Some commercial poultry processors have begun using a bacterial culture developed at the University of Arkansas that can sharply reduce the levels of pathogenic Salmonella and Campylobacter in live poultry.

This probiotic is helping the poultry industry increase the safety of food products, and poultry science researcher Billy Hargis believes his research team can do more.

At the poultry production farm level, the probiotic culture has been administered to chicks through their drinking water and by spray application. In addition to cutting down on pathogens in the live poultry, the culture has also been found in experiments to be effective in increasing the birds’ weight, lowering production costs and reducing environmental contamination in poultry houses.

Producers of live poultry would have significant incentives to use a probiotic culture if it not only reduces pathogens but also provides financial benefits against the usual costs of doing business.