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FSIS completes sampling for religious exempt and low volume poultry projects

15 August 2019, at 10:24am

FSIS completed its sampling under the religious exempt chicken carcass and low-volume poultry products sampling projects and will no longer sample or test that product for Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Religious exempt carcasses do not receive the USDA mark of inspection and only make up a small portion of the U.S. food supply. Low-volume products are those produced with an average daily production of 1,000 pounds or less. The agency began collecting religious exempt chicken carcasses and poultry products produced in low volume in June 2017, as announced in the Federal Register (81 FR 7285). Since June 2017, FSIS collected over 150 samples from religious exempt chicken carcasses and over 3,500 poultry products produced in low volume. Religious exempt carcasses and product produced in low volume are not subject to the Salmonella performance standards.

FSIS collected sufficient data to make the determination that the agency no longer needs to collect samples under these projects. FSIS found that generally religious exempt poultry products and a subset of the low volume products samples have a higher than national average rate of Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination.

This exploratory sampling programme indicates a higher percent positive in some product categories, although the overall volume of such products in the food supply is low. The agency does not intend to propose performance standards for these products at this time. The agency intends to communicate the results from these sampling projects on the FSIS website and will announce the availability of the results in a future FSIS Constituent Update. FSIS will use these results to conduct outreach with the industry and consumers to encourage the safe production and handling of these raw poultry products.

Establishment specific datasets now available

FSIS has posted the updated establishment specific datasets on laboratory sampling results that were expanded to add data on serotype, Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE), Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These laboratory sampling results datasets were first released as announced in the Federal Register on July 14, 2016 (Docket No. FSIS-2014-0032). Prior to publishing these expanded datasets, the sample dataset and corresponding data documentation were posted on May 31, 2019 and comments were sought until July 12, 2019. Data contained in these datasets on tested product from establishments are not sufficient to determine an association to human illnesses. Further epidemiologic information is needed to determine if there is an association between the non-clinical isolates and human illnesses. FSIS updates existing datasets quarterly and these datasets will next be updated in October.

Export requirements updates

The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:

  • Belarus
  • Chile
  • Colombia​
  • Cuba
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Korea, Republic of
  • New Caledonia
  • Peru
  • Singapore

Complete information