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Introduction. Complete feed mixtures for laying hens are formulated to meet the requirements of the animals, for which various recommendations exist. Because of its nutritive value, feed provides a favorable environment for the growth of microorganisms. Prominent bacterial pathogens in poultry feed include Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, and Clostridium. There is a strong link between poultry feeds contaminated with bacteria pathogenic to humans and food borne disease occurrence, due to the feed-poultry-food-human chain.
Materials and Methods. A total of fifty samples of complete feed mixtures for laying hens were collected during 2018 as a part of official controls. Feeds were analyzed for crude protein, crude ash, crude fat, crude cellulose, calcium and phosphorus, total numbers of bacteria, numbers of molds, Salmonella spp. and sulfite-reducing clostridia.
Results and Conclusions. The feeds contained total bacteria and molds each at the level of 103 cfu g-1. Additionally, no Salmonella spp. or sulfite-reducing clostridia were detected in any feed sample. Saprophytic bacteria are frequently found in complete feed mixtures, but rarely are present in numbers considered as microbiologically unsafe. However, the presence of saprophytic bacteria can decrease the nutritive value of feed. The total number of bacteria and molds below the regulatory limits, as well as absence of pathogens in the commercially available poultry feed, indicates a high level of compliance with regulation. Furthermore, these results indicate the adequate implementation of controls and supervision of these poultry feed products in the Serbian market.
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