Remco is proud to have participated in the USDA-FSIS virtual public meeting on Salmonella. The forum discussed the agency’s Salmonella reduction efforts through science-based, data-driven, and innovative strategies that ensure the safety of meat, poultry, egg products, catfish, and siluriformes. The meeting was attended by over 650 people from across the globe in government, academia, food processing, and suppliers.
Salmonella is a bacterial pathogen commonly found in contaminated food, water, and environmental surfaces. According to CDC estimates, Salmonella causes about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the U.S. every year. Proper handling of raw carcasses and finished products, following validated cooking protocols, cleaning and sanitizing equipment and surfaces, and practicing safe food handling practices are some of the established key pathogen control interventions that could reduce those numbers.
Some key highlights covered in the public meeting discussion are as follows:
- Healthy People 2020 Goal on reducing Salmonellosis transmitted through food is now far from being met. In response to helping meet these targets by 2030, FSIS has released its Roadmap to Reducing Salmonella – Driving Change through Science-based Policy. Through this blueprint, FSIS intends to lead with new and existing scientific research, build the necessary relationships, and influence behavior changes within the supply chain in order to positively impact pathogen reduction.
- Over 60% of Salmonella-related illnesses are related to FDA-regulated products, especially fruits and seeded vegetables. As part of the resolution, the FDA has released new protocols for agricultural water quality, testing, and treatment. On a related note, the agency has also proposed the Food Traceability Rule, which should also help prevent future outbreaks by quickly identifying the source of contamination for high-risk foods.
- The recent COVID-19 pandemic may have significantly shifted surveillance priorities for the CDC, but Salmonella is still on their radar. Whole genome sequencing as a detection tool should be able to help identify recurring, emerging, and persistent Salmonella strains, which may then be controlled using targeted prevention strategies.
- Over the years, the inclusion of Salmonella Performance Standards ( as one of the metrics used by FSIS to verify process control in meat and poultry slaughter and process establishments that produce certain classes of products) into HACCP has helped reduce product contamination rates in FSIS-regulated establishments. However, Salmonellosis incidences have not significantly gone down. Therefore, more collaboration with agencies and a multi-sectoral approach that covers farm-to-fork, with emphasis on the retail stores and consumer education outreach will be required. There should also be a greater focus on pre-slaughter control interventions e.g. implementing better animal husbandry standards.
Close to 40 participants provided oral comments at the meeting, and Remco is grateful to have participated in the session. Interested parties can still submit written comments on the issue on or before Oct. 16, 2020 at the regulations.gov portal.
Remco supports FSIS’s Salmonella Reduction policies, programs, initiatives, and efforts by supplying high-quality, durable, FDA-compliant, and hygienically-designed cleaning and material handling tools – such as brushes, squeegees, scoops, and many more – necessary for maintaining sanitary conditions in FSIS-regulated establishments, and other hygiene-sensitive facilities. Moreover, our color-coded tools perfectly align to an establishment’s hygienic zoning approach required to prevent product cross-contamination.
- FSIS Public meeting: Salmonella – State of Science, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ba43de9a-e418-4399-855b-fd6058f51747/2020-0025.htm?MOD=AJPERES
- CDC Salmonella estimates, https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html
- FSIS Roadmap to Reducing Salmonella, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/388d5b27-b821-42ba-a717-526f3bc68b4a/FSISRoadmaptoReducingSalmonella.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
- FSMA Proposed Rule for Food Traceability, https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/fsma-proposed-rule-food-traceability
- CDC, Whole genome Sequencing, https://www.cdc.gov/pulsenet/pathogens/wgs.html
- Pathogen Reduction – Salmonella and Campylobacter, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/b0790997-2e74-48bf-9799-85814bac9ceb/28_IM_PR_Sal_Campy.pdf?MOD=AJPERES#:~:text=The%20Salmonella%20and%20Campylobacter%20performance%20standards%20apply%20to%20the%20establishment’s,grinding%20process%20in%20limiting%20contamination.
- Public Comment Portal on Meeting: Salmonella – State of the Science, https://beta.regulations.gov/document/FSIS-2020-0025-0001