The Pathogen Reduction Initiative is a federal and provincial government initiative, led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which was started in 2012 to conduct a baseline study on four key pathogens in meat (Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Listeria). The studies on Salmonella and Campylobacter are designed to assess current pathogen levels, establish reduction targets, and identify and implement strategies to monitor and reduce pathogen levels. For the chicken industry, the Pathogen Reduction Initiative’s main objectives are to provide data on the prevalence and concentrations of Salmonella and Campylobacter in broiler flocks, carcasses and retail chicken meat products.
The baseline studies are the first step. Data gathered through the studies will support work to develop appropriate intervention measures at all points along the food chain, from farm to processing to retail, and help to establish performance targets. We work closely with various government agencies such as CFIA to address food safety hazards on-farm as part of the ongoing maintenance review of Raised by a Canadian Farmer On-Farm Food Safety Program. This further demonstrates that the On-Farm Food Safety Program is not static; it is subject to continuous improvement.
Chicken Farmers of Canada has been participating in phase I of the government-industry Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) Working Group since 2008. The objective was to address gaps in the poultry and egg sectors that impact the control of foodborne SE in Canada, and to reduce human illnesses from poultry sources. Recommendations from this work are now complete in Health Canada’s 2014 “National Strategy for the Control of Poultry-Related Human Salmonella Enteritidis Illness in Canada”
These two groups have now merged efforts with a new joint industry-government working group to look at implementing recommendations and developing risk management strategies for pathogens in poultry and poultry products. Chicken Farmers of Canada remains actively involved in this next phase of work.