The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service recently released its testing results for Salmonella and Campylobacter for second and third quarters of 2012. The incidence of Salmonella found on broiler carcasses was 4.3 and 4.2 percent in the second and third quarters, respectively. While these percentages are not lower than the first quarter results, USDA data does appear to be trending downward (see graph), which is good news for the broiler industry.

USDA samples 

The incidence of Salmonella in USDA samples of turkey carcasses was 2 and 1.1 percent in the second and third quarters of 2012, respectively. The trend in Salmonella-positive carcasses for the turkey industry is heading in the right direction. The average percentage of Salmonella-positive turkey carcasses in the first three quarters of 2012 was 2 percent, compared to 2.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2011.

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Quarterly Salmonella test results for ground beef reported from the beginning of 2006 until the third quarter of 2012 have never gone above 3 percent positive samples, and the second and third quarter results for 2012 were 2 and 1.1 percent, respectively. Performance for ground turkey and ground chicken has not been as good as for ground beef, but the incidence of Salmonella in USDA samples of both of these ground poultry products appears to be trending down. The incidence of Salmonella in the USDA’s second and third quarter tests for ground chicken was 21.9 and 20.2 percent, respectively. The results were 12.1 and 8.3 percent in ground turkey in the second and third quarters, respectively, of 2012.

Reporting test results

The USDA began reporting test results for the incidence of Campylobacter positive broiler and turkey carcasses in the third quarter of 2011. With just five quarters of USDA data reported, the percentage of Campylobacter-positive broiler and turkey carcasses appears to be falling (see graph). Campylobacter was found on 5.6 and 6.1 percent of broiler carcasses in the second and third quarters, respectively, of 2012. Even fewer turkey carcasses tested positive for Campylobacter, with 1.9 and 2.5 percent positive carcasses found by the USDA in the second and third quarters of 2012, respectively.