This month,  the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) began implementing the next phase of its Raw Pork Products Exploratory Sampling Program (RPPESP).

In this current phase, FSIS laboratories are now being used, as opposed to the former use of contracted labs. Also, inspection program personnel at facilities that produce raw pork product are expected to continue sampling pork products for Salmonella--data that will be collected by RPPESP, in addition to findings on other pathogens in pork products.

This phase also includes new instructions from FSIS regarding how inspection program personnel should schedule samples, request sample supplies, their sampling techniques, and questions they should be asking for each sample collected.

RPPESP includes pork from retail as well as from slaughter and meat processing facilities.