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USDA Raises Standards on Salmonella, Campylobacter

by 5m Editor
11 May 2010, at 7:07a.m.

US - United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday announced new performance standards aimed at reducing the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens (broilers) and turkeys, as well as a compliance guide on known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce <em>E. coli</em> O157:H7 contamination in cattle.

The proposed performance standards are expected to be published in the Federal Register in the next few days. The notice, however, is available now by clicking here.

According to USDA, the performance standards a plant must achieve are based on the percentage of samples testing positive for a given pathogen. The standards were developed using new baseline studies that measure the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in broiler and turkey carcasses.

“AMI supports performance standards that are science-based, achievable and have a positive impact on public health,” AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges, said. “We look forward to reviewing the Federal Register notice in detail to determine if indeed the new performance standards meet this criterion in an open and transparent manner.”

In addition to the new proposed standards, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released a compliance guide on known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E. coli O157:H7 contamination in cattle, as well as the third edition of a compliance guide for poultry slaughter, including recommendations for controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter. Both compliance guides may be viewed on FSIS's website.

FSIS is seeking public comment on the proposed performance standards and compliance guidelines.