USDA seeks comments on plans to modernize swine inspection
Spokespersons for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) made the rounds at the 2018 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta to drum up support for proposed rules to modernize carcass inspections at swine slaughterhouses and increase line speeds.
USDA is proposing to amend the federal meat-inspection regulations to establish a new voluntary inspection system for slaughterhouses called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS). At the same time, the agency would require additional pathogen sampling for all swine-slaughter establishments.
Basically, the proposal calls for personnel at slaughterhouses, not USDA inspectors, to take the lead on evaluating live animals entering the plant and also doing early-stage, post-mortem inspections, Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy under secretary for food safety, told Pig Health Today.
For slaughterhouses that opt into NSIS, the proposed rule would increase the number of offline USDA inspection tasks, while continuing 100% FSIS carcass-by-carcass inspection.
In addition, the new system would free up USDA personnel to do more food-safety inspections in other areas of the plant “that have direct impact on food safety,” Rottenberg added.
According to Paul Kiecker, acting administrator for FSIS, USDA would also amend the regulations that apply to all establishments that slaughter swine.
The new requirements would ensure that establishments implement measures to control enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness, he told Pig Health Today.
Specifically, all swine-slaughter establishments would be required to implement appropriate 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.
The new requirements would ensure that both USDA and the establishment have the documentation they need to verify the effectiveness of these measures on an ongoing basis.
To view the proposed rule and information on how to comment on the rule, visit the FSIS website at fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/proposed-rules.