Chicken is the most popular meat in the United States, and consumers may be exposed to multidrug resistant Salmonella and Campylobacter through consumption of retail chicken breasts. This study aimed to (i) determine the percentage of raw, packaged, retail chicken breasts from 27 metro areas that tested positive for Salmonella and Campylobacter; (ii) investigate the antibiotic susceptibility profiles of a subset of the isolates; and (iii) compare the Salmonella prevalence data to establishment level Salmonella categorization data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) methodology was used to isolate and identify Salmonella (n = 672), Campylobacter (n = 499) from 400 g samples. National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) methodology was followed for antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Salmonella (n = 52) and Campylobacter (n = 16) isolates. Salmonella was found in 8.6% of samples and Campylobacter in 4.2%. Having a 3 rating in USDA's Salmonella Categorization of Individual Establishments for chicken parts was predictive of having a higher Salmonella percent positive in our data set (p ≤ 0.05). A total of 73.1% of Salmonella isolates, and 62.5% of Campylobacter isolates were resistant to ≥one class of antibiotics, with 48.1% of Salmonella isolates resistant to ≥three classes. Current results support interventions that take a 'farm-to-fork' approach with distinction by poultry types and parts as well as serovars, to lower antibiotic resistant Salmonella infections in humans due to poultry. Highlights:Salmonella was found in 8.6% and Campylobacter in 4.2% of chicken breasts tested; A 3 rating by USDA was predictive of a higher Salmonella percent positive; 48.1% of Salmonella isolates were resistant to 3 or more classes of antibiotics.
Keywords: Campylobacter; Salmonella; antibiotic resistance; retail chicken.