Production Line

A shifting landscape with no room for error

Regulations and customer demands continue to impact the way birds are raised and processed, but what doesn’t change is the expectation that only the safest product leaves your plant. It’s time to shift the conversation so that everyone understands their shared responsibility in accomplishing that goal.


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

“I think the biggest misconception is that processing can solve everything,” says Sara Steinlage, D.V.M., Chief Veterinary Officer for Elanco. “In reality, what we need to do to make sure their interventions have the best opportunity to work is send them lower levels of Salmonella in the first place.”

"Salmonella has historically been viewed as a plant issue because it doesn’t present health or performance issues for the bird. Unfortunately, what we don’t see in one stage can create significant issues in another."

Identifying true issues related to the presence of Salmonella earlier in the production cycle can be difficult. Additionally, finding data that supports those findings and implementing significant change is challenging in an industry that moves this quickly. However, we still have an opportunity to take a proactive approach in changing this mindset, before increasing pressures ultimately limit the number of interventions we can implement during this phase of production.

“Poultry has always been ahead of the curve on food safety,” says Patrick Pilkington, D.V.M., Elanco. “We need to stay ahead of it and work together to get this right, so that outside influences don’t end up driving decisions that may not be in our best interest.”


"Figuring out how you get the live side to communicate with the plant is critical as you start putting together your control programs."


Catching, transportation and hauling

  • Employee training
  • Equipment cleaning and maintenance
  • Animal welfare protocols

Withdrawal practices

  • Feed management
  • Feed program protocols

Processing line interventions

  • Dips, rinses and sprays
  • Sanitation sprays for equipment

Facility and employee management

  • Employee training
  • Environmental protocols

(2016, Feb.). New performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Federal Register.

More Resources


Food Chain - Market Pressures