The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a notice outlining the procedures for the 90-day training period before the launch of the service’s Nationwide Microbiological Baseline Data Collection Program for Raw Chicken Parts at the end of April. The notice instructs inspection program personnel at establishments participating in the baseline study.

During the training period, chicken parts will be tested for salmonella, campylobacter, generic Escherichia coli, enterobacteriaceae, coliforms and plate counts of aerobic microorganisms. Inspection program personnel will meet with plant management at the beginning of the period to explain the study preparations. The results of the microbiological sampling from the 90-day training period and the baseline testing will not be the basis for regulatory actions.

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The study is meant to provide FSIS with data about the prevalence and quantity of selected foodborne pathogens and microorganisms that serve as indicators of process control. FSIS plans to include all establishments that slaughter broilers and cut the carcasses into chicken parts of the type typically available for purchase by consumers; or that receive whole chicken carcasses or parts from other federally inspected establishments and cut them into halves, quarters or individual parts of the type typically available for purchase by consumers. The survey will not include whole carcasses, mechanically-separated product, ground chicken or further-processed chicken.