USDA issues revised poultry processing guidelines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a series of revised guidelines on Friday to help poultry processors better control salmonella and campylobacter, another bacteria found in raw food products.

The FSIS said the new guidelines, which are in response to a number of salmonella outbreaks and other recent forms of food poisoning, include the suggestion to sanitize all surfaces and equipment before poultry is processed to help prevent foodborne illnesses.

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“This new guide is one piece of FSIS’ Salmonella Action Plan and our effort to reduce Salmonella illnesses attributed to meat and poultry products by 25 percent in order to meet the nation’s Healthy People 2020 goals,” the USDA said in a news release. “By following the newer guidelines, poultry facilities can help us reach this important public health target.”

In a news release, Rep. Rose DeLauro (D-Conn.) said revising the guidelines is an important step, but that the USDA should do more.

She recommended the agency declare salmonella an adulterant as part of its work to protect American consumers from foodborne public health threats.

“As a new wave of food-borne illnesses affects the nation, families around the country are gathering for the holidays and are at risk of falling seriously ill from mishandled poultry,” she said. “Salmonella is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness and is responsible for more hospitalizations and deaths than any other foodborne pathogen.”

The public will have 60 days to comment on the guidelines once they are published in the Federal Register.