The US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, announced a new initiative to reduce the level of Salmonella in raw meat and poultry products on February 23rd. By Simon Shane
Poultry plants will be classified according to three levels depending on the extent of Salmonella contamination of product. Food safety assessments will be conducted in plants with a history of poor compliance with statutory Salmonella level and there will be stricter implementation of the Pathogen Reduction/HACCP Rule introduced in mid-1996.
This initiative results from a steady increase in recovery of Salmonella from carcasses. Approximately 12% of US poultry plants are non-compliant with maximum level of 20% and the national average has shown a steady increase over the past 4 years. The Food Safety and Inspection Service attributes this undesirable situation to defects in process control and hygiene.
The government agency responsible for monitoring plants will provide operators with more rapid results of assays and data relating to contamination will be posed on the FSIS Website. Serotyping of Salmonella isolated from processed poultry will be expedited especially if trace-back investigation from foodborne infection is involved. According to the USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety, the goal of the agency is to work proactively to reduce the presence of Salmonella on raw products before plants develop a pattern of poor performance.
By: Simon Shane