USDA Proposes New Measures to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products as well as raw chicken breasts, legs and wings.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said, “Today, we are taking specific aim at making the poultry items that Americans most often purchase safer to eat,” This is a meaningful, targeted step that could prevent tens of thousands of illnesses each year.”

A pathogen reduction performance standard is how FSIS assesses food safety performances at the facilities that prepare meat and poultry products. By making the standards for ground poultry tougher to meet, the thought process is that ground poultry products, nationwide, will have less contamination and therefore result in fewer foodborne illnesses.

For chicken parts, ground chicken, and ground turkey, FSIS is proposing a pathogen reduction performance standard designed to achieve at least a 30 percent reduction in illnesses from Salmonella. For chicken parts, ground chicken, and ground turkey, FSIS is proposing a pathogen reduction performance standard designed to reduce illness from Campylobacter by at least 19 and as much as 37 percent.

FSIS’ science-based risk assessment estimates that implementation of these standards, would lead to an average of 50,000 prevented illnesses annually. FSIS will evaluate comments for 60 days and announce final standards and an implementation date this spring. The federal register notice is available on FSIS’ website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices