NCC today filed comments to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) opposing a petition filed in late January that requested FSIS declare dozens of Salmonella strains as adulterants.

Food safety attorney Bill Marler, along with groups such as Food & Water Watch and the Consumer Federation of America, filed a petition urging FSIS to issue an interpretive rule declaring over 30 serotypes of Salmonella as adulterants within the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

The petition comes nine years after the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed its own petition requesting that FSIS declare four strains of Salmonella as adulterants. The petition was denied by FSIS. CSPI sued FSIS, but within 60 business days asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the case “without prejudice.” The court dismissed the case.

“At a fundamental level, NCC believes that all regulatory actions related to food safety, including performance standards, must be lawful and based in sound science,” NCC’s comments said. “The actions requested in the Petition are neither.”

“Instead of wasting resources on unsound and impractical efforts to address individual strains, NCC encourages FSIS to continue following a broad-based approach of using data-driven and scientifically-sound parameters to drive down levels of all Salmonella throughout the production process.”

NCC further noted that the petition requests a procedurally improper change “to longstanding and unequivocal Agency policy that would contradict court dating back decades.”

The comments noted the effectiveness of cooking chicken to kill Salmonella, the ongoing concerted effort by FSIS to drive down Salmonella rates that has been enormously successful, and numerous legal and procedural problems inherent to the petition.

NCC’s full comments can be found here.