USDA announced it will continue Salmonella testing in packing plants, but that results will not be used as an indicator of plant sanitation.

The announcement came after a ruling in the Supreme Beef Processors v. USDA, that stated the Salmonella-Performance Standard cannot be used as measure of plant sanitation and that failure to meet the standard is not grounds for plant closure. In a release USDA Secretary Ann Veneman stressed that USDA retains the authority to close plants for food safety violations to prevent unwholesome meat and poultry from entering commerce.

Reactions have varied, with the American Meat Institute applauding the promise to “conduct a comprehensive review of current safety regulations and work with interested parties to determine if science-based changes are necessary to strengthen the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system and other food safety programs.”

On the other hand, consumer groups, several Senators and former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman are calling upon USDA to seek the legislative authority necessary to close plants for failing the performance standard.

American Meat Institute