USDA finalizes policy to protect consumers from Salmonella  in raw breaded stuffed chicken products 

— OPINION —

Food Safety, like politics, is the art of the possible. 

Sure, it would be great if, like Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in beef are considered adulterants, Salmonellas (at least the 30 plus known to cause human illness) were considered adulterants as well in ALL meat products. But, we are not there yet. 

Thanks to President Biden, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Jose Emilio Esteban, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety, and Sandra Eskin, Deputy Under Secretary, stepping up and doing what can be done in a product well known for causing human disease.

My hope is that setting standards for one chicken product will show that limiting Salmonella is possible in that product and that what is learned can be utilized across other chicken products as well.

I hope the poultry industry sees this move by FSIS as a positive.

In 1994 when Administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Mike Taylor deemed E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant the beef industry “had a cow.” However, no one can argue that Taylor’s work in 1994 and USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen’s work on deeming other Shiga-toxin producing E. coli adulterants have saved lives and saved the beef industry millions of dollars. And, credit also goes to the beef industry for cleaning up the mess. 

Hopefully, our friends in poultry will see a positive lesson from the past.

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