This study evaluated the effect of processing on the microbiological status of chicken
carcases in a small South African Grade B poultry abattoir. The bacterial numbers after
defeathering (6.2- 6.6 log CFU g-1
) and after evisceration (6.3 - 6.4 log CFU g -1
the highest. Marginally lower total numbers (5.5 - 6.1 log CFU g-1
) were obtained after
chilling. There was a significant difference (P<0.05) in bacterial numbers amongst the
different sampling sites in the abattoir during processing. A significant decrease in
bacterial numbers (P<0.05) was obtained after chilling at 10:30 and 12:30 compared to
corresponding numbers of samples taken after defeathering and after evisceration. No
significant differences (P>0.05) were obtained irrespectively ofthe days of sampling and
times of sampling. Escherichia coli was repeatedly isolated from the chicken carcases.
Staphylococcus aureus was less frequently isolated and presumptive Salmonella was
isolated only in low numbers.