FDA Food Safety: Sampling Survey
Since 2014, FDA has been developing a robust surveillance sampling program intended to promote food safety. The Agency’s sampling approach involves the collection of a statistically determined number of samples of targeted foods over a 12- to 18-month period and the testing of samples for microbial contaminants. During the first year of the program, FDA focused on sampling sprouts, whole fresh avocados, and raw milk cheese. For fiscal year 2016, FDA indicated its intent to sample and test cucumbers and hot peppers.
FDA recently released final data from the sampling of raw milk cheese aged 60 days. Based on the testing of 1606 samples from 2014-2015, FDA found raw milk cheese aged 60 days to have less than a 1 percent contamination rate for Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7 and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli., and the overall contamination rate for generic E. coli was 5.4 percent. The Agency states that it continues to be concerned about the presence of Listeria in raw milk cheese, which is a ready-to-eat food.
FDA also has released preliminary data from its ongoing sampling of cucumbers and hot peppers. Of a total of 452 hot pepper samples and 352 cucumber samples, 13 hot pepper samples and 3 cucumber samples tested positive for Salmonella. These samples were negative for the other targeted pathogens. However, it is too early to draw conclusions from these preliminary findings.