At the urging of competent national authorities, a limited risk assessment on Salmonella in chicken meat preparations in Belgium was undertaken following a retail-to-table approach. The input distribution of Salmonella was based on surveillance data in Belgium. To analyze the relative impact of reducing the risk of salmonellosis associated with a decrease in the Salmonella contamination level, different distributions based on the actual situation but limiting the number of portions containing Salmonella at 1 CFU per 1, 10, and 25 g of meat were used in the quantitative microbial risk assessment model. The quantitative microbial risk assessment model also was run several times with a theoretical fixed input of Salmonella assuming all portions possessed the same fixed contamination level set at 1,000, 100, 10, and 1 CFU/g of meat and 1 CFU per 10, 25, 100, and 1,000 g of meat. With regard to the initial contamination level, the results indicate, both by the narrowing of the current distribution and by the fixed input, that especially the higher levels of contamination (>1 CFU/g) contribute to the increased risk for salmonellosis.

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Author notes

Present address: Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Brussels, Belgium.