Uncooked breaded, stuffed chicken products repeated source of Salmonella - study

57% of raw stuffed chicken products from homes, stores yielded Salmonella
calendar icon 8 May 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

According to a news release from the University of Minnesota, between 1998 and 2022, 11 Salmonella outbreaks in the US were tied to raw, stuffed, breaded chicken products. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led study, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), found that a median of 57% of samples collected from homes and stores yielded the bacteria.

The study follows an April 25th US Department of Agriculture (USDA) statement in which the department introduced a proposal to declare Salmonella a contaminant in raw breaded, stuffed chicken products when the bacteria exceed a very low level. The proposal is part of the department's mission to reduce poultry-related Salmonella infections.

The study's researchers analyzed data from the CDC's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service, as well as outbreak questionnaires and internet posts. They found 187 Salmonella outbreaks across 21 states. Of those, 42 led to hospitalisations, but no deaths.

"Stuffed chicken products were produced in at least three establishments," the report stated. "In the seven most recent outbreaks, 0%–75% of ill respondents reported cooking the product in a microwave and reported that they thought the product was sold fully cooked or did not know whether it was sold raw or fully cooked."

Under its proposal, FSIS would sample and test the chicken in these products before stuffing and breading, considering it contaminated if it had more than 1 colony-forming unit per gram of the bacteria. If deemed adulterated, "the chicken component represented by the sampled lot would need to be diverted to a use other than breaded stuffed raw chicken products," the USDA notice said.

"Additional control measures for Salmonella contamination by manufacturers could reduce Salmonella-involved illnesses associated with these products," the authors of the study wrote.

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