Food Safety and Inspection Service Policy for Control of Poultry Contaminated by Digestive Tract Contents: A Review
Journal of Applied Poultry Research
This paper discusses policy changes from 1957 to present that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has made regarding handling of poultry carcasses that were accidentally contaminated by feces or ingesta during slaughter and processing. Since 1957, FSIS has reevaluated its position in light of new scientific evidence on methods for handling contaminated poultry. The FSIS will continue to make scientifically supported changes that are consistent with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
... nd Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. Prior to 1978, contamination was removed solely by knife trimming. In 1978, FSIS changed the regulations to allow reprocessing at special stations away from the main processing line. Several scientific studies demonstrated that the microbial quality of reprocessed product was comparable to carcasses remaining on the main processing line. Since 1996, FSIS has been actively reforming regulations to make them consistent with the Agency's HACCP system regulatory approach to meat, poultry, and egg processing. Control of poultry contamination by digestive tract contents is one of several regulatory standards that have used a visible product standard. The visual absence of feces or ingesta serves as an indirect measure of microbial safety for at least the risk from pathogens likely to be present in visible digestive tract contents. The FSIS strives to base regulatory reform on the best science available. Changes in processing methods, such as reprocessing poultry on the main processing line to remove feces and ingesta, have been allowed because they were shown to improve the microbiological safety of poultry products. Such changes are tested prior to implementation to ensure that they are consistent with the goal of protecting public health.