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FSIS

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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FSIS Microbiological Testing Program for Ready to Eat (RTE) Meat and Poultry Products, 1990–2014

 


Introduction

The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has conducted a regulatory microbiological testing program for Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat and poultry products since 1983. RTE products are fully cooked before packaging and do not require further cooking by the consumer. However, these products are susceptible to contamination with pathogens during peeling, slicing, repackaging, and other processing steps after the required kill step to eliminate pathogens. Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a pathogen of particular concern for RTE products, because it is capable of growth at refrigerated temperatures. Processing establishments ensure RTE products do not become contaminated with Lm or other pathogens of concern, such as Salmonella, by applying a treatment to the product after its exposure to the processing environment (post-lethality treatment) and use a growth inhibitor (antimicrobial agent or process) to prevent the growth of L. monocytogenes in the product up to its declared shelf life.

FSIS laboratories located in Alameda, CA, St. Louis, MO, and Athens, GA analyze RTE samples for microbial hazards of public health concern, including Lm and Salmonella. The data reported here are from sampling projects conducted from 1990 through 2014.

FSIS does not view the results of regulatory testing as estimates of national product prevalence. The agency, however, does consider the RTE regulatory results to be an indicator of the trends in pathogen presence in these products.  

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Current Sampling Programs

Currently, FSIS samples RTE products through three sampling programs: RTEPROD_RAND, RTEPROD_RISK, and RLm.

FSIS conducts routine sampling of RTE products under RTEPROD_RAND and RTEPROD_RISK.  

  • RTEPROD_RAND samples are taken randomly at establishments producing RTE products. FSIS maintains separate programs for each pathogen.
    • RTEPROD_RAND Lm 
    • RTEPROD_RAND Salmonella
  • RTEPROD_RISK samples are taken for post-lethality-exposed product, based on risk. FSIS maintains separate programs for each pathogen.
    • RTEPROD_RISK Lm
    • RTEPROD_RISK Salmonella

Lm can grow and persist in the food-processing processing environment. FSIS inspectors collect food samples, samples from food contact surfaces, and from non-food contact environmental surfaces in the post-lethality production areas of RTE meat and poultry processing establishments. This approach ensures establishments control Lm contamination in post-lethality exposed RTE products as detailed in regulation 9 CFR 430.

The RLm sampling program was designed to detect Lm in the environment of a production establishment.

  • RLMPRODC are routine product samples taken for post-lethality-exposed product, based on risk.
  • RLMCONT are routine food contact surface swab samples taken for post-lethality-exposed product, based on risk.
  • RLMENVR are routine samples of brine or chill water that does not come into direct contact with post-lethality exposed product. Since no RLMENVR samples tested positive for Lm in 2012 through 2014, no tables are shown.
  • RLMENVC are routine non-food contact environmental surface swabs samples exposed to the post-lethality environment, based on risk.

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Results for 2014

Salmonella Results

  • FSIS analyses a 325g sample to detect Salmonella. FSIS analyzed 3,355 samples for Salmonella in the RTEPROD_RAND sampling project and 9,745 samples in the RTEPROD_RISK sampling project (Table 39). Overall, five samples tested positive (0.04 % positive; 2 from RTEPROD_RAND and 3 from RTEPROD_RISK).

Lm Results

  • FSIS analyzes a 25g sample to detect Lm. FSIS analyzed 3,356 samples for Lm as part of the RTEPROD_RAND sampling project and 9,744 samples for RTEPROD_RISK sampling project (Table 40). There were 42 positive samples detected (0.32 % positive; 13 from RTEPROD_RAND and 29 from RTEPROD_RISK).

RLm Results

  • FSIS analyzed 547 product samples. Each product analyzed consists of five 25g sub-samples composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample (Table 41). FSIS identified three positive samples (0.55% positive).
  • FSIS analyzed 5,413 food contact surface samples for Lm (Table 42).  Thirteen positive samples were observed from a food contact surface swab (0.24% positive).
  • FSIS analyzed 546 non-food contact environmental samples. Each non-food contact environmental sample consists of five sample swabs. The five sample swabs are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample (Table 43). FSIS identified 43 positive test samples for a percent positive rate of 7.88%.

Table 39: Percent positive Salmonella  detected for RTE meat and poultry, CY2014*

  RTEPROD_RAND RTEPROD_RISK Total
Number of Samples 3,355 9,745 13,100
Number of Positives 2 3 5
Percent Positive 0.06 0.03 0.04

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 40: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE  meat and poultry, CY2014*

  RTEPROD_RAND RTEPROD_RISK Total
Number of Samples 3,356 9,744 13,100
Number of Positives 13 29 42
Percent Positive 0.39 0.30 0.32

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 41: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE meat and poultry products, CY 2014*

  RLMPRODC1
Number of Sampling Units 547
Number of Positives 3
Percent Positive 0.55

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

1 Each sample for the RLMPRODC sampling project consists of five 25g samples taken from the same RTE product. The five samples are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample. 

Table 42: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE food contact surfaces, CY 2014*

  RLMCONT
Number of Samples 5,413
Number of Positives 13
Percent Positive 0.24

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

Table 43: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE non-food contact environmental surfaces, CY 2014*

  RLMENVC1
Number of Sampling Units 546
Number of Positives 43
Percent Positive 7.88

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

1 Each sample for the RLMENVC sampling project consists of five environmental swab samples that are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample. 

