A top official with USDA’s Food Safety and inspection Service (FSIS) told a meat industry conference that ended Sunday in Charleston, SC, to expect new performance standards for Salmonella. Rachel Edelstein, acting assistant administrator of the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development, told the North American Meat Association meeting that her unit is testing various species with plans to set new Salmonella performance standards in the next 12 months. Details of Edelstein’s remarks were reported Tuesday by Meatingplace, a trade publication and web-based news site. The FSIS official said that new rules for poultry slaughter are only the first step in the agency’s Salmonella action plan. Edelstein said that new inspection procedures, the first since 1957, “will prevent illnesses each year because inspectors will spend more time on verification activities that address food safety.” Since June, she said FSIS has been subjecting beef samples collected for STEC testing to additional analysis for Salmonella. Those results will be used to establish new pathogen performance standards for ground beef and to measure Salmonella in ground beef and trim, according to the Meatingplace report. The changes will be made during the next fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Edelstein said there will be a comment period before the agency takes final action. In addition to the beef work, FSIS is developing new performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter for poultry products. Those changes are expected before the end of this calendar year. A comment period before final action was promised for the poultry standards as well. The species testing could also result in performance standards being introduced for pork products, including pork trim and ground pork. Edelstein told the group there is evidence pork contributes to Salmonella illnesses and that improvements in sanitary dressing issues in hog slaughter could help. NAMA, which was formed in 2012 with the merger of the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) and the National Meat Association (NMA), is the meat industry’s largest trade group. It is based in Washington, D.C., with other offices in Ottawa, Mexico City, and Oakland, CA.