The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today that it has removed from its Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook an enumeration method for Campylobacter testing in raw poultry.

Today's statement acknowledged that FSIS has developed pathogen reduction performance standards for Campylobacter testing of raw poultry using a qualitative laboratory method and has been enumerating Campylobacter from these samples. However, FSIS officials said, the agency has not used the enumeration data to evaluate establishment performance or to develop the performance standard.

Thus, beginning Aug. 18, FSIS will no longer conduct the enumeration procedure for the direct plating analysis that it has been using up to now. The agency has revised the Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook method chapter MLG 41.03 and associated flow chart MLG 41 Appendix 1.01 to remove the enumeration method. The guidebook may be reviewed here.