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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Steps-up on Salmonella and Campylobacter Chicken and Turkey

I must be in a good mood today.  In my last post I give Kudos to Cargill and now I am saying something nice about my friends at USDA/FSIS.  Perhaps it is the afterglow of the holidays.  Or, perhaps Cargill and FSIS have been reading my blog.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has developed new pathogen reduction performance standards for control of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria in chilled carcasses at young chicken (broiler) and turkey slaughter establishments that are eligible for agency verification sampling.

The new standards respond to certain key recommendations of the President’s Food Safety Working Group to reduce the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria, Salmonella and Campylobacter, in poultry. FSIS has had standards for Salmonella but not for Campylobacter.

The new performance standards are based on analysis of data from recent FSIS baseline sample collection programs for young chickens and turkeys. FSIS will issue a Federal Register notice in the near future that will provide specific details concerning the new standards. The Federal Register notice also will provide a full account of the development of these performance standards and their estimated public health impact and ask for public comments. FSIS intends to implement the new standards by July 2010.

FSIS has set a goal that 90 percent of covered establishments will meet the new standards for Salmonella bacteria by the end of 2010. The new Salmonella performance standards will limit the number of positive samples that are acceptable in a defined set, as compared to past standards. The new Campylobacter standards also will limit the number of positive samples that are acceptable in a defined set. The laboratory procedures for Campylobacter specifically detect samples with high numbers of organisms.

Cool picture above from my friends at Defending Food Safety.

  • Pete Snyder

    Bill, what is the link to this document? Pete

  • Dr Raymond

    Bill, this is not a result of the White House Food Safety Working Group. The baseline testing for Campy was being done several years ago, and the new baseline for Salmonella plan was announced along with the Salmonella reduction plan, both occuring during the Bush administration. And I would be willing to bet you a bottle of hootch, that over 85% of plants will already be at the new Salmonella baseline when it is announced, if they are not already there. And the Obama Administration will sing its praises for this accomplishment, and I will have to say “Not so fast”. You want the bet?

  • Marymary

    Ray beat me to it, but I was going to write that these sorts of changes take years to go into effect, usually after a lot of testing, haggling over the standards, time for public comment (although I’m not sure that comment was required in this particular instance), input from industry, etc. I think that is the norm, no matter who is in the White House.
    I’m not so sure that President Obama’s or any of his appointees are going to unduly take credit for it. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I would not be surprised at all, however, if we learn that an already slow process was slowed down even more by the anti-regulatory stance of the previous administration.