The continuous intensification of production in the poultry sector provides conditions that favor the occurrence and spread of some pathogens such as Escherichia coli, which can cause serious infections in animals and humans. The objective of this study was to verify the correlation between visual inspection of the liver and the presence of Escherichia coli in poultry livers from slaughterhouses. 62 liver chicken samples were collected from two slaughterhouses situated in the State of Bahia in July to August 2008. 30 livers were macroscopic unchanged and 32 showed macroscopic alterations that lead to carcass disposal for inspection of line B. Escherichia coli was isolated in 45.5% of livers collected. The bacterium Escherichia coli was isolated from 18 unchanged livers samples and nine from carcasses that were rejected. The cholangiohepatitis (16/27) was predominant considering inflammatory alterations, and were considered multifocal in 15/16 livers. Heterophils and mononuclear cells were predominant (12/27). The criteria for condemnation of carcasses were inadequate, taking into consideration that pathogenic Escherichia coli were presented in apparently healthy animals, highlighting the differences found in the microbiological analysis and visual. Based on these results, it is necessary further studies, especially regarding the zoonotic potential of Escherichia coli and its presence in foods ready for consumption.
aviculture; bacteriology; microbiology; poultry health; inspection