National Microbiological Baseline Study in Broiler Chicken
December 2012 – December 2013

Sample collection

Samples were collected from federally-registered establishments and retail outlets between December 3, 2012 and December 19, 2013. The collection of caeca samples involved the manual detachment of one intact caecum from a pair of caeca from 20 individual viscera packs of the same broiler lot which was pooled into one composite sample. Collection of whole carcasses was performed according to Annex U of Chapter 11 of the CFIA's Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures. In brief, a whole carcass was randomly selected and collected after chilling, at the end of the drip line or at the last readily accessible point prior to packing/cut-up using sterile gloves. For carcass parts, tray packs containing > 700 g of SLBL breasts or SOBI thighs were collected immediately after packing or parts were directly taken from a bulk-pack container if tray packs were not available. Weep fluid was collected from bulk packs containing multiple whole chicken carcasses after transferring the carcasses into a new bag provided by the establishment which were then re-packed in the original box. The weep or bloody viscous fluid contained in the original bag was collected by cutting a small opening in a sanitized corner of the bag and carefully draining 200 mL of the weep fluid into a sterile 250 mL wide-mouth plastic jar.

Similarly, tray packs containing >700 g of fresh SLBL chicken breasts or SOBI thighs, or a whole chicken, were randomly selected from the display counters in grocery stores. Whole chicken could either be packaged in a tray pack or in a modified atmosphere bag and weigh between 1 to 2 kg. All samples were packed and shipped at the earliest possible time after collection using overnight delivery service. Samples received at the laboratory within 72 hours after collection and with a surface temperature ranging from − 0.4°C to +10.4°C were accepted for analysis. All samples fit for testing were processed the day of arrival or the following day by 12:00 pm if the samples were received after 5:00 pm the previous day.

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