The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to see thousands of illnesses prevented and has announced new performance standards to help.
The performance standards, which were announced May 10, aim to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens (broilers) and turkeys.
The move also fulfils another key recommendation of the President’s Food Safety Working Group.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) also released a compliance guide to help the poultry industry address Salmonella and Campylobacter and a compliance guide on known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E.coli O157:H7 contamination in cattle.
After two years under the new standards, FSIS estimates that 39,000 illnesses will be avoided each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and 26,000 fewer illnesses each year under the revised Salmonella standards.
The standards are the first-ever standards for Campylobacter, and mark the first revision to the Salmonella standards for chicken since 1996 and for turkeys since the first standards were set in 2005.
The performance standards set a level in percentage of samples testing positive for a given pathogen an establishment must achieve and play a key role in reducing the prevalence of foodborne pathogens and preventing harm to consumers.
The President’s Food Safety Working Group has set a goal of having 90 per cent of all poultry establishments meeting the revised Salmonella standard by the end of 2010.
By revising current performance standards and setting new ones, FSIS is encouraging establishments to make continued improvement in the occurrence and level of pathogens in the products they produce.
FSIS developed the stricter performance standards using recently completed studies that measure the baseline prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chicken (broiler) and turkey carcasses nationwide.