Number of Salmonella on Chicken Breast Filet at Retail Level and Its Implications for Public Health Risk

Straver, J. M.; Janssen, A. F. W.; Linnemann, A. R.; Van Boekel, M. A. J. S.; Beumer, R. R.; Zwietering, M. H.
September 2007
Journal of Food Protection;Sep2007, Vol. 70 Issue 9, p2045
Academic Journal
This study aimed to characterize the number of Salmonella on chicken breast filet at the retail level and to evaluate if this number affects the risk of salmonellosis. From October to December 2005, 220 chilled raw filets (without skin) were collected from five local retail outlets in The Netherlands. Filet rinses that were positive after enrichment were enumerated with a three-tube most-probable-number (MPN) assay. Nineteen filets (8.6%) were contaminated above the detection limit of the MPN method (10 Salmonella per filet). The number of Salmonella on positive filets varied from 1 to 3.81 log MPN per filet. The obtained enumeration data were applied in a risk assessment model. The model considered possible growth during domestic storage, cross-contamination from filet via a cutting board to lettuce, and possible illness due to consumption of the prepared lettuce. A screening analysis with expected-case and worst-case estimates for the input values of the model showed that variability in the inputs was of relevance. Therefore, a Monte Carlo simulation with probability distributions for the inputs was carried out to predict the annual number of illnesses. Remarkably, over two-thirds of annual predicted illnesses were caused by the small fraction of filets containing more than 3 log Salmonella at retail (0.8% of all filets). The enumeration results can be used to confirm this hypothesis in a more elaborate risk assessment. Modeling of the supply chain can provide insight for possible intervention strategies to reduce the incidence of rare, but extreme levels. Reduction seems feasible within current practices, because the retail market study indicated a significant difference between suppliers.


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