Prevalence and characterization of Salmonella present during veal harvest

Joseph M. Bosilevac, Samson Zhilyaev, Rong Wang, Brandon E. Luedtke, Tommy L. Wheeler, Mohammad Koohmaraie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Beef and veal products have been vehicles implicated in the transmission of Salmonella enterica, a gastroenteritis-causing bacteria. Recent regulatory samples collected from veal have indicated bob veal, or calves harvested within days of birth, have higher rates of Salmonella than samples collected from formula-fed veal, or calves raised 20 weeks on milk replacer formula before harvest. To investigate this problem, we collected samples from veal calf hides, preevisceration carcasses, and final carcasses at five veal processors that harvested bob or formula-fed veal or both. Prevalence and concentrations of Salmonella were determined, and then the isolates were characterized for serovar and antibiotic susceptibility. Salmonella was more prevalent (P < 0.05) among bob veal than formula-fed veal hides, preevisceration carcasses, and final carcass (84.2 versus 15.6%, 62.8 versus 10.1%, and 12.0 versus 0.4%, respectively). Concentrations of Salmonella could be estimated by using regression order statistics on hides and preevisceration carcasses at two veal plants, with one harvesting bob veal and the other bob and formula-fed veal. The concentration of Salmonella on bob veal hides at the plants was 1.45 ± 0.70 and 2.04 ± 1.00 log CFU/100 cm2, greater (P < 0.05) than on formula-fed veal hides, which was 1.10 ± 1.51 log CFU/100 cm2. Concentrations on carcasses, however, were very low. Seventeen Salmonella serovars were identified among 710 isolates. Salmonella serovars London, Cerro, and Muenster were most common to bob veal and made up 50.7, 18.7, and 6.3% of the isolates, respectively, while serovar Montevideo (6.8% of isolates) was most common to formula-fed veal. Although bob veal had increased prevalence and concentrations of Salmonella, one group of formula-fed veal was found to harbor human disease-related antibiotic-resistant Salmonella serovars Heidelberg and the monophasic variant of Typhimurium (1,4,[5],12:i:-). Veal processors have made changes to improve the safety of veal, but further efforts are necessary from both bob and formula-fed veal to address Salmonella.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-784
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Processing
  • Salmonella
  • Veal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


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