In 1996, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service established the HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) rule to verify that establishments have consistent process control for preventing, eliminating, or reducing the contamination of raw meat and poultry products with disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and campylobacter. The rule, in part, sets performance standards for foodborne pathogens that slaughter establishments, and establishments that produce raw ground products, need to meet.
The FSIS recently released its 2009 progress report for Salmonella, specifically, on raw meat and poultry products:
In calendar year 2009, FSIS analyzed 29,116 verification samples across eight meat and poultry product classes with the following percent positive rate of Salmonella per product class: broilers (7.2%), market hog (2.3%), cow/bull (0.6%), steer/heifer (0.2%), ground beef (1.9%), ground chicken (18.2%), ground turkey (10.7%) and turkey (3.8%).
Sounds like a lot of salmonella, particularly on broilers, ground chicken, and ground turkey. As for broilers, the 7.2% contamination rate is actually a reduction, down from 7.3%, 8.5%, and 11.4% in 2008, 2007, and 2006, respectively. Ditto for ground chicken and ground turkey, though the percentage of those raw products that are contaminated remains quite high. The figure below tracks the incidence of salmonella in raw product over the course of the last decade.