USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has finalized new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products, as well as in raw chicken breasts, legs and wings. “Over the past seven years, USDA has put in place tighter and more strategic food safety measures than ever before for meat and poultry products,” says Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary. “We have made strides in modernizing every aspect of food safety inspection, from company recordkeeping to labeling requirements to the way we perform testing in our labs.” FSIS estimates 50,000 illnesses will be prevented this year due to the implementation of the standards. “The new performance standards will complement the many other proactive, prevention-based food policies we’ve put in place in recent years to make America’s supply of meat and poultry safer to eat,” says Al Almanza, USDA deputy under secretary for food safety.
After these standards were proposed in early 2015, FSIS began to use routine sampling throughout the year rather than infrequent sampling on consecutive days to assess whether establishments’ processes were effectively addressing Salmonella and Campylobacter. Once establishments have completed a full set of testing under the new standards, the agency will also begin posting online which facilities pass, meet or fail the new standards.