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USDA-FSIS Announces Updated Guidance for Controlling Pathogens in Beef and Poultry Operations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has recently updated several of its guidance documents addressing the control of pathogens in beef and poultry operations. These guidelines provide best practices for establishments on managing pathogens during pre-harvest, slaughter, chilling, storage, and processing. FSIS’ guidance is focused on assisting small and very small establishments by providing access to scientific and technical support to establish effective HACCP systems. However, the material contained in the guidance documents can be useful for establishments of all sizes.

The recently updated FSIS guidance documents include:

FSIS Industry Guideline for Minimizing the Risk of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in Beef (including Veal) Slaughter Operations. This guidance document provides advice for beef slaughter establishments on:

  • Implementing effective sanitary dressing procedures designed to prevent carcass contamination;
  • Implementing effective decontamination and antimicrobial interventions;
  • Assessing microbial testing results, including results for indicators of process control, at any point during slaughter; and
  • Assessing the effectiveness of an establishments overall HACCP system.

FSIS Industry Guideline for Minimizing the Risk of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in Beef (including Veal) Processing Operations. This guidance document provides advice for beef processing establishments on:

  • Understanding the adulterant status of STEC in beef products;
  • Designing supportable control measures for STEC;
  • Developing ongoing verification measures to ensure that STEC control measures are functioning as intended; and
  • Responding when the HACCP system fails to prevent, or reduce, STEC to below detectable levels.

FSIS Guideline for Controlling Campylobacter in Raw Poultry. This guidance document assists poultry operations in:

  • Identifying and implementing pre- and post-harvest interventions to control Campylobacter as part of their HACCP system; and
  • Utilizing microbial testing results to monitor the performance of the HACCP system and inform the establishment’s decision-making.

FSIS Guideline for Controlling Salmonella in Raw Poultry. This guidance document assists poultry operations in:

  • Identifying and implementing pre- and post-harvest interventions to control Campylobacter as part of their HACCP system ; and
  • Utilizing microbial testing results to monitor the performance of the HACCP system and inform the establishment’s decision-making.

On July 28, 2021, FSIS published FSIS Notice 29-21, “Availability of Four Industry Guidance Documents.” Per Notice 29-21, FSIS inspection program personnel (IPP) will discuss the availability of these new guidance documents with establishment management at the next weekly meeting.

OFW’s USDA attorneys provide its clients with detailed and timely analysis of FSIS issuances and directives, including the above-mentioned guidance documents. If you are interested in receiving these updates, please contact the OFW USDA FSIS attorney practice group.

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