The efficacy of a new pelleting process in eliminating naturally occurring Escherichia coli and salmonella from poultry mash was assessed by comparing the microbial load in raw and processed mash. Instead of using steam produced in a boiler, the new process conditioned mash in an Original Vertical Conditioner with steam and other hot gases generated by direct combustion in a Vaporator. E. coli was isolated from 72-100% of samples of raw mash in all trials, and the mean number of colony-forming units of E. coli/g of samples was 6.8 +/- 4.0 X 10(4). Salmonellae (S. senftenberg, S. bredeney, and S. mbandaka) were isolated from 5-10% of samples of raw mash utilized in three of the seven trials. Within limitations of the sampling and analytical tests utilized, the new pelleting process eliminated salmonella from all mash in which the organism was known to be present but eliminated E. coli in only three trials. The process appeared to be 100% effective against both organisms when mash entering the pellet mill from the conditioner had a temperature of 85.7 C and a moisture content of 14.5% and had been retained and treated with steam and hot gases for 4.1 minutes.