In the last 10 years the incidence of salmonella illness in Canada has steadily increased. This increase has been driven by Salmonella enteritidis (SE), the most common strain of salmonella in the food supply that is often associated with poultry.
Extensive efforts have been made by the federal food safety partners and the industry to increase consumer awareness that these products are raw and need to be fully cooked before consumption, as well as significant attempts by the industry to improve labelling and cooking instructions on packages. Despite these efforts, frozen raw breaded chicken products continue to be identified as a source of salmonella infection in Canada. As such, the CFIA is working with industry to identify and implement measures at the manufacturing/processing level to reduce salmonella to below a detectable amount in frozen raw breaded chicken products such as chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, chicken strips, popcorn chicken and chicken burgers that are packaged for retail sale.
This approach focuses the responsibility on the poultry industry and represents a fundamental change to existing requirements for frozen raw breaded chicken products. These new measures call for processors to identify salmonella as a hazard and to implement changes in order to produce an end product that reduces salmonella to below a detectable amount. The CFIA has granted industry a 12-month implementation period, to begin immediately, to make these changes.