Even though often underappreciated in the United States, meat derived from goats and lambs is a valuable global commodity. Although extensive studies have been conducted examining pathogen prevalence in beef, pork, and poultry species, less research is available about pathogen presence in small ruminants. Understanding the presence of Salmonella in small ruminants can influence processing method improvements for these species to minimize food safety risks. The objective of this study was to establish the Salmonella presence in lymph nodes from sheep (n = 311) and goats (n =357) in the United States. Mandibular, mesenteric, and subiliac lymph nodes were collected from animals at abattoirs located in California, New Mexico, and Texas over a 14-month period. Lymph nodes were analyzed for Salmonella presence by using standard isolation methods, and presumptive isolates were confirmed with latex agglutination. Salmonella was detected in 3.15% of mandibular lymph nodes (n = 222), 5.83% of mesenteric lymph nodes (n = 223), and 7.62% of subiliac lymph nodes (n = 223). A total of 30 animals (13.39%) were found to have one or more Salmonella-positive lymph nodes. Our data indicate Salmonella is harbored within the lymph nodes of small ruminants. With this knowledge, further work can target strategies and interventions to minimize the risk associated with this pathogen during the processing of small ruminants.
- Lymph node