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APHIS Announces Plans to Change Slaughter Plant Disease Surveillance Program

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced it would seek mandatory authority to collect blood and tissue samples in slaughter plants that receive livestock moved in interstate commerce. APHIS intends to published a proposed rule that would require plants to enter into an agreement to permit APHIS personnel or their designees to collect samples for disease surveillance. APHIS said it can no longer rely on voluntary cooperation from slaughter plants because some plants have refused to voluntarily allow sample collection.

The proposed rule requires plants to provide a safe workplace for collecting samples. Adequate light, heat, floor space and hand washing facilities must be provided by the slaughter facility. The proposal would not require plant personnel to collect the samples. APHIS estimates the economic impact on the industry would be minimal since most plants currently allow sample collection on a voluntary basis. Publication date for the proposed rule appears to be several months away. Interested parties will be afforded an opportunity to comment on the proposal.

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