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FSIS Begins New Poultry Study

A nationwide raw chicken parts microbiological baseline study to provide regulators and the poultry industry with data on the prevalence and quantitative levels of certain foodborne pathogens and microorganisms is being planned by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

preparing-chicken-featured.jpgTargets of study, which will begin after a 90 day training period, will be Campylobacter, generic Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Enterobacteriaceae, coliforms, and plate counts of aerobic microorganisms.

The 90-day training period began with the issuance of FSIS Notice 08-10. The sample collection procedures for this study are different than those for the routine sampling of other poultry products.

This Program will collect rinses of raw chicken parts at all establishments that:

1. Slaughter broilers and cut the carcasses into chicken parts of the type typically available for purchase by consumers;

2. Receive whole chicken carcasses from other federally inspected establishments and cut carcasses into halves, or quarters, or individual parts of the type typically available for purchase by consumers; or

3. Receive raw chicken parts from other federally inspected establishments and cut them further into halves, or quarters, or individual parts of the type typically available for purchase by consumers.

For the purposes of this survey, FSIS is defining “raw cut-up chicken parts” as raw, (uncooked) cut-up chicken parts, whether skin-on or skinless or bone-in or boneless, such as, but not limited to: breasts, thighs, wings, legs, necks, backs, half- or quarter-carcasses, and internal organs such as giblets (e.g. liver, heart, or gizzard) typically available for purchase by consumers.

FSIS is a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The study notice (pdf) is available on the agency’s Website.  

On a periodic basis, the magazine Consumer Reports has produced data from buying raw chicken parts at local retail outlets around the country and subjecting them to tests.  The magazine keeps finding much higher levels of both Campylobacter and Salmonella than most government and industry studies have found.

Consumer Reports’ most recent study was published in Nov. 2009.

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