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Pathogen Reduction Monitoring Program for Salmonella and Campylobacter for raw poultry

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Keep in mind: the Pathogen Reduction Monitoring Program (PRMP) will be launched on March 1, 2023. The results will support the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in developing Canadian performance standards. All Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence holders who are both slaughtering poultry and producing chicken parts are expected to begin implementation by April 1, 2023. SFC licence holders who are only further processing poultry carcasses and chicken parts will be expected to initiate implementation by 2024. A similar staged approach will be taken for SFC licence holders who are producing raw comminuted poultry in 2024.

1. Introduction

There is a significant burden of illness in Canada from foodborne salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis. Both epidemiological evidence end expert opinion recognize poultry and poultry derived products as an important source of these illnesses.

Salmonella and Campylobacter are known to occur naturally in live poultry and contamination may occur at any stage of the farm-to fork production. Accordingly, food businesses that slaughter poultry or process poultry products need to consider Salmonella and Campylobacter as hazards of concern to their products and implement control measures throughout their production process to mitigate risks. Food businesses can verify the efficacy of their control measures, such as sanitary dressing procedures and antimicrobial interventions by implementing the PRMP.

2. Purpose

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) developed PRMP to help food businesses comply with section 47 and subparagraph 89(1)(c)(i) of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence holders must identify and analyze the biological, chemical and physical hazards that present a risk of contamination of their food, and prevent, eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the hazards identified by using control measures that are shown by evidence to be effective, including any treatment or process.  PRMP provides a means to verify that overall control measures are effective in reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in raw poultry and poultry products to maximum pathogen limits described herein.

This guidance document  is based upon best practices from the following:

Note: the PRMP verifies overall process controls. This means that products are not tested for the purpose of determining their suitability, but rather as a means to verify the effectiveness of control measures in preventing, eliminating or reducing contamination in raw poultry and poultry products during slaughter, cutting and grinding processes.

It's your choice!

You may use other sampling and testing procedures developed by provincial counterparts, industry associations, international partners or academic bodies as long as they can achieve the same outcome. Always ensure that the guidance you use is tailored for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements. Ensure to have the proposal verified by CFIA for foreign country equivalency assessment.

3. What is included

This document provides means to demonstrate the effectiveness of the control measures in your preventive control plan (PCP) for Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in key products and evaluating performance using pre-validated performance standard.

4. Roles and responsibilities

Food businesses are responsible for complying with the law. They demonstrate compliance by ensuring that the commodities and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. If a written PCP is required, the food business develops a PCP with supporting documents, monitors and maintains evidence of its implementation, and verifies that all control measures are effective.

CFIA verifies the compliance of a food business by conducting activities that include inspection and surveillance. When a non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement actions.

The CFIA may request SFC licence holders to modify their monitoring procedures to ensure that effectiveness of processes can be continually demonstrated.

5. Definitions

The following definitions apply in this document:

Pathogen Reduction Monitoring Program is a set of monitoring activities that verify the effectiveness of control measures to prevent, eliminate or reduce biological hazards to an acceptable level.

Performance standard is a microbiological criterion used to measure the effectiveness of a process to prevent, reduce or eliminate biological hazards.

Raw poultry carcass is a whole poultry carcass which has not been cooked.

Raw poultry parts are carcass parts which have not been cooked.

Raw comminuted poultry refers to mechanically separated, flaked, ground and other similarly processed poultry products that have not been cooked.

Type of poultry refers to a poultry product with similar characteristics such as:

Sub types of poultry refers to types of poultry carcasses, poultry parts and comminuted poultry  that can be sub-classified as below:

6. Key sections of the written program

A PCP allows you to identify and describe the biological hazards associated with the food, document how you intend to control those hazards, provide the information you used to develop your plan, and demonstrate through records that you have implemented your plan. To help you understand these requirements in relation to pathogen reduction, specific criteria and examples are outlined below. The examples are not exhaustive but offer ideas on what you can do to incorporate your PRMP in your PCP.

7. Poultry products subject to the Pathogen Reduction Monitoring Program

7.1 General considerations

7.2 Product types and sub-types within scope

1. Raw poultry carcass

2. Raw poultry parts

3. Raw comminuted poultry

7.3 Product types out of scope

PRMP does not include in its scope the following products:

7.4 Production volume as it relates to the pathogen reduction monitoring program

You should routinely review your establishment's operational activities including the production volumes to ensure that all of your information is current.

If your raw poultry product production volume is greater than or equal to shown in Table 4 you should design and implement a PRMP.

Table 4: Production volume for the implementing PRMP
Product name Production volume for PRMP
Raw poultry carcasses Greater than 20,000 birds per year
Raw poultry parts Greater than 450 kilograms per day
Raw comminuted poultry Greater than 450 kilograms per day

8.0 Sampling

8.1 Sampling location

You should sample raw poultry products for PRMP after chilling and completion of all interventions and processing steps, but before product leaves the establishment.

