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Science-Based, Modern Inspection Approaches Are Step in the Right Direction, American Meat Institute Says

Friday, January 20, 2012

Washington, DC, January 20, 2012 – Science-based, modern inspection approaches such as the one proposed today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are a step in the right direction, according to the American Meat Institute (AMI). 

AMI’s statement followed the unveiling of a proposed rule that 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.”

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