January 16, 2018

USDA to Set New Safety Standards for Campylobacter in Poultry

After the USDA announced they will set new safety standards for Salmonella in poultry, the agency has announced they will set new standards on Campylobacter in chicken products as well. The standards should be released by the end of September, 2014.

Raw Chicken BreastsIn a letter sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), USDA secretary Tom Vilsack stated that poultry slaughter modernization is a high priority. Consumer groups and food safety advocates have critized that plan, stating that increasing line speeds and turning inspections over to manufacturer’s employees is not the best way to improve poultry safety.

Senator Feinstein, along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) wrote to the USDA in March and April of this year. That letter urged the USDA to establish performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter for all major product types.

Senator Gillibrand said in a statement, “I am pleased that USDA has now moved forward to develop performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter. The US has made little progress in reducing the rate of foodborne illnesses from Salmonella and Campylobacter over the past 10 years, and it is time to turn that track record around.”

But simply decreasing the amount of bacterial contamination in poultry products may not be enough. Food safety advocates also want the government to declare antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella an adulterant in poultry so recalls of contaminated products can be forced by the USDA.

The ongoing Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak is a case in point. That outbreak, which has sickened at least 574 people over the last year, is caused by seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg; four of those strains are antibiotic-resistant. More than twice the usual number of ill persons are hospitalized in that outbreak, mostly because the antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are harder to treat. No recall has been announced by Foster Farms or the government.

Comments

  1. Tami K. Hastings says:

    FASTER does not = BETTER!

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