US - A number of politicians have written to the US Department of Agriculture urging them to revise current pathogen testing protocols to improve test accuracy and protect public health.
US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Rosa Luisa DeLauro and Louise Slaughter wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack after a recent study found three antimicrobial sanitisers, commonly used to reduce pathogens on poultry carcasses, may cause false-negative results for Salmonella pathogens.
“Recent studies calling into question the safety of the nation’s poultry processing are deeply troubling and highlight a major deficiency in our food safety system.
"The USDA must take these studies seriously and take immediate action to ensure that we are not masking the threat of Salmonella,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a senior member of the House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for overseeing the USDA.
“We have to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring the safety of our food. This report is a reminder of the importance of good and efficient oversight when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply.” said Senator Gillibrand.
She added: “We should never be placed in the position to question testing results in our poultry. The USDA should provide a thorough risk assessment and respond to the recent scientific findings of false-negative results to ensure we can remain confident in the safety of the food we buy for our families."
“This study is extremely troubling... I look forward to hearing more from Secretary Vilsack so we can be sure that the USDA is doing everything it can to eliminate false-negative results and protect public health,” said Ms Slaughter.
The research article was published by the Agricultural Research Service and was entitled “Effect of Simulated Sanitizer Carryover on Recovery of Salmonella from Broiler Carcass Rinsates.”