Analysis of the relationship between economic measures and Salmonella testing results in young chicken slaughter establishments
Food processing establishments incur costs to install, maintain, and operate equipment and implement specific food safety practices. During times of economic recession, establishments might reduce their food safety efforts to conserve resources and reduce costs of operation. This study was conducted to determine whether financial performance measures are systematically associated with Salmonella test results. The association between Salmonella test results from 182 federally inspected young chicken slaughter establishments from 2007 to 2009 and financial performance was examined while controlling for other establishment characteristics. Results indicated that the smallest establishments, which slaughtered fewer than 0.2 million chickens per year, had three times as many positive test results as did the largest establishments, which slaughtered more than 86.0 million chickens per year (P < 0.01). Establishments that slaughtered more than 0.2 million but fewer than 18.5 million chickens had 1.5 times as many positive test results (P = 0.02). Two statistically significant financial performance measures were identified, but the effects were limited. Establishments in bankruptcy had 1.4 times as many positive test results as did those not in bankruptcy (P = 0.02); however, only five establishments were in bankruptcy. Establishments with better payment performance generally had better Salmonella test results, but the effect was significant only in the winter season.