More chickens test positive for Salmonella

21-11-2006 | |

There has been a fourfold increase in positive test results for Salmonella enteritidis (Se) on chicken carcasses over the five-year period from 2000 to 2005, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Salmonella, which is more commonly found in eggs, has been showing up more often in chicken, and the levels need to be reduced, according to Richard Raymond, the USDA undersecretary for food safety. 
“It still continues to rise, even though the overall incidence of salmonella in general has fallen,” said Raymond. “It’s one that we still don’t have all the scientific evidence we need to know how best to attack it.”
Salmonella causes illness in at least 40,000 people and kills about 600 every year in the US.
USDA research published in the December issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found:
• Positive tests for Se increased fourfold from 2000 through 2005.
• The proportion of plants with positive tests for Se increased threefold during that time.
• The number of states with positive tests for Se rose from 14 to 24.
The research was done before the Agriculture Department started a new program to reduce positive tests for Salmonella.
Since then, the incidence of Salmonella has fallen from 18 percent in 2005 to 10 percent today, Raymond said.
Cooking poultry to 165 degrees will kill the Salmonella germ. The government also strongly recommends that people use food thermometers and follow basic rules for kitchen safety: wash hands often, keep raw poultry and meat separate from cooked food, and refrigerate or freeze food right away.