News Feature | December 5, 2013

FSIS Releases Salmonella Action Plan

Source: Food Online
Sam Lewis

By Sam Lewis


New comprehensive plan will build on years of Salmonella prevention practices

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) released its Salmonella Action Plan on Wednesday, Dec 4. The strategy outlines necessary steps to address the agency’s most common issue: Salmonella in meat and poultry products.

The plan will serve as the agency’s best practice guideline to address threats of Salmonella in meat and poultry products. The top priority of the plan is to modernize the outdated system of slaughtering poultry. The Salmonella Action Plan makes improvements to sampling and testing programs by ensuring the programs have the most updated information. It will also give FSIS the most current and upcoming trends in foodborne illness. The plan also gives new power to inspectors, giving them the necessary tools to track, identify and remedy problems. Food processing plants will be required to keep detailed information regarding their conditions and performance history, letting inspectors focus on safety. “Far too many Americans are sickened by Salmonella every year,” says former Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen. The aggressive and comprehensive steps detailed in the Salmonella Action Plan will protect consumers by making meat and poultry products safer.”

Additionally, the Salmonella Action Plan defines different actions FSIS will take to lower Salmonella contamination rates. Included in these are: creating new performance standards, establishing new inspection strategies in facilities, farms, and fields, identifying and addressing all potential sources of Salmonella, and developing research, education, and outreach tools in the prevention of Salmonella outbreaks.

The effort will add to the work the USDA has completed over the last several years to reduce Salmonella outbreaks. Two years ago, the USDA improved its performance standards for Salmonella in poultry, aiming to reduce the number of illnesses by 20,000 per year. The Salmonella Initiative Program of 2011 provided food processing plants with techniques designed to reduce Salmonella in raw meat. These innovative techniques and stricter policies have reduced Salmonella rates in young chickens by 75 percent since 2006.

Want to publish your opinion?
Contact us to become part of our Editorial Community.