Thursday, March 30, 2006

Salmonella Spike Prompts USDA Crackdown

Referring back to our "Tainted Meat" article, new information just came out late last February...

Samples in broilers, ground chicken and ground turkey testing positive for salmonella at US slaughter and processing plants have surged since 2002, according to statistics compiled by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Broilers had the highest rates of salmonella, with 16.3 per cent of samples testing positive in 2005, up from 11.5 per cent in 2002. The highest level was reached in 1998, when salmonella was found in 20 per cent of the broilers sampled.

The results have spurred the US Department of Agriculture to propose a more aggressive testing program to bring down the spike in Salmonella cases at processing plants.

"Our goal is to work proactively to reduce the presence of salmonella on raw products before plants develop a pattern of poor performance," USDA under secretary for food safety Richard Raymond stated. "FSIS will more quickly report testing results and target establishments needing improvement, providing timely information to both consumers and industry."