2004-2006 Subcommittee: Consumer Guidelines for the Safe Cooking of Poultry Products
- Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, Working Group Chair
- Dr. Larry Beuchat
- Dr. Timothy Freier
- Dr. Linda Harris
- Ms. Barbara Kowalcyk
- Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta
- Dr. Donald Schaffner
- Ms. Virginia Scott
- Dr. Sterling Thompson
Background and Work Charge
Not-ready-to-eat (NRTE) poultry products, including products that may be encased in a batter that has been subjected to heat in order to impart a cooked color and to set the batter, may be contaminated with pathogens. Cooking instructions for NRTE poultry products may not be validated for safety to fully address the intended use or the method of cooking by the consumer. Safety-based labeling messages guiding consumers may not adequately convey critical food safety preparation information. In addition, the current government guidance on safe cooking of poultry may not fully encompass new science associated with the pathogens or the levels of pathogens on consumer-ready products. Consumers need clear guidance to know what time/temperature needs to be attained during cooking to ensure safe poultry products.
The primary microbiological pathogens of concern include Salmonella spp., but others, including Listeria monocytogenes, may need to be considered.
Charge to the Subcommittee
The charge to the subcommittee is to determine the minimal requirements for achieving microbiologically safe cooked poultry and associated methods for objective measurement. The subcommittee should assess all pathogens of concern and poultry cooking methods that may be used by consumers. The information developed by the subcommittee will be used by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to develop consumer messages on the cooking parameters necessary to ensure the safety of poultry.
The questions to be addressed are:
- What are the limitations in various cooking methods, particularly microwaving, that may need to be conveyed through labeling and other means to ensure that poultry cooked by consumers is safe?
- Do cooking requirements differ by type of poultry (e.g., chicken versus turkey, whole carcasses versus parts, ground products with different levels of fat, raw versus partially cooked)?
- What effect, if any, does the condition of poultry just prior to cooking (e.g., chilled versus frozen) have on the cooking treatment?
- What is the single time/temperature combination for each type of poultry (see question 2 above) for consumers to use to ensure safe cooked poultry?
- What parameters should inspected establishments consider in developing validated cooking instructions for use by consumers?
- Since consumers typically are not as capable of calibrating the cooking equipment and temperature measuring devices as inspected establishments, what, if any, special considerations should be considered in identification of safe cooking guidance for consumers (e.g., adding a safety margin to the minimum time/temperature)?
- What safety-based labeling considerations should be considered for conveying safe cooking instructions to consumers?
FINAL REPORT: Response to the Questions Posed by the Food Safety and Inspection Service Regarding Consumer Guidelines for the Safe Cooking of Poultry Products (Mar 24, 2006; PDF Only)