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USDA Announces Proposed Rule to Modernize Swine Inspection

Monday, January 22, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), a voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments. Market hog slaughter establishments that do not choose to operate under the new swine inspection system may continue to operate under their existing inspection system.

For market hog establishments that opt into NSIS, the proposed rule would increase the number of offline inspection activities that FSIS has determined are more effective in ensuring food safety, while continuing 100 percent FSIS inspection of hog carcasses.

The proposed rule also would require all swine slaughter establishments to implement measures to prevent contamination throughout the entire production process in their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs) or other prerequisite programs.

Additionally, the proposal would requiring establishment personnel to sort and remove unfit animals before ante-mortem inspection by FSIS and to trim and identify defects on carcasses and parts before post-mortem inspection by FSIS. Moreover, establishments would be authorized to determine their own line speeds based on their ability to maintain process control for preventing fecal contamination and meeting microbial performance measures during the slaughter operation, among other proposed changes.

Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter expressed support for science-based inspection models stating, “The proposed NSIS has been used as pilot project in five pork plants for 15 years, and it has proven to be a strong inspection model.”

“Those five pilot plants have produced millions of pounds of safe pork,” Carpenter added. “We look forward to working with the agency as it develops a final rule that maintains a strong level of food safety in the most efficient manner.”

There will be a 60-day period for comment once the rule is published in the Federal Register.

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