The maximum dosage of gamma irradiation approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for poultry is 3.0 kiloGrays (kGy). This treatment is designed to reduce bacterial contamination on uncooked poultry carcasses and meat products. The possible presence of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) on poultry postharvest has prompted some countries to study the risk associated with introducing nonnative strains of the virus from imported commodities. The goal of this study was to determine if this risk could be reduced using gamma irradiation to inactivate IBDV. At the dosage approved by the FDA, the titers of IBDV vaccine strains were reduced between 0 and 1 log10. Titers of the pathogenic IBDV strains tested were not reduced after the 3.0 kGy exposure. Furthermore, titers of pathogenic viral strains were not reduced following exposure up to 5.0 kGy. As the exposure to gamma irradiation increased, the titers of the vaccine strains decreased. At the maximum dosage tested (10 kGy), the 89/03 variant virus vaccine was completely inactivated. Titers of the three classic IBDV vaccine strains were reduced between 1.6–2.0 logs after the 10 kGy exposure; however, these viruses remained viable after this treatment. Gamma irradiation is not an effective intervention to reduce the risk of IBDV introduction via processed poultry.
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Vol. 51 • No. 2