The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems; Final Rule (the PR/HACCP rule) on 25 July 1996. To verify that industry PR/HACCP systems are effective in controlling the contamination of raw meat and poultry products with human disease–causing bacteria, this rule sets product-specific Salmonella performance standards that must be met by slaughter establishments and establishments producing raw ground products. These performance standards are based on the prevalence of Salmonella as determined from the FSIS's nationwide microbial baseline studies and are expressed in terms of the maximum number of Salmonella-positive samples that are allowed in a given sample set. From 26 January 1998 through 31 December 2000, federal inspectors collected 98,204 samples and 1,502 completed sample sets for Salmonella analysis from large, small, and very small establishments that produced at least one of seven raw meat and poultry products: broilers, market hogs, cows and bulls, steers and heifers, ground beef, ground chicken, and ground turkey. Salmonella prevalence in most of the product categories was lower after the implementation of PR/HACCP than in pre-PR/HACCP baseline studies and surveys conducted by the FSIS. The results of 3 years of testing at establishments of all sizes combined show that >80% of the sample sets met the following Salmonella prevalence performance standards: 20.0% for broilers, 8.7% for market hogs, 2.7% for cows and bulls, 1.0% for steers and heifers, 7.5% for ground beef, 44.6% for ground chicken, and 49.9% for ground turkey. The decreased Salmonella prevalences may partly reflect industry improvements, such as improved process control, incorporation of antimicrobial interventions, and increased microbial-process control monitoring, in conjunction with PR/HACCP implementation.

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