Washington, D.C.—To help promote transparency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced it will begin sharing with consumers food safety data from slaughter and processing facilities.

“FSIS’ food safety inspectors collect vast amounts of data at food producing facilities every day, which we analyze on an ongoing basis to detect emerging public health risks and create better policies to prevent foodborne illness,” said Al Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, in a news release. “Consumers want more information about the foods they are purchasing, and sharing these details can give them better insight into food production and inspection, and help them make informed purchasing decisions.”

FSIS also anticipates the release of its new data sharing plan will motivate individual establishments to improve performance and lead to industry-wide improvements in food safety by providing better insights into the strengths and weaknesses of different practices.

The new datasets, after 90 days from publication in theFederal Register, will be published on a quarterly basis on data.govand will include results for “Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli(STEC) and Salmonella in raw, non-intact beef products; results for Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and young turkeys, comminuted poultry, and chicken parts; routine chemical residue testing data in meat and poultry products; and advanced meat recovery testing data.” Results forListeria monocytogenes (Lm) and Salmonella in ready-to-eat (RTE) products and processed egg products will also be released.

Data availability and possible impact on public health are two criteria FSIS will consider to “determine which datasets are best suited for future public release.”

A code will be also be given for each facility and more detailed information will be given by FSIS than what is currently listed in the searchable establishment directory.

Full detail on the framework has been released in theEstablishment-Specific Data Release Plan, which the agency developed “in response to President Obama’s call for increased data sharing and greater transparency under the Open Government Plan by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).”

Posted On WholeFoods Magazine Online, 7/14/2016