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Progress Report on Salmonella and Campylobacter Testing of Raw Meat and Poultry Products, CY 1998-2014

Executive Summary 1

In calendar year 2014, FSIS analyzed 18,087 verification samples across three meat and poultry product classes with the following rates of Salmonella positives by product class: young chicken (3.8%), ground beef (1.6%) and turkey (1.7%). The Agency believes that the higher the percent positive rate, the greater the potential for the public to consume a product that can cause foodborne illness. FSIS scheduled approximately 75 sample sets monthly using a risk-based algorithm to target establishments demonstrating variable or poor process control (i.e., establishments with high percent positive rates). Previous Salmonella Annual Reports can be found on the FSIS website.

Since 2006, FSIS has focused sampling on raw carcass product classes, believing that improvement in process control in these product classes will result in improvement in process control in raw ground product classes. As of December 2014, 88.3% of establishments are in Category 1. Based on five product classes, the following percentages of establishments are in Category 1: young chicken (88.0%), ground beef (88.4%), ground chicken (0%), ground turkey (100%), and turkey (90.6%).

The Agency established a revised Performance Standard for Salmonella for young chicken and turkey carcasses as of July 1, 2011, in addition to initiating the Performance Standard for Campylobacter on young chicken and turkey carcasses.

2014 Annual Report

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) uses data from its regulatory testing programs to monitor the effectiveness of its Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Systems (PR/HACCP) Final Rule, and to assess process control in individual establishments. The aim is to strengthen public health protection and work toward a 25 percent reduction in human illnesses by the year 2020, a target developed from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 initiative.

In 1996, FSIS established PR/HACCP to verify that establishments demonstrate consistent process control for preventing, eliminating, or reducing the contamination of raw meat and poultry products with disease-causing bacteria, by setting Salmonella performance standards that slaughter establishments and establishments that produce raw ground products should meet. Raw products with established performance standards or guidance include: carcasses of cows/bulls, steers/heifers, market hogs, young chickens and young turkeys. Processed products measured by performance standards include: ground beef, ground chicken, and ground turkey. The performance standards are based on the prevalence of Salmonella as determined from the Agency's nationwide microbiological baseline studies, which, except for the young chicken and turkey carcass product classes, were conducted prior to PR/HACCP implementation. The performance standards and guidance are expressed in terms of the maximum number of Salmonella-positive samples acceptable per sample set. The number of samples in a sample set varies by product, and the maximum number of positive samples acceptable in a set provides an 80% probability of an establishment passing when it is operating at the standard.

Prior to 2006, there were two phases of the FSIS regulatory program for Salmonella in raw products: non-targeted and targeted testing. Non-targeted or "A" set tests were collected at establishments randomly selected from the population of eligible establishments, with a goal of scheduling every eligible establishment at least once a year. Other codes (such as "B", "C", and "D") represented sample sets collected from establishments targeted for follow-up testing following a failed set. Beginning with the third 2006 quarterly report, reports have data summarized from all sets collected. (Note: Earlier reports have not been retrospectively changed). Consequently, under Table A1, the annual reports from 2005 and earlier reflect results from only the "A" set samples.

In February 2006, FSIS issued a Federal Register notice: "Salmonella Verification Sample Result Reporting: Agency Policy and use in Public Health Protection" announcing how FSIS would report and use results from its Salmonella verification sampling program for meat and poultry establishments. In this Notice, the Agency announced its intention to redirect its Salmonella verification sampling program and announced 11 new initiatives to encourage establishments to reassess their food safety systems to achieve and maintain consistent process control. As one of these new initiatives, FSIS increased testing frequency in establishments with variable or highly variable process control compared to those showing consistent process control.

Since June 2006, establishments have been scheduled based on risk-based criteria designed to focus FSIS resources on establishments with the most samples positive for Salmonella and the greatest number of samples with serotypes most frequently associated with human salmonellosis, (within each product class) as defined by CDC.2

Furthermore, establishments are grouped into one of three categories. Category 1 includes establishments where positive results in the two most recent Salmonella sets were equal to or less than 50% of the performance standard or guidance. The Agency considers these establishments to demonstrate consistent process control. Category 2 includes establishments where at least one of the two most recent sets had positives results greater than 50% of the performance standard or guidance without exceeding it, or they have passed their most recent set but failed the one prior to that. These establishments are considered to have variable process control. An additional subcategory 2T was created in 2008 under Category 2. An establishment where the number of positives in the last set is ≤ 50% of the performance standard or guidance, but the prior set positives were NOT ≤ 50% of the performance standard, is sub-categorized as 2T, with T standing for transitioning to Category 1. Category 3 includes establishments whose most recent Salmonella set positives exceeded the performance standard for its product class. The Agency considers these establishments to display highly variable process control.

Results

This report presents percent positive Salmonella sample results and percent of sample sets meeting the Salmonella performance standards listed by product class and PR/HACCP establishment size for 2014 and previous years (Table A1 and A3). Data is presented in aggregate form for the periods 1998-2014 (Table A2 and A4).3

Individual sample results (Table A1) are counted in the year the sample is collected. Sample sets (Table A3) are counted in the year they are completed. For example, samples from a young chicken set collected in 2013 are counted in the 2013 results (Table A1). However if the sample set was completed in 2014, the set was counted in 2014 (Table A3). In Table A5, establishments are listed by product classes and percentage within categories 1, 2T, 2, and 3 for each product class. For young chicken and turkey carcasses, the categories are determined by the Salmonella Performance Standard which was in place at the time the verification set was scheduled.

