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FSIS Releases Salmonella Action Plan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has released its Salmonella Action Plan to address the estimated 1.3 million illnesses caused by the pathogen each year.

“Far too many Americans are sickened by Salmonella every year,” said 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.”

The plan identifies modernizing the outdated poultry slaughter inspection system as a top priority and states that the move “is likely to result in a reduction of at least 4,286 Salmonella illnesses per year in the United States.”

It proceeds to lay out the goals of enhancing sampling programs, training for inspection staff, and education and outreach.

The action plan notes that there is evidence from outbreak data that pork products contribute to Salmonella illnesses, stating, “Decreasing sanitary dressing problems in hog slaughter establishments, particularly related to removing the skin, could decrease a source of Salmonella on carcasses.” So FSIS plans to publish a directive of instructions for inspectors on the verification activities related to sanitary dressing procedures in hog slaughter operations.

FSIS also stated that the agency needs to develop new enforcement strategies, could modify how it posts Salmonella categories, and will explore how lymph nodes contribute to Salmonella poisoning.

© Food Safety News
  • PeterStiff

    Wow. A plan to reduce illnesses by 0.3%. Perhaps we should aim a little higher.

  • Ivan Linjacki

    It is good that government is looking to find new ways in inspection to reduce the illnesses caused by Salmonella. At the same time we have to provide the additional support to the slaughter industry too. Having direct experience in quality control and quality assurance in industrial slaughter of beef, pork and poultry it is imperative to dress the carcass as hygienically as possible. Please allow me to explain. Salmonella is a normal pathogen in intestinal flora of animals. Normally in different quantities pending of the health status of an animal. During the industrial slaughter of animals if there is an accidental contamination of meat by the intestinal contest there are presently available methods such as: antimicrobial carcass wash, exposure to UV light, heat treatment (if for further processing), irradiation, … Industry need a support in expertise and implementation of direct applicable technologies that will identify the Salmonella contamination of carcass and reduce it to the acceptable level.

    To me it looks that there is a need for the joint work between the government, academia and industry in order to bring to the higher level the safety of meat products to us consumers. Any improvement, as long as it is practically implemented is a step forward.