FSIS Announces Revised Compliance Guidelines For Salmonella and Campylobacter Control In Raw Poultry
On July 8, 2021, The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the availability of revised guidelines addressing the prevention and control of Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry slaughter and processing establishments. These revised guidelines reflect the most current scientific and technological information, public comments received regarding the 2015 guidelines, and the Agency’s decision to create two separate set of control guidelines for Salmonella and Campylobacter—as opposed to the previous combined guidelines.
The newly proposed guidelines address the “best practices” for the prevention and control of Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw poultry, which are two common culprits of foodborne illness transmission. Among the most important additions and revisions to the previous guidelines include the use of neutralizing agents in sampling to avoid the carryover of antimicrobial substances, an updated list of the best antimicrobials for establishments to use, as well as improved practices for pre-harvest protocols and a complete revision of the litter/bedding section.
The CDC estimates that Salmonella bacteria causes around 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the U.S. each year, with a significant portion of these being brought about through the consumption of contaminated poultry and eggs. Similarly, Campylobacter bacteria is estimated to cause around 1.5 million illnesses in the U.S. each year, predominantly caused by consuming raw or undercooked poultry. While most healthy individuals can recover from Salmonellosis, some individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and pregnant women can experience serious and sometimes fatal complications. Those who become infected with Campylobacter generally recover without medical intervention, however, in certain cases, such as in individuals over 65 years of age, those with weakened immune systems or pregnant women, antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
In light of the significant prevalence of foodborne illnesses caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter, the newly proposed FSIS guidelines provide an optimistic outlook for the future reduction of their spread in poultry establishments.