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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is stepping up its standards for young chicken (broilers) and turkey inspections to reduce contamination by Salmonella and Campylobacte, CNN.com reported.
This marks the first revisions to the Salmonella standards for chicken since 1996 and the first-ever standards for Campylobacter, a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that can cause diarrhea, pain, fever and abdominal cramping. The new guidelines set standards for poultry slaughter facilities to prevent contamination and offer best-practices to keep live birds bacteria-free.
The USDA estimates that the new Salmonella standards will result in 26,000 fewer illnesses from contamination during the first two years of their implementation. The new Campylobacter standards should help avoid 39,000 illnesses.
"There is no more important mission at USDA than ensuring the safety of our food, and we are working every day as part of the President's Food Safety Working Group to lower the danger of foodborne illness," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
"The new standards announced today mark an important step in our efforts to protect consumers by further reducing the incidence of Salmonella and opening a new front in the fight against Campylobacter."
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released a compliance guide to help the industry with compliance based on best-practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E. coli O157:H7 contamination in cattle, CNN.com reported.
The President's Food Safety Working Group aims to have 90 percent of poultry farms meeting the new Salmonella standard by the end of the year.
"Preventing food borne illness is the core mission of the Food Safety and Inspection Service and today's announcement will help us reduce the incidence of Salmonella and Campylobacter," Jerold Mande, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, said in a statement. "We welcome comments on today's announcement."
Comments can be made during a 60-day comment period via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5474, Beltsville, MD 20705-5474.
All comments must reference the Food Safety and Inspection Service and include the docket number "FSIS-2009-0034."