[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 241 (Wednesday, December 16, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78166-78167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office 
[FR Doc No: 2015-31628]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2014-0034]


Availability of FSIS Compliance Guideline for Controlling 
Salmonella and Campylobacter in Raw Poultry

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and opportunity for comment.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
the availability of and requesting comment on the revised guideline to 
assist poultry establishments in controlling Salmonella and 
Campylobacter in raw poultry. The Agency has revised its guideline to 
provide updated information for establishments to use to control 
pathogens in raw poultry products with the goal of reducing human 
illnesses associated with consuming poultry contaminated with 
Salmonella and Campylobacter. The guideline represents the best 
practice recommendations of FSIS based on scientific and practical 
considerations. This document does not represent regulatory 
requirements. By following this guideline, poultry establishments 
should be able to produce raw poultry products that have less 
contamination with pathogens, including Salmonella and Campylobacter, 
than would otherwise be the case.

DATES: Submit comments on or before February 16, 2016.

ADDRESSES: A downloadable version of the compliance guideline is 
available to view and print at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/Compliance_Guides_Index/index.asp. No hard 
copies of the compliance guideline have been published.
    FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this notice. 
Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the ability to 
type short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or 
attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
    Mail, including CD-ROMs: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 
20250-3700.
    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 
355 E Street SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2014-0034. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to background documents or to comments received, 
go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 
164-A, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel L. Engeljohn, Ph.D., Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development; Telephone: 
(202) 205-0495, or by Fax: (202) 720-2025.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    FSIS is responsible for verifying that the nation's commercial 
supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and 
properly labeled and packaged.
    Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria are among the most frequent 
causes of foodborne illness. These bacteria can reside in the 
intestinal tract of animals, including birds. Salmonella and 
Campylobacter contamination of raw poultry products occurs during 
slaughter operations as well as during the live-animal rearing process 
(e.g., on-farm contamination can coat the exterior of the bird and 
remain attached to the skin). Contamination with pathogens on poultry 
can be minimized through the use of preventative pre-harvest practices, 
with the use of proper sanitary dressing procedures, by maintaining 
sanitary conditions before and during production, and by the 
application of antimicrobial interventions during slaughter and 
thereafter during fabrication of the carcasses into parts and 
comminuted product.
    In 2010, FSIS issued a guideline (third edition) for poultry 
establishments with recommendations on how to identify hazards of 
public health concern when conducting their hazard analysis and how to 
prevent and control these hazards through Hazard Analysis and Critical 
Control Plans (HACCP), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures, or 
other prerequisite programs. FSIS has revised its guideline (fourth 
edition) to provide updated information for establishments to use to 
control pathogens in raw poultry products. FSIS has also revised the 
guideline to include recommendations for establishments regarding 
lotting and sanitary dressing procedures, pre-harvest interventions and 
management practices, antimicrobial interventions during slaughter and 
thereafter during fabrication, and the use of establishment sampling 
results to inform decision

[[Page 78167]]

making. In addition, FSIS revised the guideline to include information 
on prerequisite programs, including how they can fit into the HACCP 
system.
    Furthermore, since issuance of the most recent version of the 
guideline in 2010, there have been several outbreaks associated with 
consumption of raw poultry products, including chicken parts and 
comminuted (including ground) turkey products. In 2011, there were two 
Salmonella outbreaks associated with ground turkey products 
(specifically, turkey burgers and ground turkey) that resulted in a 
total of 148 illnesses and 40 hospitalizations. In 2012 and 2013-2014, 
there were two Salmonella outbreaks associated with consumption of 
chicken parts that together resulted in over 700 illnesses and over 270 
hospitalizations. Also in 2013, a Salmonella outbreak resulted from 
consumption of mechanically separated turkey that was sent to an 
institutional facility. This outbreak resulted in 9 illnesses and 2 
hospitalizations.
    In addition, in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention (CDC) investigated two separate outbreaks of Salmonella 
enteritidis infections attributed to raw, heat treated, stuffed chicken 
products resulted in 20 illnesses (15 from one outbreak, and five from 
the other outbreak). The implicated products were labeled with 
instructions identifying that the product was uncooked (raw) and 
included cooking instructions for preparation. Some case-patients 
reported following the cooking instructions on the label and using a 
food thermometer to confirm that the recommended temperature was 
achieved.
    FSIS analyzed practices of establishments that manufactured product 
associated with these outbreaks and found problems with sanitation, 
intervention use, and the validation of cooking instructions at some or 
all of these establishments. FSIS considered these problems and is 
providing recommendations in the revised guideline specific to these 
issues.
    Pre-harvest contamination can affect the level of Salmonella and 
Campylobacter on FSIS-regulated products. FSIS has updated the pre-
harvest information in the guideline based on recently published 
information. In addition, in response to a recommendation made by the 
U.S. Government Accountability Office,\1\ FSIS updated the guideline to 
include known information on the effectiveness of pre-harvest 
practices. To further inform best practice guidance and to inform other 
Agency activities, FSIS requests comments and data from industry and 
other interested parties regarding pre-harvest pathogen control 
strategies, including information on the effectiveness of pre-harvest 
strategies in reducing pathogen levels in poultry presented for 
slaughter.
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    \1\ Available at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-744.
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    The recently proposed pathogen reduction performance standards \2\ 
for raw chicken parts and NRTE comminuted chicken and turkey are based 
on meeting certain Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) goals--specifically, 
the HP2020 goal to reduce human illnesses from Salmonella by 25 percent 
and Campylobacter by 33 percent \3\ by the year 2020. This guideline 
can assist establishments in meeting these (and existing poultry 
carcass) performance standards, thereby resulting in a reduction in 
human illnesses.
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    \2\ 80 FR 3940; Jan. 16, 2015.
    \3\ Because the prevalence for NRTE comminuted turkey is 
especially low, the highest practical reduction for this product was 
estimated to be 19 percent. Therefore, for this one pathogen-product 
pair, NRTE comminuted turkey and Campylobacter, FSIS proposed a 
reduction less than its stated goal.
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    FSIS encourages establishments to follow this guideline. This 
guideline represents FSIS's current thinking, and FSIS will update it 
as necessary to reflect comments received and any additional 
information that becomes available.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds 
of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual 
orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, 
income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, 
exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to 
discrimination any person in the United States under any program or 
activity conducted by the USDA.
    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program 
Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your 
authorized representative.
    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, 
or email:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of 
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.
    Fax: (202) 690-7442.
    Email: program.intake@usda.gov.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this notice online through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.
    FSIS will also make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and 
stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free 
electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, 
consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals 
who have asked to be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS 
Web page. In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription 
service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food 
safety news and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export 
information to regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add 
or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password 
protect their accounts.

    Done at Washington, DC, on December 11, 2015.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-31628 Filed 12-15-15; 8:45 am]
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