The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is planning to release new safety standards for Campylobacter in poultry, in addition to the Salmonella performance standard already in the works. Both are expected to be finalized by the end of the current fiscal year. “The Agency is developing a performance standard for Campylobacter on chicken parts and plans to announce and request comment at the same time as the Salmonella performance standard,” wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Vilsack was responding to their April letter expressing concern over food safety standards and urging USDA to develop better ones that would significantly reduce the levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry. “FSIS is investigating the appropriateness of Campylobacter performance standards for comminuted poultry,” his letter continued. (“Comminuted” to USDA means any non-breaded, non-battered raw chicken or turkey product that has been ground, mechanically separated, or hand- or mechanically deboned and further chopped, flaked, minced or otherwise processed to reduce particle size.) In a statement, Feinstein said that “the levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken are too high” and that “Secretary Vilsack made the right decision to accelerate the creation of strong standards for both pathogens.” A FSIS spokesperson told Food Safety News that the agency “appreciates the support Senators Feinstein, Durbin and Gillibrand have put behind our efforts to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter illnesses, and their urgency in having standards for both pathogens created simultaneously,” adding, “We look forward to announcing the estimated illness reduction from these new standards in September, and more importantly to seeing the number of foodborne illnesses drop once those standards are implemented.”