The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a recently released report, said the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) must set strict pathogen limits for poultry products with the highest contamination rates and find ways to measure a poultry plant’s success in meeting these new standards approved earlier in 2014. The GAO is an independent legislative-branch agency.
The GAO report noted that after FSIS set a standard of 7.5 percent for Salmonella on whole chicken carcasses, contamination rates fell to the single digits. A pathogen standard establishes the level of a bacteria that can be found on a poultry product before it is declared unfit for commerce.
Federal law does not prohibit the sale of poultry products that are contaminated with pathogens, so the department has pledged to set limits for Salmonella and Campylobacter.
The GAO pointed out that the FSIS missed a September 30 deadline for setting Salmonella and Campylobacter limits for chicken and turkey parts as well as Campylobacter in ground turkey. It also missed a deadline for updating the rate of Salmonella allowed in ground poultry, which is currently more than 44 percent for both chicken and turkey.
FSIS stated it finds merit with the GAO’s report and is working toward meeting its recommendations.
“FSIS appreciates the GAO’s acknowledgment that FSIS is putting in place an ‘increasingly science-based, data-driven and risk-based approach’ to protecting public health. We agree with the report’s recommendations and will continue implementing them,” an agency spokesperson stated.
New report: USDA must act to drive down dangerously high poultry pathogen rates
The U.S. Department of Agriculture must set strict pathogen limits for poultry products with the highest contamination rates and find ways to measure a poultry plant's success with these new standards, according to a government report released Thursday. The key problem is that ground poultry products and chicken parts - breasts, wings and drumsticks - have [ ].Read more at Washington Post
GAO: USDA Needs to Tighten Up Salmonella and Campylobacter Standards for Poultry
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) take action to reduce pathogen contamination on chicken and turkey products, make sure that agency food-safety standards are being met, and better assess whether on-farm practices are effective in reducing pathogens in live poultry.Read more at Food Safety News