FSIS proposes to eliminate trichinae control requirements it deems unnecessary.

  • Trichinella is a parasitic worm that can infect humans and other animals.  Although relatively few cases of human infection are reported each year, swine are known to be the primary source of such infections.  In 2001, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed to establish performance standards for all ready-to-eat (RTE) and all partially heat-treated meat and poultry products.   The proposed performance standards included both levels of pathogen reduction and limits on pathogen growth that official meat and poultry establishments would be required to meet in the production of these products.
  • FSIS recently published a supplement to the proposed rule that would eliminate regulatory provisions for the prescribed treatment of pork and pork products, thus providing establishments with the flexibility to decide whether and how to treat products to eliminate trichinae.  According to the rule supplement, many establishments producing pork already address trichinae in their hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plans or otherwise.  FSIS has found that the risk for Trichinella infection has decreased based on the industry’s adherence to HACCP guidelines.
  • In addition to the Trichinella-specific change above, FSIS proposes to consolidate other regulations on thermally processed, commercially sterile meat and poultry products and to make other changes that will streamline and clarify the regulations.  Because of the length of time that has elapsed since publication of the original proposal, FSIS is inviting comments on the supplemental proposal until May 27.