USDA launches new rules for poultry products

Companies that produce certain raw ground poultry products have a lot of work to do in the next three months under new rules announced yesterday.

In a statement posted Wednesday, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requiring companies that produce raw ground chicken and turkey to reassess their hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans in the next 90 days. These plans help companies identify food safety hazards and prevent illness, according to the statement.

During the reassessment, companies must take recent Salmonella outbreaks into account.

Along with the reassessment notice, FSIS also expanded the Salmonella verification sampling program to include additional raw, broken-down poultry products rather than just ground products. FSIS also will conduct sampling “to determine prevalence of Salmonella in not-ready-to-eat comminuted poultry products.” This data will later be used to develop new and enhanced standards, according to FSIS.

Lastly, FSIS also is increasing the sample size for lab analysis from 25 g to 325 g. This will help ensure consistency in Salmonella and Campylobacter testing, according to the statement.

The new poultry rules are some of the latest to go into effect in the last year. Earlier this summer, the final portion of the Egg Safety rule took effect, which requires shell egg producers to implement measures to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis contamination during the production process, storage and transport.

FSIS also increased residue testing for legal and illegal residues in eggs, meat and poultry through its National Residue Program.

Poultry producers and other food companies also still are awaiting the full release of rules stemming from the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act.

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