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The availability and popularity of processed, ready-to-cook (RTC) poultry products are increasing in India. Though fresh poultry is known to be contaminated with Salmonella, the prevalence of this foodborne pathogen in RTC poultry products is not reported. Eighty-seven chilled and frozen RTC poultry samples of 4 different brands obtained from supermarkets and departmental stores in Mumbai were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella. The prevalence of Salmonella was higher (51%) in chilled RTC samples as compared to the frozen RTC samples (5%). The frozen RTC samples of one brand were free from Salmonella. S. Typhimurium (75.2%) was the most prevalent serovar, followed by S. Enteritidis (23%) and S. Weltevreden (1.7%). A high percentage (81.4%) of the isolates were found to be resistant to 5 or more antibiotics and class 1 integron, which has been shown to confer multi-drug resistance, was detected in 69.9% of the isolates. Multiple antibiotic resistance index of isolates was high (0.6) indicating the indiscriminate use of antibiotics during poultry farming. High genetic diversity was observed among the Salmonella serovars based on Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis profiles. Results showed the presence of multi-drug resistant Salmonella serovars in processed, chilled RTC poultry products marketed in Mumbai, India.
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