WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) expects to request comments on Salmonella and Campylobacter standards for chicken parts by the end of fiscal 2014, according to a letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. FSIS is also researching possible performance standards for Campylobacter for comminuted poultry.

Vilsack wrote the letter in response to Feinstein, Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand who expressed concerns about food-safety standards for poultry products. The legislators wrote a letter to Vilsack in April to urge USDA to develop improved standards to reduce levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.

"The agency is analyzing the data to determine the appropriate performance standards to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses from these products," Vilsack wrote.

"FSIS is working to ensure alignment with the public health objectives outlined in the Healthy People 2020 Initiative, and the agency's own strategic goals as it develops performance standards for Salmonella and for Campylobacter."