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Results for 2013

Salmonella Results

  • FSIS analyzes a 325g sample to detect Salmonella. FSIS analyzed 3,263 samples for Salmonella in the ALLRTE and RTEPROD_RAND sampling projects and 8,898 samples in the RTE001 and RTEPROD_RISK sampling projects (Table 34). Overall, seven samples tested positive (0.06 % positive; 4 from ALLRTE/RTEPROD_RAND and 3 from RTE001/RTEPROD_RISK).

Lm Results

  • FSIS analyzes a 25g sample to detect Lm.  FSIS analyzed 3,263 for Lm as part of the ALLRTE and RTEPROD_RAND sampling project and 8,898 samples as part of the RTE001 and RTEPROD_RISK sampling projects (Table 35). There were 37 positive samples detected (0.30% positive; 11 from the AllRTE/RTEPROD_RAND and 26 from RTE001/RTEPROD_RISK).

RLm Results

  • FSIS analyzed 586 product samples. Each product analyzed consists of five 25g sub-samples composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample (Table 36). FSIS identified seven positive samples (1.19 % positive).
  • FSIS analyzed 5,834 food contact surface samples for Lm (Table 37). Twenty-one positive samples were observed from a food contact surface swab (0.36% positive).
  • FSIS analyzed 597 non-food contact environmental samples. Each non-food contact environmental sample consists of five sample swabs. The five sample swabs are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample (Table 38). FSIS identified 43 positive test samples for a percent positive rate of 7.20%.

Table 34: Percent positive Salmonella  detected for RTE meat and poultry, CY2013*

  ALLRTE -
RTEPROD_RAND
RTE001 -
RTEPROD_RISK
Total
Number of Samples 3,263 8,898 12,161
Number of Positives 4 3 7
Percent Positive 0.12 0.03 0.06

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 35: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE  meat and poultry, CY2013*

  ALLRTE -
RTEPROD_RAND
RTE001 -
RTEPROD_RISK
Total
Number of Samples 3,263 8,898 12,161
Number of Positives 11 26 37
Percent Positive 0.34 0.29 0.30

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 36: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE meat and poultry products, CY 2013*

  RLMPRODC1
Number of Sampling Units 586
Number of Positives 7
Percent Positive 1.19

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

1 Each sample for the RLMPRODC sampling project consists of five 25g samples taken from the same RTE product. The five samples are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample. 

Table 37: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE food contact surfaces, CY 2013*

  RLMCONT
Number of Samples 5,834
Number of Positives 21
Percent Positive 0.36

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

Table 38: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE non-food contact environmental surfaces, CY 2013*

  RLMENVC1
Number of Sampling Units 597
Number of Positives 43
Percent Positive 7.20

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

1 Each sample for the RLMENVC sampling project consists of five environmental swab samples that are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample. 

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Results for 2012

Salmonella Results

  • FSIS analyzes a 325g sample to detect Salmonella. FSIS analyzed 3,353 samples for Salmonella in the ALLRTE sampling project and 7,650 samples in the RTE001 sampling project (Table 29). Overall, six samples tested positive (0.05 % positive; 1 from ALLRTE and 5 from RTE001).

Lm Results

  • FSIS analyzes a 25g sample to detect Lm. FSIS analyzed 3,353 for Lm as part of the ALLRTE and 7,650 samples as part of the RTE001 sampling projects (Table 30). There were 32 positive samples detected (0.29 % positive; 6 from the ALLRTE and 26 from RTE001).

RLm Results

  • FSIS analyzed 2,213 samples in food product samples (Table 31). Ten positive sampling units were observed in the product samples (0.45% positive).
  • FSIS analyzed 7,470 food contact surface samples (Table 32). Twenty-seven positive samples were observed from a food contact surface swab, (0.36% positive).
  • FSIS also analyzed 756 non-food contact environmental samples. Each non-food contact environmental sample consists of five sample swabs. The five sample swabs are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample (Table 33). FSIS identified 65 positive test samples for a percent positive rate of 8.60%.

Table 29: Percent positive Salmonella  detected for RTE meat and poultry, CY2012*

  ALLRTE RTE001 Total
Number of Samples 3,353 7,650 11,003
Number of Positives 1 5 6
Percent Positive 0.03 0.07 0.05

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 30: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE  meat and poultry, CY2012*

  ALLRTE RTE001 Total
Number of Samples 3,353 7,650 11,003
Number of Positives 6 26 32
Percent Positive 0.18 0.34 0.29

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 31: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE meat and poultry products, CY 2012*

  RLMPROD
Number of Samples 2,213
Number of Positives 10
Percent Positive 0.45

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

* Since 2009 RTE product data has been reported by sampling project rather than by product category. Comparison to 2008 and earlier data can be done by using the project summary data.

Table 32: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE food contact surfaces, CY 2012

  RLMCONT
Number of Samples 7,470
Number of Positives 27
Percent Positive 0.36

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

Table 33: Percent positive L. monocytogenes detected for RTE non-food contact environmental surfaces, CY 2012

  RLMENVC1
Number of Sampling Units 756
Number of Positives 65
Percent Positive 8.60

Data source: USDA FSIS Data

1 Each sample for the RLMENVC sampling project consists of five environmental swab samples that are composited at the testing laboratory into a single test sample. 

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Contact Information:

Food Safety and Inspection Service 
Office of Public Health Sciences 
Science Staff 
Questions: http://askfsis.custhelp.com/

Index of Tables & Figures | Results From Previous Years

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Last Modified Jul 27, 2015