Proposed regulations establishing performance standards to be used by the food industry in producing ready-to-eat meat and poultry products “will require careful review to ensure that they truly enhance food safety,” according to the National Food Processors Association (NFPA).

“Because of the scope of this rule and the broad variety of foods it covers, NFPA will need time to review and then respond to these proposed regulations,” said Dr. Rhona Applebaum, NFPA’s Executive Vice President for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs.  “In the past, NFPA has been supportive of performance standards as opposed to ‘command and control’ regulations, but we will need to study this proposal further; as with all complex regulatory proposals, the details will dictate our position.”

Dr. Applebaum noted that “NFPA shares the Administration’s commitment to further enhancing the safety of our nation’s food supply.  While the existing food safety system has been highly effective, we believe that further progress can be made in safeguarding the food production system, and controlling pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7.  Food safety is based on sound science, and science is dynamic; we must continue our progress.”

However, Dr. Applebaum expressed concern about the sweeping nature of the proposed regulations and changes they could make to existing regulations.  “While this proposed rule has been described as a ‘Listeria performance standards’ regulation, in reality it establishes performance standards for a broad range of pathogens,” she pointed out.  “Moreover, it applies to a variety of processing techniques, including low-acid canned foods.  This is of concern to NFPA; we believe that the current food safety standards for canned foods not only have worked extremely well, but also are well understood by industry and inspectors.  It is important that we not make changes that undermine already effective food safety programs.”

Dr. Applebaum concluded that “NFPA will study these proposed regulations closely, and will respond accordingly.  We look forward to working with USDA on this issue – and toward continuing our nation’s forward progress on food safety.”

NFPA is the voice of the $460 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs. 

For more information on this issue, contact Timothy Willard, NFPA’s Vice President of Communications, at (202) 637-8060, or visit NFPA’s Website at