Buffered peptone water is the rinsate commonly used for chicken rinse sampling. A new formulation of buffered peptone water was developed to address concerns about the transfer of antimicrobials, used during poultry slaughter and processing, into the rinsate. This new formulation contains additives to neutralize the antimicrobials, and this neutralizing buffered peptone water replaced the original formulation for all chicken carcass and chicken part sampling programs run by the Food Safety and Inspection Service beginning in July 2016. Our goal was to determine whether the change in rinsate resulted in significant differences in the observed proportion of positive chicken rinse samples for both Salmonella and Campylobacter. This assessment compared sampling results for the 12-month periods before and after implementation. The proportion of carcass samples that tested positive for Salmonella increased from approximately 0.02 to almost 0.06. Concurrently, the proportion of chicken part samples that tested for Campylobacter decreased from 0.15 to 0.04. There were no significant differences associated with neutralizing buffered peptone water for the other two product-pathogen pairs. Further analysis of the effect of the new rinsate on corporations that operate multiple establishments demonstrated that changes in the percent positive rates differed across the corporations, with some corporations being unaffected, while others saw all of the establishments operated by the corporation move from passing to failing the performance standard and vice versa. The results validated earlier concerns that antimicrobial contamination of rinse samples was causing false-negative Salmonella testing results for chicken carcasses. The results also indicate that additional development work may still be required before the rinsate is sufficiently robust for its use in Campylobacter testing.
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