AMI Comments on Foodborne Pathogen Standards

by 5m Editor
14 July 2010, at 10:34am

US - Performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter should be based on sound science, be achievable and have a positive impact on public health, says the American Meat Institute (AMI).

Performance standards should be based on sound science, be achievable and have a significant and quantifiable positive impact on public health, something that has thus far not been accomplished, says AMI in comments submitted on 13 July in response USDA FSIS Docket No. FSIS-2009-0034: New Performance Standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in Young Chickens and Turkey Slaughter Establishments.

AMI comments: "Indeed, publicly available data show the prevalence of Salmonella on raw meat and poultry products has been significantly reduced since the standards were implemented but the incidence of salmonellosis in the human population show no quantifiable improvement during the same time period. The agency's belief that implementing stricter performance standards will decrease human illnesses is theoretical. The lack of improvement in human illness since the performance standards were fully implemented in 2000 does not support the agency’s theory."

AMI urged FSIS to conduct a comprehensive scientific and technical review of the new performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and turkey to determine the impact of the revised standards on public health before they are implemented in federal establishments. Specifically, AMI encouraged the agency to examine why the Salmonella performance standards have not been successful in having a significant and quantifiable improvement of public health.

The comments conclude: "AMI supports achievable performance standards based on sound science that significantly improve public health through quantifiable metrics. Standards that do not meet these criteria could place unnecessary hardships on businesses and may not be the best focus and application of food safety resources. The agency should understand the possible improvement and impact on food safety as measured by the HHS's Healthy People goals before proposing changes to the Salmonella performance standards and in the development of the Campylobacter performance standards."

To view AMI's comments, click here.