USDA compliance guide to help reduce foodborne illness

April 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) is providing a set of draft guidelines to help small and very small meat and poultry manufacturers reduce harmful bacteria in ready-to-eat foods. This guide sets out standard regulatory procedures and will help establishments understand how best to operate to ensure a safer quality product.

"The prevention of foodborne illness is our top priority," said Al Almanza, Administrator of FSIS. "These guidelines spell out FSIS' recommended best practices when it comes to producing food items that consumers usually do not cook before eating. Our goal is to help industry apply some of the recent lessons we have learned so they can prevent future problems, resulting in safer ready-to-eat food for consumers."

In light of several illness-related recalls in 2010, FSIS has improved guidelines for ready-to-eat meat and poultry products with special emphasis on the causes of these recalls. In some instances, pathogens were introduced to the products after they had undergone processing. This compliance guide illustrates measures to help prevent contamination in these types of situations, such as the application of a spice or sauce to products after cooking or curing.
The draft guide does not represent new requirements for the meat and poultry industry but will assist small and very small manufacturers in meeting current FSIS regulations. FSIS welcomes public comments to improve the document's content, readability, applicability, and accessibility. FSIS will accept comments for 60 days and will then update the document in response to suggestions. Comments may be submitted through www.regulations.gov.

Guidelines (pdf)

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