Public Meeting on USDA Plan to Propose Considerations for Controlling Salmonella in Chicken

As promised, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has scheduled a public meeting to discuss its draft framework designed to examine how to control certain Salmonella in poultry.

The virtual meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST on November 3 and will be available via Zoom or dial-up. Registration for the public meeting is free, but prior registration is required for attendees. All participants must register online by visiting https://www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/events-meetings/public-meeting-reducing-salmonella-poultry, after which they will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of their registration. Those wishing to speak at the meeting must notify FSIS during registration and must register by October 24. Participants who do not wish to speak at the meeting can register at any time up until the day of the meeting.

Written comments will be accepted until November 16.

In its summary of the meeting, FSIS writes:

FSIS is hosting a virtual public meeting to discuss a regulatory framework the agency is considering for a new strategy to control Salmonella in poultry products and more effectively reduce foodborne Salmonella infections linked to these products. The framework under consideration was shaped by months of information gathering and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, researchers and scientists. FSIS invites stakeholder feedback on this proposed framework, both at the public meeting and in written comments submitted in response to this Federal Register notice before FSIS moves forward with any proposed changes to the Agency’s Salmonella Strategy.

Comments on this notice can be made by one of the following methods:

Federal Electronic Rulemaking Portal This website offers the option to enter short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or to attach a file for longer comments. Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions on this site for submitting comments.

Mail — Send to Docket Clerk, US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Submissions delivered by hand or by courier — Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 350-E, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

All items submitted by mail or email must include the agency name and file number FSIS-2022-0029. Comments received in response to this filing will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including personal information, at https://www.regulations.gov.

To access reference documents or comments received, send an email [email protected] or call 202-692-4235 to schedule a visit to the FSIS Records Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

As soon as the transcripts of the meeting are available, they will be accessible on the FSIS website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/events-meetings/public-meeting-reducing-salmonella-poultry.

Background
The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 goal is to reduce Salmonella infections to a national case rate of no more than 11.5 per 100,000 consumers per year. To reach the 2030 target, diseases from all sources must be reduced by at least 25%. FSIS has adopted the same goal and aims to reduce Salmonella infections from all FSIS-regulated products by 25%. According to FSIS, Salmonella infections in poultry have remained stagnant for decades despite efforts to reduce them.

For example, over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, the number of chicken product samples in which FSIS detected Salmonella decreased by more than 50%. However, the estimated rate of human Salmonella infections from all sources has remained constant over the past two decades, with approximately 1.35 million infections in the United States each year.

To address the problem of Salmonella in poultry and the resulting human illnesses, FSIS has proposed a regulatory framework that will be used to determine how to reduce illnesses.

FSIS is also completing a risk profile for the three pathogenic subtypes of Salmonella in poultry and collaborating on quantitative risk assessments for Salmonella in chicken and turkey that will address key risk management issues associated with this framework. The proposed framework currently under consideration is available on the FSIS website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/events-meetings/public-meeting-reducing-salmonella-poultry.

Meeting program
The public meeting scheduled for November 3 will cover the three components of the proposed framework:

1. Require incoming flocks to be tested for Salmonella before entering an establishment;

2. Improved oversight of FSIS establishment process control and verification; and

3. Implement an enforceable end product standard.

FSIS will finalize the agenda no later than the date of the meeting and post it on the FSIS website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/events-meetings/public-meeting-reducing-salmonella-poultry.


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