Figure B1 compares Salmonella percent positive results from 2006 to 2014 with baseline prevalence by product class and year. Percentages of sample sets meeting Salmonella performance standards by product class from 2006 to 2014 are presented in Figure B2.

Young Chicken
FSIS continues to direct resources toward testing young chicken establishments. In 2014 (Table A1), 8,861 Salmonella samples were analyzed from young chicken establishments. The total percentage of positive samples was 3.8% in 2014, down from 3.9%, 4.3%, 6.5%, 6.7%, and 7.2% in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009, respectively. In addition, of the 178 sets completed in 2014 at young chicken establishments, 92.1% met the Salmonella performance standard compared to 93.2% (219 sets completed) in 2013, 89.3% (178 sets completed) in 2012, 96% (100 sets completed) in 2011, and 94.8% (134 sets completed) in 2010 (Table A3).

At the end of 2014, 154 young chicken establishments eligible for federal testing were in Category 1, comprising 88.0% of all young chicken establishments (Table A5) which was up from 74.4% in 2013. Furthermore in 2014, six young chicken establishments (3.4%) were in Category 2T. Ten young chicken establishments were in Category 2 (5.7%). Five young chicken establishments were in Category 3, making up 2.9% of all young chicken establishments.

Summary information for Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) test results for Young Chicken (Figure C1) show a 0.50% positive rate among the samples taken in 2014, which is down from 0.52% in 2013.

Turkeys
In 2014, 1912 turkey samples were analyzed, with a total percent positive at 1.7%, down from 2.3% positive in 2013. Of the 39 sets completed in 2014, 94.9% of these establishments met the Salmonella performance standard.

Overall, 90.6% (29 establishments) were in Category 1, with 6.3% (2 establishments) in Category 2T, 3.1% (1 establishment) in Category 2, and 0% (0 establishments) in Category 3. In 2013, 77.1% of turkey establishments eligible for Salmonella testing were in Category 1.

Ground Beef 
In 2014, 7,314 ground beef samples were analyzed and 1.6% tested positive for Salmonella. This compares to 2013, when 17,161 were analyzed (1.6% positive), to 2012 when 14,665 samples were analyzed (1.9% positive), and to 2011 when 13,161 samples were analyzed (2.4% positive). One hundred eighty-two sets were completed with 97.8% meeting the performance standard. Compared to 2013 when three hundred twenty-two  sets were completed with 96.3% meeting the performance standard, and 2012 when 244 sets were completed (95.9% met the performance standard).

At the end of 2014, 88.4% (198 establishments) were in Category 1, 6.1% (12 establishments) in Category 2T, 4.0% (8 establishments) in Category 2, and 1.5% (3 establishments) in Category 3. In 2013, 86.3% of ground beef establishments eligible for Salmonella testing were in Category 1.

Ground Chicken
There were no PR/HACCP samples collected for ground chicken because sampling of ground poultry was suspended at the start of the Not Ready to Eat (NRTE) Comminuted Poultry Sampling Project, except in category 3 establishments.

Only one establishment was in category 2T at the end of 2014. In 2013, 71.4% (5 establishments) of ground chicken establishments were in Category 1, 1 establishment in category 2T, none in Category 2, and 14.3% (1 establishment) in Category 3.

Ground Turkey
There were no PR/HACCP samples collected for ground turkey because sampling of ground poultry was suspended at the start of the Not Ready to Eat (NRTE) Comminuted Poultry Sampling Project, except in category 3 establishments.

Only five establishments were in Category 1 at the end of 2014. In 2013, 90.9% (20 establishments) of ground turkey establishments were in Category 1, 1 establishment in Category 2T, 1 in Category 2, and none in Category 3.

NOTE: FSIS is currently in the process of redefining the sampling frames for ground poultry product eligible for testing as all raw comminuted chicken, turkey, or chicken/turkey/beef/lamb/pork mix including mechanically separated poultry produced at federally-regulated establishments that is not further processed into RTE product.

Comminuted Poultry

Table D1 summarizes Salmonella positive results for young chicken and turkey from June 2013 - December 2014 for the NRTE Comminuted Poultry Sampling Projects initiated by Federal Register Notice FSIS–2012–0007: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/0dffacbe-45e8-43ea-8b65-3b7100e19acb/2012-0007.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

Table D2 summarizes Campylobacter positive results from June 2013 - December 2014 for young chicken and turkey comminuted products for the NRTE Comminuted Poultry Sampling Project.


1 All years listed are calendar years (CY).

2 Restructuring how Salmonella sets are scheduled means that it would be inappropriate to compare results prior to 2006 to results after 2006.

3 An establishment’s HACCP size may change over time; these tables reflect the size of the plant at the time the sample was collected.


Annual Progress Report on Salmonella and Campylobacter Testing of Raw Meat and Poultry Products (1998-2013) | PDF

Annual Progress Report on Salmonella and Campylobacter Testing of Raw Meat and Poultry Products (1998-2012) | PDF

Annual Progress Report on Salmonella and Campylobacter Testing of Raw Meat and Poultry Products (1998-2011) | PDF

 

Last Modified Aug 21, 2015