Director of the agency’s foodborne illness division Rob Tauxe said the figures show that more needs to be done to make our food safer. The two most common sources of infection have been longtime problems, he noted.
Salmonella can come from an array of foods including vegetables, eggs, chicken, pork and beef. Campylobacter is mostly tied to chicken. Health officials often can’t group cases into outbreaks. Both bacteria are normally spread through animal feces.
The report is based on reports in 10 states though it is seen as an indicator of national trends. Companies have brought down salmonella rates in raw whole carcasses with chicken since the government began publishing test results of individual plants.
The agency said 22 percent of production plants did not meet its standard for limiting salmonella in chicken parts last year. the U.S. Department of Agriculture only recently began posting similar data for raw chicken parts like breasts and legs.
The National Chicken Council stated the industry has been working hard to bring down contamination rates. germ-killing solutions sprayed on the raw chicken during processing, improved sanitation and increased use of vaccines, etc. are being done to make it most hygienic.