Recently released Campylobacter and Salmonella sampling results for the third quarter of 2013 followed the typical seasonal pattern, which shows a slight increase in the percentage of Salmonella-positive broiler carcasses in the third quarter. The percentage of positive broiler carcasses in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sampling in the third quarter was 4.5 percent, up from 2.6 percent in the second quarter (Table 1). The percentage of Salmonella-positive turkey carcasses in USDA sampling in the third quarter was 2.2 percent, down from 3.0 percent in the second quarter. The direction of the trend line for the sampling results for Salmonella for both broiler and turkey carcasses is still down, which is good for poultry producers.

The percentage of broiler carcasses that were positive for Campylobacter in USDA sampling in the third quarter of 2013 was 6.1 percent, up slightly from 5.7 percent in the second quarter (Table 2). The percentage of turkey carcasses that tested positive for Campylobacter in the third quarter of 2013 was 2.5 percent, down from 3.1 percent in the second quarter.

Ground poultry sampling project

In response to two major Salmonella outbreaks that were linked to ground turkey in recent years, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) conducted a project to sample a number of categories of ground and comminuted poultry products for both Salmonella and Campylobacter. Mechanically separated chicken and turkey were sampled for the first time, even though these products are not sold retail but are incorporated into further processed products that are cooked and sold as ready-to-eat finished products. Another change made in the sampling program for ground product is that the sample size was increased from 25 grams to 323 grams.

The Salmonella-positive rate for the mechanically separated chicken and turkey samples were both high in the USDA sampling, 81.5 and 47.5 percent, respectively (Table 3). The Salmonella-positive rates in the USDA samples from ground chicken and turkey were 40.3 and 20.6 percent, respectively.

The results of the sampling for Campylobacter in ground poultry products were more encouraging from the industry. Only 2.9 and 0.7 percent of the ground chicken and turkey samples, respectively, were positive for Campylobacter in this USDA sampling project.