The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is planning to expand its testing in a 5-year strategic plan made public this month.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Strategic Plan 2017-2021 describes plans to increase inspections, enforce tighter food safety regulations and expand processes for evaluating imported food products, specifically meat, poultry and eggs. Along with this plan comes three main goals: protect public health by preventing foodborne illness, modernize inspection systems, policies and the use of scientific approaches, and achieve operational excellence.
What exactly does USDA plan to do over the next 5 years?
- Toughen foodborne pathogen reduction standards
- Increase the number of food businesses where FSIS collects samples from
- Better streamline testing process to reduce duplication
- Update methods for estimating foodborne illnesses, which affects annual data
According to FSIS, large-scale facilities such as retail and warehouse locations, are a priority. Overall, “these updates will provide greater transparency and understanding regarding the pathogens causing the majority of estimated illnesses, facilitating a more detailed assessment of agency progress,” says the FSIS report.
See the full strategic plan at FSIS.USDA.gov.