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AMS Equipment Approval Program Up and Running

Thursday, February 1, 2001

AMS's new meat and poultry equipment certification program, launched January 8th is off to a flying start, according to an AMS official.
"We are extremely pleased with the volume of certification service applications we have received so far. We already have our reviewers in the field with manufacturers. We are even more pleased by the number of telephone inquiries we have received from both manufacturers and meat processors," commented Tracy Schonrock, head of the AMS certification service.
Once a mandatory program, AMS developed a voluntary, user-fee funded equipment certification program under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. The agency discontinued the 22-year-old mandatory prior approval of equipment and utensils in 1997 in an effort to remove conflicting regulations when HACCP was introduced industrywide. The agency also wished to provide federally inspected establishments with the flexibility to use equipment and utensils designed in the manner they deemed would best maintain a sanitary environment for food production without having to seek prior approval. After the program was discontinued, livestock and poultry product producers expressed a desire to either continue the FSIS program or develop a new program.
The new AMS program offers a voluntary, third-party review of the cleanability and sanitation features of equipment used in the processing of meat and poultry processing products. For more information on this service, contact Schonrock at 202-690-0530.

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