What is in this article?:
- US poultry inspections move toward modernization
- Proposal process
- By focusing inspectors only on the areas that are crucial to food safety, changes in poultry inspection will not only enhance consumer safety, but will improve efficiency saving taxpayers more than $90 million over three years and lower production costs at least $256.6 million per year.
The proposal was posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Proposed_Rules/index.asp and soon will publish in the Federal Register. The comment period will end 90 days after the proposal publishes in the Federal Register and must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov, or by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, OPPD, RIMD, Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza III, Room 8-164, 355 E Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-3221. All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number, which will be assigned when it is published in the Federal Register.
Over the past two years, FSIS has announced several new measures to safeguard the food supply, prevent foodborne illness, and improve consumers' knowledge about the food they eat. These initiatives support the three core principles developed by the President's Food Safety Working Group: prioritizing prevention; strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery. Some of these actions include:
- Performance standards for poultry establishments for continued reductions in the occurrence of pathogens. After two years of enforcing the new standards, FSIS estimates that approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised Salmonella standards each year.
- Zero tolerance policy for six Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serogroups. Raw ground beef, its components, and tenderized steaks found to contain E. coli O26, O103, O45, O111, O121 or O145 will be prohibited from sale to consumers. USDA will launch a testing program to detect these dangerous pathogens and prevent them from reaching consumers.
- Test and hold policy that will significantly reduce consumer exposure to unsafe meat products, should the policy become final, because products cannot be released into commerce until Agency test results for dangerous contaminants are known.
- Labeling requirements that provide better information to consumers about their food by requiring nutrition information for single-ingredient raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped products.