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Mixed Results Shown in USDA Quarterly Tests for Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry

Last summer’s preliminary data from Salmonella and Campylobacter testing of raw meat and poultry for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are out, and there were mixed results. During the July-September quarter, FSIS collected and tested 3,985 samples for its Salmonella and Campylobacter verification program.

The percent-positive rates for both Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens were both up, at 4.1 and 6.9 percent, respectively, from 2,396 samples taken at 171 broiler establishments. In the previous quarter (April-June 2014), the percent positive for Salmonella was 3.1 percent and 5.1 for Campylobacter.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-food-safety-concept-quality-control-expert-inspecting-poultry-specimen-laboratory-image49867307As with data reported for previous quarters, there is a wide range in the positive percentages depending on the size of the processing plant. Large plants for young chickens turned in a 1.5-percent positive rate for Salmonella and just 1.3 percent for Campylobacter.

Small plants had percent-positive rates for Salmonella of 4.1 and 7.9 for Campylobacter. The rates for very small plants were 15 percent for Salmonella and 28.3 percent for Campylobacter.

The upside of the mixed results was found in the preliminary data for turkeys. Sampling of turkeys found Salmonella in 1.9 percent and Campylobacter in 1.2 percent. Those positive rates were down from the previous quarter when the positive Salmonella rate was found to be 2.7 percent and the Campylobacter-positive rate was 3.4 percent.

In the raw meat sampling, a 3.3-percent Salmonella positive rate was found in ground beef during the quarter, up from the previous quarter’s 3.2 percent.

FSIS has added a category called Not Ready to Eat (NRTE) comminuted poultry sampling for finished products, which replaces “ground chicken” and “ground turkey” categories. The Salmonella-positive rate for that category was 46.8 percent, and the Campylobacter positive rate was 7.6 percent.

The complete 10-page report can be found here.

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