USDA: New performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced new performance standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens (broilers) and turkeys.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) also released a compliance guide to help the poultry industry address Salmonella and Campylobacter.
"There is no more important mission at USDA than ensuring the safety of our food, and we are working every day as part of the President's Food Safety Working Group to lower the danger of foodborne illness," said Vilsack, adding that the new standards mark an important step in the USDA's efforts to protect consumers by further reducing the incidence of Salmonella and opening a new front in the fight against Campylobacter.
After 2 years under the new standards, FSIS estimates that 39,000 illnesses will be avoided each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and 26,000 fewer illnesses each year under the revised Salmonella standards.
These standards are the first-ever standards for Campylobacter, and mark the first revision to the Salmonella standards for chicken since 1996 and for turkeys since the first standards were set in 2005. The performance standards set a level in percentage of samples testing positive for a given pathogen an establishment must achieve and play a key role in reducing the prevalence of foodborne pathogens and preventing harm to consumers. The President's Food Safety Working Group has set a goal of having 90% of all poultry establishments meeting the revised Salmonella standard by the end of 2010.
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