… this important first step launches a broader initiative to reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with poultry in the U.S.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA announced updated Salmonella regulations which will be finalized and go into effect in the coming months. More than 1 million Americans each year get sick from Salmonella.
Why It Matters: Salmonella bacteria causes about 1.35 million infections — resulting in 26,000+ hospitalizations and 420 deaths — in the U.S. each year. The new rules are designed to minimize illness and enforce stricter regulations specifically for chicken products. Why chicken? About one in every 25 packages of chicken contains Salmonella bacteria (CDC).
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed new regulations that would require increased testing at chicken processing plants and would reduce the amount of Salmonella bacteria permitted in products.
- The new regulations have been proposed but not yet formally established. The rules will be published this fall, allowing chicken processors to submit input beforehand; finalizing will come at a later date.
- Some are criticizing the proposed regulations: “It has the potential to shutter processing plants, cost jobs, and take safe food and convenient products off shelves. We’re equally concerned that this announcement was not science-based or data-driven,” said Ashley Peterson, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Chicken Council.
- Something to Consider: Salmonella bacteria can be found in different products such as beef, pork, eggs, and fruit. This specific announcement determined Salmonella an “adulterant in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products” — AKA “a contaminant that can cause food-borne illness” (USDA & Associated Press).
USDA getting tougher on salmonella in chicken products (Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,