UPDATE: UDSA’s revised inspection protocol

13-03-2007 | | |

The new USDA risk-based inspection system in scheduled to start April at 30.

The new policy is expected to result in fewer inspections at plants with lower risks and better records for handling meat and poultry. Inspections at meat, poultry and egg processing plants, to be carried out by the USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS).
However, the American Meat Institute (AMI) termed the decision a “hasty rollout” of the program. AMI President, J. Patrick Boyle, urged the USDA to slow the process down, solicit additional input and make participation voluntary. Boyle feels that without affirmative support from the USDA inspectors union, consumer organizations and participating meat and poultry companies, the program could unnecessarily jeopardize consumer confidence in a meat and poultry supply that has improved its safety profile dramatically over the last decade.
On the other side, the Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association views the plan as a “step forward to creating a more effective and efficient inspection system.” The National Chicken Council noted that it has worked with USDA in development of the program and “generally support the direction the agency is headed.”
While FSIS will continue daily inspections of all processing plants, they will no longer treat every plant like every other plant in terms of its adverse public health potential. Under the new risk-based program, FSIS personnel will perform inspection tasks based on an objective measurement of a plant’s inspection track record and the relative risk of what is produced. In so doing, FSIS will have the ability to shift resources as needed to more proactively protect the public from foodborne illness from meat, poultry and egg products.