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FSIS Proposes Modernization Of Poultry Inspection System

Friday, January 20, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a modernization of young chicken and turkey slaughter inspection.

A proposed rule unveiled today would make the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) available to the poultry industry.  The proposal, if finalized, will build upon the success of a longstanding HIMP pilot program, now in place in more than two dozen plants in the country.  Data reveal that plants using HIMP have a lower rate of Salmonella on fresh products, which suggests that the approach is at least as good as the traditional approach to poultry inspection used in non-HIMP plants.

HIMP focuses inspectors’ time and attention on food safety issues and makes quality checks, previously the inspector’s responsibility, the plant’s responsibility with oversight from inspectors, who are present continuously.  Under the current system, USDA inspectors are responsible for inspecting both food safety and quality issues.

“As new research expands our ability to respond to food safety issues, it is essential that we embrace new inspection approaches that keep pace with that knowledge,” said AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges.  “While our knowledge has grown exponentially in the last two decades, there have been no major changes to our federal poultry inspection system during this period.  We commend USDA for embracing science and we look forward to working with them as they finalize the rule and implement this new approach.”

FSIS will continue to conduct on-line carcass-by-carcass inspection as mandated by law.

The proposal was posted today on the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_%26_policies/Proposed_Rules/index.asp and soon will publish in the Federal Register. The comment period will end 90 days after the proposal publishes in the Federal Register and comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/, or by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, OPPD, RIMD, Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza III, Room 8-164, 355 E Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-3221.  All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number, which will be assigned when it is published in the Federal Register.

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