Small-Scale Meat Processors Have Much to Lose if USDA Changes Its Salmonella Policy

 

FARFA recently helped organize a roundtable in Texas with USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), for small-scale meat processors and the producers who rely on them. The 3-hour discussion with USDA-FSIS officials covered topics ranging from policy changes that are under consideration to label claims, humane animal treatment provisions, and inspection challenges.

But the topic that generated the most heat was the salmonella “performance standard” for poultry processors. This USDA policy has already caused many small-scale poultry processors around the country to shut down. The staff’s comments at the roundtable pointed to more problems to come, but also revealed potential opportunities to effect change.

To provide some background: The FDA has a protocol that requires a series of tests for salmonella at poultry processors. Because salmonella is not an “adulterant” under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, these tests aren’t designed to identify meat that would make people sick from these bacteria.…

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