USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) ensures that our nation’s meat, poultry and processed egg supply is wholesome, safe and properly labeled. Through prevention-based policies and practices USDA is meeting the foodborne challenges of the 21st century head on and using science to craft the best ways forward.
USDA expects to prevent as many as 25,000 foodborne illnesses annually thanks to tougher standards set for Salmonella and new standards for Campylobacter which will reduce the occurrence of these pathogens in poultry.
Implementation of a “test and hold” policy in December 2012 prevents the recall of unsafe foods. Facilities are now required to hold product until microbiological testing can determine it is safe to release meat, poultry and egg products into commerce. This policy will significantly reduce consumer exposure to unsafe meat products. The measure would have prevented 44 recalls of unsafe foods between 2007 and 2009.
USDA continues to enhance the Public Health Information System, a modernized, comprehensive database that allows the agency to identify public health trends and food safety violations more effectively at the nearly 6,200 plants where the Food Safety and Inspection Service ensures the wholesomeness of the products produced.
USDA began testing additional components of ground beef, including bench trim, and issued new instructions to employees asking that they verify that plants follow sanitary practices in processing beef carcasses. And we issued consolidated, more effective field instructions on how to inspect for E. coli O157:H7 contamination.
Learn how to Report a Problem with Food and what information to have available.