Main content area

Microbiological Testing Results of Cooked Diced Chicken and Pasteurized Egg Products Purchased for United States Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs, 2012–2018

Johnson, Anjeanette C., Stone, William A., Feil, Michael B., Schroeder, Carl M.
Foodborne pathogens & disease 2019 v.16 no.12 pp. 807-812
Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, chicken meat, coliform bacteria, cooked foods, dried eggs, eggs, food and nutrition programs, food safety, indicator species, liquids, marketing, pasteurization, pathogens, plate count, United States
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases cooked diced chicken, pasteurized liquid whole eggs, and pasteurized dried egg mix for federal nutrition assistance programs. Purchases are made from establishments that have met the financial and technical requirements to become AMS-approved vendors. Cooked diced chicken is tested for the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, and for levels of aerobic plate count (APC) organisms, coliforms, and generic Escherichia coli (GEC). Of 3668 samples collected from October 2012 through September 2018, none were positive for Salmonella, 3 (0.8%) were positive for L. monocytogenes, 8 (0.22%) exceeded the APC critical limit (CL) of 1000 colony-forming units (CFUs)/mL, 15 (0.41%) exceeded the coliform CL of 50 CFU/mL, and 5 (0.14%) exceeded the GEC CL of 10 CFU/mL. Pasteurized liquid whole egg and pasteurized dried egg mix are tested for the presence of Salmonella and for levels of APC and CL. Of 984 pasteurized liquid whole egg samples collected from October 2012 through September 2018, 1 (0.10%) was positive for Salmonella, 29 (2.5%) exceeded the APC CL, and 4 (0.41%) exceeded the coliform CL. Of 380 pasteurized dried egg mix samples collected during this period, none was positive for Salmonella, none exceeded the APC CL, and 3 (0.79%) exceeded the coliform CL. All production lots from which samples found to contain pathogens or to exceed indicator organism CLs were identified and rejected for purchase by AMS. These data suggest that cooked diced chicken and pasteurized egg products produced for federal nutrition assistance programs are done so under effective food safety systems.