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AMS Publishes Final Rule Establishing New Meat and Poultry Equipment Approval Program

Thursday, January 4, 2001

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has initiated a voluntary, fee-for-service program to inspect and certify equipment and utensils used in meat and poultry product processing for sanitary design and cleanability. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on January 5.
AMS has adopted the NSF/3A standard as the basis of their inspection program. The final standard also includes the following provisions which were supported by a joint consortium of AMI, the Packaging and Machinery Manufacturers Institute, the Food Processing and Machinery and Supplies Association and the Meat Industry Suppliers Association:
1. The official USDA logo will be displayed only on equipment approved by USDA, not third party certifiers;
2. Equipment recertification is required only for changes impacting the cleanability or hygenic design of the machine, rather than for changes in design, fabrication process or materials;
3. USDA will provide certification for model lines or series if the only difference is one of scale;
4. AMS will seek comments in advance of the closing of NSF comment periods for changes to NSF/3A equipment standards so AMS can include their comments to the NSF/3A joint committee;
5. The worker safety references included in the draft NSF/3A standard have been deleted in the final standard.
Overall, AMS has done an outstanding job of putting in place a user friendly standard with adequate opportunities for future input.
For more information about the final rule, contact Barry L. Carpenter, Deputy Administrator, Livestock and Seed Program 202-720-5705 or by fax at 202-720-3499. View the final rule at http://www.meatinstitute.org/Template.cfm?Section=EquipmentApproval&NavMenuID=358&template=TaggedContentFile.cfm&NewsID=346


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