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100 Leaders Join Salmonella Initiative Meeting

by 5m Editor
26 February 2008, at 12:08pm

US - More than 100 poultry industry leaders, representing 53 different companies or industry affiliated associations, convened Feb. 19 in Atlanta for a meeting organized by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association to discuss the recent Food Safety and Inspection Service Federal Register Notice on the Salmonella Verification Sampling Program.

Photograph: (Left to right) Steve Pretanik, National Chicken Council; Dr. Al Yancy, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association; and Dr. Mark Lobstein, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, discuss the recent Federal Register Notice on the Salmonella Verification Sampling Program.

Participants included broiler and turkey processors, allied industry companies who could be impacted by certain criteria included in the Salmonella Initiative, and representatives from other associations such as the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and the Georgia Poultry Federation. The meeting was hosted by Pilgrim’s Pride.

“USPOULTRY and several of our member companies have serious concerns about many of the criteria outlined in this notice,” said Dr. Al Yancy, the association’s vice president of food safety and production programs. “Central to our discussions were issues pertaining to the potential disruptions of our processing operations, the mandatory termination of previously existing HIMP and OLR waivers, and export trade implications. Our goal was to provide a forum in which we could discuss the ramifications of the notice and propose potential industry actions that could be taken in response to those items with which the poultry industry collectively disagrees.”

Yancy moderated the program and provided an overview of the various criteria detailed in the notice. Dennis Johnson and Barbara Masters, of Olsson, Frank & Weeda, explained the legal and regulatory aspects respectively of various initiative criteria. The International HACCP Alliance’s Bobby Palesano brought attendees up to date on the Public Health Risk Based Inspection System. Dr. Mark Lobstein, of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, discussed possible international ramifications of the initiative. The remainder of the meeting centered around finding a consensus on the next steps the poultry industry can take.

“The broiler industry has made substantial gains in reducing Salmonella levels on poultry,” said USPOULTRY President John Starkey. “FSIS needs to work closely with the industry to develop a more science-based approach.”

USPOULTRY has filed a request for a 60-day extension of the stated deadline for the comment period and no less than a 180-day extension of all effective dates stated or implied therein. The association also is coordinating efforts with others to do so as well.

Recognized as the “All Feather Association,” the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is the world’s largest and most active organization of its kind. Its focus is research, education, communication, and technical assistance.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Salmonellosis by clicking here.

5m Editor