martes, 15 de mayo de 2012

USDA Announces new safeguards to protect consumers from foodborne illness

Measures will significantly improve the ability of trace contaminated food materials in the supply chain, to act against contaminated products sooner, and to establish the effectiveness of food safety systems. 

On May 2nd, 2012, the USDA announced a series of prevention-based policy measures that will improve protection for consumers from foodborne illness in meat and poultry products.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) intend to implement new traceback measures in order to control pathogens earlier and prevent them from triggering foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. When FSIS receives an indication of contamination through presumptive positive test results for E. coli, the Agency will move quickly to identify the supplier of the product and any processors who received contaminated product from the supplier, once confirmation is received.

The new regulations require establishments to prepare and maintain recall procedures, to notify FSIS within 24 hours that a meat or poultry product that could harm consumers has been shipped into commerce, and to document each reassessment of their hazard control and critical control point (HACCP) system food safety plans.

FSIS, in April 2012, created a document called “Compliance Guideline HACCP Systems Validation” as guidance for plants to establish their HACCP system.This process, called "validation," enables companies to ensure that their food safety systems are effective for preventing foodborne illness. 

FSIS has announced several measures to safeguard the food supply, prevent foodborne illness, and improve consumers' knowledge about the food they eat. Some of these actions include:
  • Performance standards for poultry establishments for continued reductions in the occurrence of pathogens. FSIS estimates that approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised Salmonella standards each year.
  • Zero tolerance policy for six Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serogroups (O26, O103, O45, O111, O121 or O145 ), in raw ground beef. 
  • Test and hold policy that will significantly reduce consumer exposure to unsafe meat products.
  • Labeling requirements that provide better information to consumers about their food by requiring nutrition information for single-ingredient raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped products.
  • Public Health Information System, a modernized, comprehensive database about public health trends and food safety violations at the nearly 6,100 plants FSIS regulates.

Aporte: Eduardo Castillo Franzoy

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