Select sampling location where sampling can be done safely and represents normal production.

Note: when an antimicrobial is used, you should wait for at least 60 seconds to let product drip before sample collection. This will prevent excessive antimicrobial residual level in the collected sample. Residual antimicrobial can lead to lower bacterial counts which would not provide a true representation of the process control.

8.2 Sample size and test frequency

PRMP is designed to provide information on process controls and to trigger an examination of process controls when necessary so that production can be improved. It provides sampling results that will inform you if a corrective action is required.

Important points you should consider for PRMP sampling and testing:

Table 5: Sampling size and testing frequencies for Salmonella and Campylobacter
Name of microorganism Sample unit per test Test frequency
Salmonella spp. and
Campylobacter spp.

All poultry species carcasses : 1 carcass for 1 test


  • the same carcass sample can be used to test for both Salmonella and Campylobacter
  • randomly select sample from a complete day of production (from any shift)
  • always sample the same poultry species for 1 series
  • rotate between poultry species in subsequent series
Once a week

Chicken parts: 1.8 kg ± 10%  for 1 test


  • the same chicken part sample can be used to test for both Salmonella and Campylobacter
  • select a sample up to the desired weight consisting of only 1 type of chicken parts and subtypes
  • randomly select sample from a complete day of production (from any shift)
  • select a new type of chicken part (and associated sub-types) for the next test in the series
  • continue sampling as above for 1 series
Once a week

Raw comminuted chicken and turkey :900 g ± 10% for 1 test


  • the same sample can be used to test for both Salmonella and Campylobacter
  • select a sample up to the desired weigh consisting of only 1 type and subtype of comminuted product
  • randomly select sample throughout a day of production (from any shift) to create a composite sample of 900 grams
  • rotate between different types in subsequent series
Once a week

8.3 Selecting for single or multiple types of raw poultry products

Depending upon types and numbers of products being produced, alternate series between carcasses, carcass parts and comminuted poultry every 52 weeks.

For example:

For your consideration

A best practice would be to simultaneously test all products over the period of 52 weeks.

See Annex - Sampling procedures for Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in raw poultry

9. Trend analysis and Pathogen Reduction Monitoring Program performance assessment

You should assess the performance of your poultry production process by monitoring the results of your PRMP. Two complementary verifications are recommended:

9.1 Trend analysis

Performing trend analysis of test results as they are collected is an essential component of a sampling program designed to monitor microbiological hazards. It is recommended that you perform trend analysis on an on-going basis. Trend analysis will help you detect a potential loss of control or inadequate controls and provide the opportunity to correct the situation immediately.

Table 6 provides reference criteria to perform your trend analysis

Table 6 Assessment criteria for trend analysis and compliance of PRMP
Column A Column B Column C
Product type Minimum number of samples for trend analysis Standard rate of positive results
(expressed in percent)
End cycle performance standard
(maximum number of positive results for 52 samples)
Salmonella spp. Campylobacter spp. Salmonella spp. Campylobacter spp. Salmonella spp. Campylobacter spp.
Carcass - Chicken, ducks, quails 11 8 9.8 15.7 5 8
Carcass - Turkeys, geese 14 19 7.1 5.4 4 3
Parts - Chicken See Interim Performance Standard Document Table Note 1
Comminuted chicken See Interim Performance Standard Document Table Note 1
Comminuted turkeys See Interim Performance Standard Document Table Note 1

9.2 End cycle assessment

Table 6 provides reference criteria to perform your end cycle assessment

9.3 Moving window approach for 52 tests

If you only produce a single product type or would like to test a specific product type on a continuous basis, you may use a moving window approach.

When using moving window approach, with each new result received you will re-assess your performance against the performance standard set out in column C of table 6, using the most current 52 test results.

Note: the testing laboratory is expected to send each sample test results directly to the local CFIA.

10 Corrective action procedure

The process is deemed out of control when the results do not meet end cycle performance standards, this indicates that the sanitary dressing procedures and associated antimicrobial intervention step(s) used to produce poultry product are unable to reduce prevalence of pathogens to an acceptable level. In this case:

Determine if same sample was tested for both Salmonella and Campylobacter

11. Records

In a PCP, systematic record keeping simplifies the retrieval of records when they are needed. They provide evidence that the PCP is implemented and working effectively.

Note: based on international trade agreements, CFIA may need to inform foreign trading partners of PRMP test results and trends.

Additional information – Further reading

The following references contain information on food safety controls, including examples. CFIA is not responsible for the content of documents that are created by other government agencies or other external sources.

CFIA references

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