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article imageU.S. to increase monitoring for food poisoning microbes

By Tim Sandle     Aug 20, 2014 in Health
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a new initiative for making chicken and turkey products safer for consumption.
Under the initiative, which will become enshrined in Federal law, poultry companies will need to meet new requirements to control food-poisoning bacteria Salmonella and Campylobacter.
Both bacteria are unpleasant and cause problem illnesses. With Campylobacter, the associated disease (campylobacteriosis) produces an inflammatory, sometimes bloody, diarrhea, periodontitis (around the tissues that surround and support the teeth) or dysentery syndrome, mostly including cramps, fever and pain. Similarly, people infected with the Salmonella bacterium (salmonellosis) often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
The initiative is described as the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). This is an updated science-based inspection system that is intended to position food safety inspectors throughout poultry facilities in a smarter way. This will be the first significant change to poultry inspections since 1957. Under the current inspection model, incidences of food poisoning have been largely unaltered over the past decade.
With the plan FSIS will require that all poultry companies take measures to prevent Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination, rather than addressing contamination after it occurs. Furthermore, Rapid Microbiology reports, all poultry facilities will be required to perform their own microbiological testing at two points in their production process to show that they are controlling incidences of Salmonella and Campylobacter. These requirements are in addition to FSIS’ own testing, which the agency will continue to perform.
The FSIS is also moving the points in the process where its inspectors operator. With the new scheme, more inspectors will now be available to more frequently remove birds from the evisceration line for close food safety examinations, take samples for testing, check plant sanitation, verify compliance with food safety plans, observe live birds for signs of disease or mistreatment, and ensuring plants are meeting all applicable regulations.
Under the new plan, the FSIS are confident that up to 5,000 foodborne illnesses will be prevented each year. Salmonella illnesses have remained steady, with some spikes, in the past ten years, while Campylobacter is the second most reported foodborne illness in the U.S.
More about Microbes, Food, food poisioning, food safety and inspection service
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