The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) tests for Salmonella in meat, poultry, and egg products through three regulatory testing programs: the Pathogen Reduction–Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (PR-HACCP) program, the ready-to-eat program for meat and poultry products, and the pasteurized egg products program. From 1998 through 2003, 293,938 samples collected for these testing programs were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella enterica serotypes. Of these samples, 12,699 (4.3%) were positive for Salmonella, and 167 (1.3%) of the positive samples (0.06% of all samples) contained Salmonella Enteritidis. The highest incidence of Salmonella Enteritidis was observed in ground chicken PR-HACCP samples (8 of 1,722 samples, 0.46%), and the lowest was found in steer-heifer PR-HACCP samples (0 of 12,835 samples). Salmonella Enteritidis isolates were characterized by phage type, pulsed-field gel electrophoretic pattern, and antimicrobial susceptibility. Phage typing of 94 Salmonella Enteritidis isolates identified PT13 (39 isolates) and PT8 (36 isolates) as the most common types. One isolate from a ready-to-eat ham product was characterized as PT4. Electrophoretic analysis of 148 Salmonella Enteritidis isolates indicated genetic diversity among the isolates, with 28 unique XbaI electrophoretic patterns identified. Of these 148 isolates, 136 (92%) were susceptible to each of 16 antimicrobials tested. Two isolates were resistant to ampicillin alone, and 10 isolates were resistant to two or more antimicrobials. Isolation of Salmonella Enteritidis from FSIS-regulated products emphasizes the need for continued consumer education on proper food handling and cooking practices and continued work to decrease the prevalence of Salmonella in meat, poultry, and pasteurized egg products.

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