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Decrease in prevalence of Salmonella on US chicken

Posted on 12. November, 2013.

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According to US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) “Quarterly Progress Reports on Salmonella and Campylobacter Testing of Selected Raw Meat and Poultry Products” released on 25 October 2013, the prevalence of Salmonella on raw young chicken carcasses is down 34% over the first quarter of 2013 and represents a decrease of over 120% during the past five years.

This report contained testing information from 1 April to 30 June 2013. Specifically for young chicken carcasses, 2,955 samples were collected and analysed with a positive rate of only 2.6% for Salmonella – a fraction of the USDA FSIS performance standard of 7.5% for young chicken carcasses. The same samples were also analysed for Campylobacter and while the percentage positive remained unchanged from the first quarter of 2013, it represents a decrease of almost 50% since FSIS began testing for Campylobacter on post-chill young chicken carcasses in 2011.

“Overall, the results presented in this quarterly report indicate that we continue to make improvements in the incidence rate of Salmonella and Campylobacter on young chicken carcasses,” said Dr Ashley Peterson, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the US National Chicken Council.

FSIS performance standards must be met or exceeded by chicken processors. For young chicken carcasses just after they are removed from the chiller, the performance standard is 7.5% for Salmonella and 10.4% for Campylobacter. These samples are taken both by FSIS for verification and the plant itself prior to the carcasses being cut up, deboned or packaged whole. Though there is currently no performance standard for chicken parts, FSIS completed baseline testing in the spring of 2013 and is expected to publish a new standard for chicken parts in 2014.

The complete report is available here.

Photo: Salmonella enterica. Photo courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture.

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