Recently Frontline and the New York Times both presented pieces highlighting the need to reduce Salmonella exposure from poultry in the United States. The Frontline segment, “The Trouble with Chicken,” discussed the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service’s lack of authority to mandate recalls for contaminated poultry products in the wake of recent outbreaks associated with Foster Farms and Cargill. Similarly, a New York Times piece by Retro Report, “Chasing Outbreaks,” focused on the critical role poultry producers play in ensuring the public’s safety from exposure to Salmonella given that current regulations do not consider the pathogen an adulterant in raw poultry.
The New York Times piece included an interview with Michael Robach, VP of Corporate Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs for Cargill. Robach described the proactive approach to detection of Salmonella concentrations in ground poultry which Cargill has implemented to minimize exposure to Salmonella in ground products. Current regulatory performance standards focus on the number of Salmonella positive samples in a facility, and do not consider the number of Salmonella present. Robach explained that a sample with one Salmonella may pose less of a public health threat than a sample with 1,000 Salmonella. Identification and diversion of ground turkey with high concentrations of Salmonella reduces public exposure to the pathogen and provides an additional level of safety for Cargill’s product.
At Roka Bioscience we are proud to have partnered with the poultry industry to develop and implement a novel, semi-quantitative approach to Salmonella pathogen detection which provides rapid detection of poultry lots with high concentrations of Salmonella. Because of our Atlas System’s sensitivity, product lots can be screened for Salmonella levels within a single shift in order to make rapid decisions regarding process control and product diversion. For more information about Salmonella Limits please see our eBook, Limits Testing in Poultry.
My experience working with the poultry industry through Roka’s Customer Applications lab has demonstrated to me the true value that the Atlas technology can bring to the poultry industry. Our prevalence and limits pathogen testing projects across a wide variety of poultry matrices (e.g. booties, drag swabs, spleens, rinses, and ground) have shown the robustness of the Atlas technology due to our target capture step across highly challenging matrices. Similarly, our comparative studies have demonstrated, the superior sensitivity of the Atlas system for detection of Salmonella across poultry matrices when compared to the other leading molecular methods used by the industry. Roka’s technology provides a new level of robustness and accuracy, and offers the poultry industry a tool which can be used for both Salmonella limits testing and prevalence testing from farm to fork. For more information about Roka’s comparative studies in poultry see our IAFP 2014 poster: Accuracy of Molecular Screening Methods for the Detection of Salmonella enterica in Production Ground Poultry Samples