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FSIS Clarifies Young Chicken Carcass Sampling Rules

20 September 2012, at 8:03am

US - All young chickens including Cornish game hen or poussin are subject to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service updated standards for testing for salmonella and campylobacter in young chicken carcasses.

The updated performance standards that have been in place since July last year and have recently been reissued and clarified call for sampled collected at slaughter plants to be tested for both Salmonella and Campylobacter.

However, FSIS was concerned that some young chicken slaughterhouses have been inadvertently excluded from sampling because Inspection Program Personnel or representatives at the establishment misunderstood the young chicken product classes that were subject to sampling.

The misunderstanding led some plants to believe the instructions only applied to broilers.

"However, all types of young chickens, as defined below, are to be sampled in FSIS's carcass-based Salmonella and Campylobacter verification testing programme," FSIS instructions say.

"Carcases of "Rock Cornish game hens" (also called "Cornish game hen", or "poussin"), "broilers", "fryers", and "roasting chickens" (also called "roasters"), as defined in 9 CFR 381.170(a), are in the "Young Chicken" product class and are to be sampled."

FSIS said that the number of samples collected for verification sets remains the same, but each sample collected in a young chicken or turkey set is analysed for both Salmonella and Campylobacter.

At least 100 mL of rinse solution from the sample bag will be needed for young chicken samples. Young turkey carcasses are sampled with two sponges, one to be analysed for Salmonella (10 mL rinse solution) and the other for Campylobacter (25 mL rinse solution).

The slaughter plant will pass the revised Salmonella standards, if FSIS finds no more than five positive samples in a 51-sample set for young chickens and no more than four positive samples in a 56-sample set for young turkeys.

The slaughter plant will also pass the Campylobacter standards, if FSIS finds no more than eight positive samples in a 51-sample set for young chickens and three positive samples in a 56-sample set for young turkeys.

FSIS collects follow-up sample sets responding to sample set failure for either organism and analyses samples for both organisms.

To continue to implement the standards for Campylobacter, FSIS has moved all young chicken and turkey slaughter plants to the highest priority for scheduling sample sets.