According to U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety & Inspection Service's (FSIS) "Quarterly Progress Reports on Salmonella and Campylobacter Testing of Selected Raw Meat and Poultry Products" released Oct. 25, the prevalence of salmonella on raw young chicken carcasses is down 34% over the first quarter of 2013 and represents a decrease of more than 120% during the past five years, the National Chicken Council reported Oct. 29.
The FSIS report contained testing information from April 1 through June 30, 2013. Specifically for young chicken carcasses, 2,955 samples were collected and analyzed with a positive rate of only 2.6% for salmonella — a fraction of the FSIS performance standard of 7.5% for young chicken carcasses. The same samples were also analyzed for campylobacter, and while the percent 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, the council said.
The number of establishments in Category 1, or those establishments performing better than half of the performance standard for salmonella, was up from the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2013, 70.1% of young chicken establishments were in Category 1 compared with 67.6% during the first quarter of 2013. Additionally, the number of establishments in Category 3 has dropped by almost 35%, indicating an improvement in performance at those establishments, the council said.
"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 Ashley Peterson, National Chicken Council vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.