USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has implemented revised and new performance standards aimed at reducing the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys. After two years of enforcing the new standards, FSIS estimates that approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised Salmonella standards each year.
FSIS developed stricter performance standards using recently completed nationwide studies that measure the baseline prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys prepared for market. The studies indicated that, despite improvements, there was still a risk of consumers being exposed to these pathogens through poultry. Secretary Tom Vilsack says there is no more important mission at USDA than ensuring the safety of our food.
Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen says these improved standards will drive the industry to do better, that they are tough but achievable. The improved standards will become effective in July 2011, following a public comment period.