Like other federal food safety and public health agencies, FSIS engages in major federal performance measurement initiatives, which allows the Agency to set meaningful goals to achieve the Agency's intended outcomes. Two of the initiatives FSIS has been involved with over the past several years are listed below.
Healthy People 2010 and 2020 Initiatives
The Healthy People Initiative created a set of health objectives for the Nation to achieve over a decade. It can be used by many different people, States, communities, professional organizations, and others to help them develop programs to improve health. The Healthy People 2010 effort built on initiatives pursued over the past two decades. The 1979 Surgeon General's Report, Healthy People, and Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives both established national health objectives and served as the basis for the development of State and community plans.
Like its predecessors, Healthy People 2010 was developed through a broad consultation process, built on the best scientific knowledge and designed to measure programs over time. Food safety is a key component of the Healthy People Initiative, with an entire focus area dedicated to joint USDA, FDA and CDC efforts to reduce foodborne illnesses in the population, such as Salmonella. Recently, goals and objectives for the Healthy People 2020 Initiative were released.
Food Safety Working Group Measures
On March 14, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group (FSWG) to advise him on how to upgrade the U.S. food safety system. The Working Group, chaired by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Agriculture, recommended a new, public health-focused approach to food safety based on three core principles:
- prioritizing prevention;
- strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and
- improving response and recovery.
FSIS, the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) and CDC have worked jointly to develop food safety metrics based on these three core principles that represent federal food safety activities along the food supply chain using a farm-to-table framework. This framework allows for agencies to demonstrate the need for a coordinated approach to ensure food safety, the identification of data gaps to measure the impact of food safety activities, and helps Agencies like FSIS to target areas in the farm-to-table continuum where more attention is needed.
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FSIS Performance Measurement—Key Metrics
In the FSIS Strategic Plan for 2011-2016, FSIS identified a number of key performance measures that allow the Agency to assess its performance in a variety of critical areas. These key performance measures are described below.
Percentage of broiler establishments passing the new carcass Salmonella verification testing
Broiler carcasses represent the raw class of food product with the greatest potential to cause exposure of the public to Salmonella. In 2010, FSIS proposed a new performance standard for Salmonella in broiler carcasses based on a recent baseline study. Failure to meet this new standard serves as a proxy for heightened exposure potential to the public. FSIS identifies performance standards for Salmonella in up to eight classes of raw products. These standards are designed to cause industry to control for Salmonella and reduce the potential for human exposure. The best available projection is that 88 percent of establishments will have passed the new performance standard. By 2016, FSIS expects to take steps to increase the number of establishments passing the new standard to 95 percent, thereby further decreasing exposure of the public to Salmonella and contributing to fewer foodborne illnesses.
All Illness Measure
The FSIS All Illness Measure provides an estimate of the total number of Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes foodborne illnesses associated with FSIS regulated meat, poultry, and processed egg products. This measure was developing using a variety of data sources, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) foodborne illness and outbreak data, as well as the foodborne illness attribution methods described at www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Data_Reporting/index.asp.
Food Defense Measure
FSIS developed a performance measure for food defense with the goal of increasing the number of establishments with a functional food defense plan. Food defense plans are written procedures that establishments should follow to protect the food supply from intentional contamination with chemicals, biological agents, or other harmful substances.
Food defense plans are defined, in part, in FSIS Directive 5420.1 Rev. 6 and further defined in the " Elements of a Food Defense Plan" guidance document available on the FSIS website at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/pdf/
To be considered functional, a food defense plan must have four elements:
FSIS considers these plans to be important measures for preventing intentional product adulteration.
- the plan is written;
- the facility has measures in place that address inside security, outside security, personnel security, and incident response security;
- the food defense measures are periodically tested (e.g., testing locks, conducting periodic perimeter searches); and
- the facility has reviewed the plan in the last year.
The Agency has developed guidance materials to assist in the development of plans and fostering understanding of what constitutes a food defense plan for establishments. This performance metric will be measured via the F SIS Food Defense Plan survey, which is conducted annually and gathers data about industry's voluntary adoption of food defense plans.
Percentage of slaughter plants identified during District Veterinary Medical Specialist (DVMS) humane handling verification visits as having an effective systematic approach to humane handling (all four elements of a systematic approach implemented) .
All official livestock slaughter establishments are required to handle and slaughter livestock using humane methods. Establishments need to implement and maintain a systematic approach to humane handling and slaughter to best assure compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. A well-designed and implemented systematic approach to humane handling includes at least four features. These include:
- conducting an initial assessment of locations where livestock are handled in connection with slaughter;
- designing facilities and on-going standard 17 FSIS Strategic Plan FY 2011-2016 handling procedures that minimize excitement, discomfort, or accidental injury to livestock;
- conducting periodic evaluations of the humane handling methods; and
- identifying and implementing corrective measures when necessary.
This performance measure will capture the extent to which industry is implementing a systematic approach to humane handling. The performance measure will also include an Agency assessment as to the effectiveness of these programs in ensuring that all livestock are handled and slaughtered in a humane manner for the entire time that they are at the slaughter establishment.
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Strategic Data Analysis Planning
FSIS established a strategic goal to enhance the development and maintenance of an integrated and robust data collection and analysis system to verify the effectiveness and efficiency of Agency programs. FSIS heavily relies on data to promote proactive decisions affecting food safety and public health. As a result, FSIS has strengthened both its data collection and analysis activities to ensure valid, timely data is collected, carefully analyzed, and continually reported in a user-friendly manner. The reports listed below provide an overview of FSIS' data analysis capabilities, as well as a thorough description of future data analysis efforts, particularly in light of the full implementation of the Public Health Information System (PHIS).
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