#06-186

Complete

Date Full Report Received

05/04/2007

Date Abstract Report Received

05/04/2007

Investigation

Institution: ,
Primary Investigator:

Objective: To examine retail pork products for presence and levels of Salmonella spp. to measure the overall impact of current industry practices for reduction of this foodborne pathogen, and further, assess the risk of foodborne illness related to Salmonella spp. upon consumption of retail pork products.

Study Approach: A total of 4,000 retail pork products were examined during January – March, 2007, from 4 locations in the Midwestern and Southwestern United States, including Green Bay, WI, Dallas, TX, San Antonio, TX and Phoenix, AZ. Four representative pork products were collected during this study, including enhanced pork chops, enhanced boneless pork roasts, un-enhanced (natural) pork chops and un-enhanced (natural) boneless pork roasts. Pork products were collected in a similar manner at each location for the first two-thirds of the sampling period. For the final, one-third of the collection period only enhanced products primarily from the Phoenix, AZ location were sampled based on the inability to recover Salmonella spp. from un-enhanced products, and further, on the limited number of positive samples recovered in enhanced products at the other 3 locations. Retail samples were first screened for the presence of Salmonella spp. in sets of 5 per product type. If the sample set screened positive, further testing was performed on the individual samples associated with the set. In the event that an individual sample was determined to be positive for Salmonella spp., it was assessed for the estimated level of Salmonella spp. present per gram of product.

Findings: Salmonella spp. was found at a rate of 4.81%, or 13 out of 270 sets (5 samples per set) for both the enhanced pork chops and boneless pork roast sets. Upon further testing these products as individual samples, 18 out of a total of 1,350 samples (1.33%) of pork chops were positive for Salmonella spp. and 10 out of 1,350 samples (0.74%) of pork roasts. No Salmonella spp. was found in any of the un-enhanced (natural) products tested. Geographically, 2 out of the 13 enhanced pork chop sample sets positive for Salmonella spp. were collected in Green Bay, WI, and the remaining were from Phoenix, AZ. One of the 13 pork roast sample sets positive for Salmonella spp. was collected in Dallas, TX while the remaining were  collected in Phoenix, AZ. With regard to the 18 individual enhanced pork chop samples that tested positive for Salmonella spp., 3 were from samples collected in Green Bay, WI, and the remaining from Phoenix, AZ. Individual samples of enhanced boneless pork roast collected in Dallas, TX represented 1 out of the 10 that tested positive for Salmonella spp. while the remaining were from Phoenix, AZ. The estimated levels of Salmonella spp. present on the products that tested positive were low, ranging from <0.3 to 0.72 per gram of product for enhanced pork chops, and <0.3 to 1.40 per gram of product for enhanced pork roasts.

Industry Implications: The results of this study demonstrate that the overall rate of Salmonella spp. on retail products acquired in the Midwestern and Southwestern United States is low based on the 0% recovery for un-enhanced products, and 0.74% to 4.81% for enhanced products, respectively, based on the individual or sample sets tested. Further, for those samples that tested positive for Salmonella spp., the estimated level of this microorganism was either undetectable (<0.3 per gram) or 1.40 per gram at the highest level. Therefore, it can be concluded based on this regional study that the overall risk of foodborne illness caused by Salmonella spp. on retail pork is minimal. Further evaluation of retail products from locations across the United States may be warranted to better capture the national prevalence and associated levels. You may contact the Principal Investigator, Wendy Warren-Serna, Ph.D. by e-mail at wwarren@foodsafetynet.com or by phone at 210-340-8870. Dr. Warren-Serna is located at the corporate facility in San Antonio, TX at 221 W. Rhapsody, San Antonio, TX 78216.