A new USDA study finds that management-determined actions account for about two-thirds of the reduction in meat samples testing positive for pathogens. By contrast, process regulations accounted for about a third of the reduction of samples testing positive.

The report notes that the current level of food safety found in U.S. meat and poultry products is a result of both government regulations and management-determined actions motivated by market incentives, but little was known about the relative contributions of each to food-safety process control. The report helps fill that knowledge void by examining the impact of food-safety process regulations and management-determined actions as measured by the share of samples testing positive for Salmonella species in a testing program conducted by FSIS. The findings provide lessons for the development of new regulatory approaches to food-safety process control.

The study found that the importance of process regulation varied across plants, accounting for more than half of all food-safety process control for about a quarter of the plants and for the entire food-safety process-control system of some plants. These results suggest that both process regulation and management-determined actions play vital roles in meat and poultry food-safety process control. Read the full report.