USDA Starts Pork Pathogen Sampling

USDA has issued a notice dated April 13 that outlines sampling protocols for salmonella as part of the nationwide raw pork products exploratory sampling project (RPPESP), which was announced in January. [Source:, By Rita Jane Gabbett on 4/13/2015]

The agency's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is implementing exploratory sampling of raw pork products for pathogens of public health concern, as well as for indicator organisms. The FSIS notice provides instructions to inspectors on how to update the establishment profile to include additional product groups, so eventually all eligible pork products will likely be subject to sampling.

FSIS will begin the RPPESP to include product groups that are in the USDA's Public Health Information System (PHIS) establishment profiles. All establishments that produce raw pork products with an average daily production volume of greater than 1,000 pounds are eligible for sampling.

Products sampled include bone-in, boneless and other intact cuts, ground pork, mechanically separated, advanced meat recovery products, sausages, patties and other formed, comminuted and non-intact products.

Not eligible for sampling will be product that will receive full lethality treatment at a federally inspected establishment, provided that the establishment’s hazard analysis and flow chart show that the product is intended for such a use.

Examples of full lethality treatments other than cooking can include high-pressure processing and irradiation, provided that the establishment has supporting documentation that shows that the treatment achieves a 5-log reduction for salmonella, and that the establishment applies the treatment in a manner that is consistent with its critical operational parameters.

Ineligible products include carcasses, primals, subprimals, edible offal, head meat, cheek meat and pork trimmings.