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Regulators Fight Salmonella With Stringent Safety Standards

According to a series of news reports, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has decided to start an effort that would target Salmonella and other organisms with the goal of putting an end to food poisoning incidents tied to the harmful bacteria.

The effort includes the creation of new federal standards that would reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter present in ground chicken, raw chicken breasts, legs, and wings, and turkey products. With the implementation of the new standards, the USDA believes that over 50,000 illnesses will be prevented annually.

According to the federal agency, poultry companies are being urged to be more transparent when it comes to its food safety performance. The new standards combine a series of new steps that would help companies to develop safer and more efficient testing procedures.

With the creation of tougher pathogen-reduction performance standards, which will be used to assess the performance of meat and poultry products. Once these producers begin following the more stringent safety standards, fewer incidents associated with contamination will occur.

Since 1996, when the Food Safety and Inspection Service implemented performance standards, the agency wasn’t aware that the levels of Salmonella increase when chicken is processed in several parts. Since poultry parts make up 80 percent of the chicken products available in the country for purchase, it’s important that producers are aware of the risks.

The idea of creating a standard for chicken parts could help these companies to assess the risk correctly and avoid contamination more efficiently.

The new standards have a goal of reducing the number of illnesses associated with Salmonella contamination by 30 percent.

Each year, 1.2 million foodborne illnesses are believed to be tied to Salmonella contamination. At least one third of these illnesses occur due to the consumption of products that are regulated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

According to the USDA, another effort that may help to keep the number of illnesses tied to contaminated meat products low is the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to raw-beef products that contain six strains of shiga-toxin-producing E. coli. This policy would force producers to label the beef products that have been tenderized mechanically. These labels will be required to carry instructions on how consumers should cook these items. According to regulators, this policy will reduce consumer exposure to the risks associated with potentially contaminated meat products.

If you’re curious to know more about the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service decision and its new standards, follow this link to read more.

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