U.S.D.A. to update poultry performance standards

by Staff
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WASHINGTON — The Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture intends to issue new Salmonella and Campylobacter performance standards for chickens and turkeys in the near future. The new standards will be based on the analysis of data obtained from the recently completed chicken and turkey microbiological baseline sample collection program.

The F.S.I.S. did not provide any specifics on what the new performance standards will be, but the agency did state that its goal is to have 90% of all covered facilities meet the new standards by the end of the year.
The new Salmonella performance standard will limit the number of positive samples that are acceptable in a defined set, as compared to past standards, according to the F.S.I.S. The new Campylobacter standards also will limit the number of positive samples that are acceptable in a defined set. In addition, the laboratory procedures that will be used to detect Campylobacter will specifically detect samples with high numbers of organisms.

The focus is on limiting Campylobacter on carcasses because the pathogen does not grow under normal handling temperatures, and carcasses with higher initial contamination are relatively more hazardous.

The F.S.I.S. stated that it will issue a Federal Register notice in the near future that will provide details regarding the new standards. The agency also said the notice will provide a full account of the development of the standards and their estimated public health impact. Officials will solicit public comment on the new performance standards with the intention to implement the standards by July 2010. FSM
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