Research – Occurrence of Salmonella in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Product Samples from U.S. Department of Agriculture–Regulated Producing Establishments. I. Results from the ALLRTE and RTE001 Random and Risk-Based Sampling Projects, from 2005 to 2012

Journal of Food Protection

Ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry product samples collected from RTE-producing establishments for the ALLRTE (random) and RTE001 (risk-based) sampling projects of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) were tested for both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. The FSIS analyzed Salmonella results for RTE meat and poultry product samples collected for the two sampling projects from 2005 to 2012. Data for 24,385 ALLRTE samples collected from 3,023 establishments and 66,653 RTE001 samples collected from 2,784 establishments were evaluated for the percentages of Salmonella-positive samples, product types of positive samples, and Salmonella serotypes. There also were descriptive summaries with respect to establishment hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) size, production volumes, L. monocytogenes control alternatives, geographic location, and season or month of sample collection. Results showed low occurrences of Salmonella-positive samples from the ALLRTE and RTE001 sampling projects, with 14 positive samples (0.06%) for ALLRTE and 33 positive samples (0.05%) for RTE001. Percentages of establishments with at least one Salmonella-positive sample averaged 0.46% for ALLRTE and 1.11% for RTE001. Three product types—sausage products, pork barbecue, and head cheese—accounted for 62% of all positive samples. There were 27 distinct serotypes from 48 Salmonella isolates, with serotypes Infantis and Typhimurium being the most common (5 isolates each). All but one of the Salmonella-positive samples were obtained from establishments with HACCP sizes of small or very small. More than half of the positive samples were obtained from establishments using L. monocytogenes control alternative 3 (sanitation only, highest-risk category). Positive Salmonella samples were found in all geographic regions at all times of the year. Information obtained from these sampling projects is relevant to the prevention of foodborne Salmonella illnesses from RTE meat and poultry products.

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