Changes to the Salmonella Verification Testing Program: Proposed Performance Standards for Salmonella in Raw Ground Beef and Beef Manufacturing Trimmings and Related Agency Verification Procedures
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing and requesting comment on new pathogen reduction performance standards for Salmonella in raw ground beef and beef manufacturing trimmings. The Agency is also announcing how it plans to assess whether establishments producing raw ground beef and/or beef manufacturing trimmings are effectively addressing Salmonella, using a 52-week moving window of FSIS sampling results and other related verification activities. Approximately one year (52 weeks) after the new standards are made final, the Agency plans to post individual establishment performance as either ``meeting'' or ``not meeting'' the pathogen reduction performance standard on the FSIS website, based on the most recent 48 Salmonella sample results. Finally, FSIS is also announcing that it intends to increase Salmonella sampling to once per week in beef establishments that produce greater than 50,000 pounds of raw ground beef and beef manufacturing trimmings per day, so that a sufficient number of Salmonella samples (i.e., 48) are collected to assess these establishments' performance against the new Salmonella performance standards. Note that FSIS will continue to analyze these beef manufacturing trimmings samples for Escherichia coli O517:H7 and applicable non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC); FSIS will continue to analyze these ground beef samples for E. coli O157:H7. Although unlikely with this change, if fewer than 48 samples are collected or analyzed in a 52-week window at an establishment, its status would be reported as ``N/A,'' provided the establishment has two or fewer Salmonella positives in that window. FSIS will consider comments received on this notice before announcing the final performance standards in the Federal Register and assessing whether establishments meet them.