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USDA proposes to amend federal meat inspection regulations

FBR Staff Writer Published 22 January 2018

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with new guidelines aimed at modernizing the way inspections at hog plants are carried out.

The new rules proposed by the department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are part of its efforts to upgrade inspection systems by adopting science-based approaches to food safety.

The USDA plans to revise the federal meat inspection regulations to launch a new voluntary inspection system, named as New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) for market hog slaughter companies.

It also intends to collect additional pathogen sampling for all swine slaughter firms.

For firms that opt into the new inspection system, the proposed rule would mean more number of offline USDA inspection tasks while the FSIS carcass-by-carcass inspection will be continued.

USDA FSIS acting deputy under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg said: “FSIS is excited to continue modernizing inspection practices, while allowing opportunities for industry to innovate and streamline food production.

“There is no single technology or process to address the problem of foodborne illness, but when we focus our inspections on food safety-related tasks, we better protect American families.”

The USDA said that it would also amend the rules that apply to all companies engaged in swine slaughter. It added that the new requirements would ensure that the companies will take measures to keep a check on foodborne illness-causing enteric pathogens.

The proposed new rule would mean that all companies would be needed to take suitable measures to prevent contamination during the entire production process.

The new requirements are expected to ensure that the necessary documentation is available with both the USDA and the firms to cross-check the effectiveness of the measures on a continuous basis.

A 60-day window will be available for feedback, once the new rule is published in the Federal Register, stated USDA.

Image: USDA to modernize pork slaughter inspections. Photo: courtesy of Rob D/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.