U.S – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has finalized its determination to classify Salmonella as an adulterant in raw breaded and stuffed chicken products.

Proposed in April 2023, the decision to target raw, breaded, and stuffed chicken products stems from their recurrent association with Salmonella outbreaks, despite constituting a small fraction of the total U.S. chicken supply.

These products have been linked to approximately 5% of all chicken-associated Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. between 1998 and 2020, prompting FSIS to intensify its regulatory focus on this category.

FSIS will implement rigorous verification procedures, including sampling and testing of raw chicken prior to stuffing and breading, to ensure that establishments adhere to stringent Salmonella control measures.

If the chicken component fails to meet the specified standard, the corresponding product lot will be prohibited from being used to produce final raw breaded and stuffed chicken products. The determination, along with FSIS’ sampling and verification testing, will take effect 12 months after publication in the Federal Register.

Addressing misconceptions

Although pre-browned and appearing cooked, raw breaded and stuffed chicken products contain raw chicken and are typically cooked by consumers from a frozen state. This preparation mode heightens the risk of inadequate heating, potentially allowing Salmonella to persist.

Despite labeling improvements, these products continue to be associated with outbreaks, necessitating robust regulatory action.

The determination draws on the best available science and data, mirroring FSIS’ approach to previous policy decisions regarding food safety. Similar criteria used in past policymaking, such as those for E. coli, have guided the classification of Salmonella as an adulterant in raw breaded stuffed chicken products, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in regulatory standards.

“FSIS will continue to evaluate and, if necessary, refine its policies and standards related to the oversight of raw breaded stuffed chicken products as advances in science and technology related to pathogen levels, serotypes, laboratory methods, and infectious dose become available,” says USDA.

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