Lisa M. Keefe of reported this week that “Salmonella is Job One” for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for the next 12 months, said Dan Engeljohn, assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Field Operations, speaking to processors gathered at the North American Meat Association education forum at ProcessExpo here.

“This year in particular the agency’s intention is to make some dramatic progress on illnesses related to salmonella,” he said, noting that about one-third of illnesses attributed to salmonella are related to food products regulated by FSIS.

The current multistate outbreak associated with salmonella, for example, is related to raw poultry and also to cross-contamination involving ready-to-eat poultry, but involves some strains of the pathogen that have never been identified before by FSIS.

“That points to the issue that there are other vectors for introducing contamination into the food supply, but right now our focus is on raw poultry,” he said.