Senators Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand said there are no Salmonella performance standards for ground pork or pork parts and there has been no update on standards for pork carcasses in nearly 20 years.
Ground beef Salmonella performance standards are also outdated with no Salmonella standards for beef parts, they wrote in a letter to Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary.
“We were disappointed to see that the Food Safety and Inspection Service did not include the development of beef performance standards as part of its Salmonella Action Plan.
“The department’s ground beef standard is currently set at 7.5%, while the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System reports that 1.1% of Salmonella tests for ground beef in 2011 were positive.
“Foster Farms…was in full compliance with the department’s poultry carcass standards during the time period when it was linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg that caused 634 illnesses in 29 states.”
The senators did praise USDA for the release of proposed poultry performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter.