A broad range of consumer groups and businesses are asking U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to modernize poultry safety regulation through science-based reforms.
Joining the consumer groups in penning the letter are also foodborne illness survivors, poultry industry leaders, academic scientists, and other food safety leaders. Participating companies include Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Butterball, and Wayne Farms, and participating groups include Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Reports, Stop Foodborne Illness, and the Consumer Federation of America.
The letters asks USDA to implement new poultry food safety standards because the current methods are "broken."
"While progress on reducing foodborne illness has been at a standstill, scientific knowledge of Salmonella has greatly increased and recognized best practices for Campylobacter and other pathogens have advanced. Science tells us that current performance standards do not effectively target the particular types of Salmonella and the levels of bacteria that pose the greatest risks of illness, and the overall regulatory framework does not adequately harness modern tools for preventing and verifying control of the bacteria that are making people sick," the letter explains.
The letter also asks for poultry food safety standards that are “objective, risk-based, achievable, enforceable, and flexible” enough to adapt to science, which is constantly evolving.
See the full letter here.