with skin of turkey parts

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 801-805(5)

Peng, Ye; Deng, Xiang Y.; Harrison, Mark A.; Alali, Walid Q.