The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has released a notice informing agency inspection program personnel (IPP) about the continuation of and changes to the Raw Pork Products Sampling Program.

Changes include reducing the total number of sampling tasks assigned to establishments, clarifying the description of primal and subprimal cuts and finished products, describing that IPP are to verify the intended use of raw pork products in the Public Health Information System (PHIS), and clarifying instructions to IPP when the total weight of cut products is greater than 2 pounds (lbs).

The exploratory Raw Pork Products Sampling Program was implemented by FSIS in May 2015 to test for pathogens of public health concern and indicator organisms. FSIS collected and analyzed raw pork products in an interim phase before implementing Phase 2 of the exploratory sampling program, which focused on Salmonella and indicators in both slaughter and processing establishments, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in slaughter establishments only.

FSIS will continue to analyze raw pork product samples for Salmonella under the sampling program. The sampling data will be used to develop future policies designed to reduce the levels of Salmonella in raw pork products.

Specific parameters for the Raw Pork Products Sampling Program, including changes to the program, can be read on FSIS’ website.