Seeking lower Salmonella levels in poultry products


US authorities urged the poultry industry to increase safety standards for chickens and turkeys by applying new rules to reduce the number of salmonellosis cases.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed new federal rules to reduce the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in both beef and chicken and turkey products that are made from this raw material.

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said they are “taking steps to ensure that the products Americans buy are safer and prevent tens of thousands of people from getting sick every year.”

For his part, Al Almanza, USDA’s Food Safety deputy assistant secretary, said that these new standards and improving test patterns “will have a major impact on public health.”

The measures proposed by the FSIS undergo a reduction in the presence of pathogens in facilities and equipment with which this type of meat products are produced. What they seek is to have a smaller presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in products sold and lower salmonellosis, which according to FSIS could be quantified in 50,000 less people per year.

The proposal requires producers to reduce rates of salmonella in chicken pieces from 24% today to less than 16%, and campylobacter from 22% to 8%. Reduced rates in ground chicken and turkey is also proposed, and that samples are taken over a longer period to ensure accuracy.

For this they seek to establish sampling programs throughout the whole year in order to verify whether establishments meet effectively the prevention of Salmonella presence and Campylobacter in poultry channels and products derived from cutting.