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USDA Announces New Performance Standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in Young Chickens and Turkeys and a Compliance Guide for Pre-harvest Management to Reduce E. coli O157:H7

Monday, May 10, 2010

(American Meat Institute)

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today 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 E. coli 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 visiting http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2009-0034.pdf.

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 at http://bit.ly/c7mpq5.

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

As outlined in a USDA press release, comments regarding the compliance guides document must be received within the 60 day comment period through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov, or by mail to: Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5474, Beltsville, MD 20705-5474. All submissions received through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail must reference the Food Safety and Inspection Service and include the docket number "FSIS-2009-0034."

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