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USDA Extends Comment Period for Salmonella Citizen Petition

  • On January 19, 2020, a Citizen Petition was submitted to the USDA on behalf of Food & Water Watch, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, and others, requesting that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) declare the following Salmonella serotypes as per se adulterants in meat and poultry products:

    • Salmonella Agona, Berta, Blockely, Braenderup, Derby, Dublin, Enteritidis, Hadar, Heidelberg, I 4,[5],12:i:-, Infantis, Javiana, Litchfield, Mbandaka, Mississippi, Montevideo, Muenchen, Newport, Oranienburg, Panama, Poona, Reading, Saintpaul, Sandiego, Schwarzengrund, Senftenberg, Stanley, Thompson, Typhi, and Typhimurium.

  • According to the petitioners, each of the serotypes has a “history associated with either an illness outbreak or a product recall and is proven to be injurious to human health.” Thus, they requested that FSIS take action through interpretive rulemaking on all serotypes jointly or individually, declaring the serotypes to be adulterants within the meaning of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). The original deadline to submit a comment on the Citizen Petition was March 23.

  • However, in response to a March 16 request for extension from the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), the FSIS agreed to make an additional 60 days available for public comments on the petition. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI asked the agency for more time to comment on the petition that “would be one of the most significant policy changes affecting the meat and poultry industry in decades.” Stakeholders may now submit comments until May 22, 2020. As of the date of this blog post, there are approximately 350 comments on the Citizen Petition. 

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