Quarterly Progress Report on Salmonella Testing of Selected Raw Meat and Poultry Products: Preliminary Results, October–December 2008
Attachments to this report:
This report discusses the Salmonella verification sampling results for the fourth quarter CY2008 as presented in Table 1-9, Chart 1, and Figures 1-8. This data is presented in the new format discussed in the Salmonella second quarterly report CY2008 which can be accessed on the FSIS web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/science/Q2_2008_Salmonella_Testing/index.asp.
This table summarizes Salmonella verification samples including Salmonella positive results, based on sample collection date, for October-December 2008 for all eight product classes.
These tables report the proportion of establishments in each product class by categories. Tables 2-9 indicate four recent policy changes as described below.
- Tables 2-9 report the proportion of establishments in Category 2 and 3 that have completed at least two Salmonella verification-sampling sets. New establishments will not be identified in any category until FSIS has documented the results from two sets. This will align the quarterly reports with the monthly posting of names of those establishments in Category 2 and 3.
- An additional subcategory 2T is introduced under Category 2. An establishment in Category 2 has either the last Salmonella verification-sampling set or both consecutive sets at >50% of the performance standard or guidance for its product class without exceeding it and is considered to have variable process control. An establishment with its last set ≤50% of the performance standard and the prior set at >50% of the performance standard will now be sub-categorized as 2T, with T standing for transitioning to Category 1.
- FSIS is now rounding down the acceptable positives for Category 1 status for those product classes that have odd numbered standards or guidelines. Therefore the current performance standards will be: Turkey (Table 4) (Category 1: ≤6 vs ≤ Salmonella positive results), Ground Beef (Table 6) (Category 1: ≤2 vs ≤3 Salmonella positive results), and Ground Turkey (Table 8) (Category 1: ≤14 vs ≤15 Salmonella positive results). FSIS recognizes that an establishment with highly effective process control should strive to operate over time at a relatively low level of Salmonella positive samples if it is to maintain its Category 1 status. The Agency views this more stringent policy as a necessary and important incentive to improve performance in controlling Salmonella.
- FSIS has modified the End of Set Letters that establishments receive after the completion of a traditional set. The letters will now reflect that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its list of serotypes of human health concern to include the top 20 instead of top 30 serotypes. The End of Set Letters inform establishments about their current level of process control and the number of serotypes identified relative to other establishments in their product class.
- FSIS has also removed approximately 1,000 very low volume producing ground beef (<1,000 pounds/day) establishments from the traditional set-based PR/HACCP Salmonella verification sampling program and, beginning in the second quarter CY 2008, is testing these establishments for Salmonella when these establishments are also tested for E. coli O157: H7. In this way, the Agency can better allocate testing resources towards higher risk establishments. Table 6 (ground beef) reports only those establishments eligible for traditional Salmonella verification sampling sets and that have completed two sets.
The Agency will continue this policy for approximately one year, and each low volume producing ground beef establishment will be sampled approximately once a quarter. Positive Salmonella samples will be enumerated when sufficient sample is available and results will be reported to the establishments. This program will be assessed, results will be posted, and the Agency will decide whether to modify or continue it.
A total of 361 samples were collected and analyzed from October to December 2008, and 4 samples were positive for Salmonella.
This chart (PDF Only) represents the total percentage of establishments within product classes classified by category and sub-category. The Agency has set the goal of having 90% of establishments from all product classes in Category 1 by 2010. This chart indicates that % of establishments are in Category 1 as of 31 December 2008.
Figures 1-8 (PDF Only) summarize Salmonella positive results by product classes for the most recent five quarters. NOTE: While earlier quarterly reports included individual sample results from "A" sets only, the current report format summarizes data from all sets. This change was discussed in the 2006-second quarterly report, which can be accessed on the FSIS web site: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/science/Q2_2006_Salmonella_Testing/index.asp.
Additional information regarding this report
In order to handle sample scheduling more efficiently and to update information on actively producing establishments, the Agency continues to automate the sampling algorithm process. Therefore, the total number of active operating establishments can change quarter to quarter as plants exit or enter the industry. This change does not apply to intermittently producing establishments. The Agency will continue to categorize them because they are considered to be operating at some level.
Given the revised sampling strategy, the percentage of positive samples is no longer useful as an indicator of trends. As described above, FSIS has implemented placing establishments into Category 1, 2T, 2, or 3 as an alternative trend indicator for the Salmonella verification sampling program. While the Agency does not expect the category trend indicator to vary greatly on a quarterly basis, it should facilitate tracking of overall industry performance when examined over multiple years. Other trend indicators continue to be considered.
Beginning March 28, 2008, FSIS posted completed Salmonella sample set results from young chicken slaughter establishments with variable (Category 2) and highly variable (Category 3) process control. In October, there were 12 establishments in Category 2 and 2 in Category 3. In November, there were 15 establishments in Category 2 and 2 in Category 3. In December, 15 establishments were posted in Category 2 and 2 in Category 3. FSIS continues to update this information on or about the 15th of each month. The current posting can be accessed at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Salmonella_Verification_Testing_Program/index.asp .
As announced in the January 2008 Federal Register Notice: Salmonella Verification Sampling Program: Response to Comments and New Agency Policies | PDF, turkey establishments in Category 2 and 3 were eligible for posting to the FSIS web site beginning May 15. However, because all turkey establishments eligible for Salmonella testing are in Category 1, turkey establishments are currently not posted. The Agency is still considering publishing category results for establishments in additional product classes.
Annual reports summarizing results for calendar years are available on the FSIS web site as well as previous quarterly reports. The restructuring of Salmonella set scheduling, however, means that it is inappropriate to compare results from 2006 onwards to previous years. Similarly, the changes to the Salmonella verification-sampling program prevent valid comparisons of testing results over time (e.g., quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year trends).