Bill Potter, Ph.D.

Dr. Bill Potter received Ph.D. & MS degrees in Poultry Science from the University of Arkansas, and a BS in Animal Science with an MBA from Texas A&M.

The State of Salmonella in the Poultry Industry

Dr. Bill Potter

Posted by Bill Potter, Ph.D. on 10 March, 2021


The State of Salmonella in the Poultry Industry

There are several factors that can make controlling Salmonella in poultry a difficult task. Chief among them is the long-standing perception held by some operations that processing plant interventions can eliminate most of the risk associated with any potential threat.

Processing has traditionally been viewed as the last line of defense for safeguarding consumers from food-borne disease. But for integrated companies, it’s important that the entire organization understands the role it plays in helping the plant deliver the safest product possible.

What can be unclear is who in the poultry production chain is responsible for controlling Salmonella and how all roles in the poultry industry must work together to further reduce its presence in poultry products. To help the poultry industry better understand industry perceptions of Salmonella and its control, Elanco Animal Health fielded a blind industry survey to identify steps the poultry industry is taking to control Salmonella and who the industry believes is ultimately responsible for the control of Salmonella. The survey was distributed to live-side production, food safety and quality assurance professionals in the poultry industry.

Who is Responsible for Salmonella Control?¹

All respondents agree that Salmonella reduction is a shared responsibility across every production stage. However, there is a gap in belief about who is ultimately responsible for Salmonella control.

Respondents with QA/food safety roles completely agree that live-side production is the first step in Salmonella control and more emphasis needs to be placed on the pre-harvest prevention of Salmonella. However, those in live-side production roles agree to a far lesser extent. While live-side production believes Salmonella control is a shared responsibility, their opinions differ from QA on the importance of pre-harvest interventions.

More Dialogue Is Needed to Effectively Control Salmonella

A majority of the respondents agree that more dialogue is vital regarding Salmonella control throughout the poultry production chain. Respondents also feel that live-side production and processing plants need to better understand how to control Salmonella in live-side production and how live-side interventions can economically benefit the entire poultry operation. 

While some live-side production respondents may not believe they are equal participants in Salmonella control as noted above, 65% of live-side production respondents feel they share the commitment and investment in Salmonella control and feel they need to do more to help their processing and QA/food safety counterparts control Salmonella.

Salmonella Vaccine Awareness Is Low 

Salmonella vaccines, administered to breeders and broilers, are another proven tool to help the poultry industry reduce Salmonella loads prior to chickens entering the processing plant. Despite the proven efficacy of Salmonella vaccines, lack of awareness and communication are the biggest constraints when it comes to why respondents are not using a live Salmonella vaccine to help reduce Salmonella loads in live birds.  

Elanco’s Commitment to Helping Control Salmonella

Elanco Animal Health is introducing initiatives to help bring the poultry industry together to discuss the role everyone plays in the control of Salmonella. The findings from these initiatives will be shared with the industry to help further educate the poultry production chain about live-side interventions that can effectively reduce Salmonella loads.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting our industry and providing the safest poultry products to consumers. 

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Salmonella infections

Broiler Conventional

Broiler NAE



Salmonella Control

¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC investigation notice-Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products. 2019. Available at: