The California Egg Quality Assurance Program uses the delayed secondary enrichment culture method for detecting Salmonella Enteritidis in environmental drag swabs obtained from commercial layer complexes. The turnaround time for this method is variable and is dependent on the prevalence of Salmonella, level of the Salmonella identification, and capabilities of the performing laboratory. On a sample basis, a range of 4 to 8 days is required to identify a Salmonella sp. to the serogroup level. Additional time is required to serotype group D Salmonella isolates. A Salmonella Enteritidis-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed for use on drag swabs and chick box papers, and had a turnaround time of 3–4 days. The delayed secondary enrichment culture method and the Salmonella Enteritidis-specific PCR assay were compared on 942 drag swab and 85 chick box paper samples submitted from 217 and 22 premises, respectively, as part of the California Egg Quality Assurance Program. The PCR assay identified 43 positive Salmonella Enteritidis samples from 22 premises, whereas the culture method identified 24 group D Salmonella-positive samples from 16 premises. There was a significant difference (P = 0.001) in the proportion of positive samples as determined by the two assays. Complete serotyping of the group D Salmonella-positive cultures confirmed Salmonella Enteritidis in all but one sample that was identified as Salmonella Jamaica and was negative by the PCR assay.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3