|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Pathogen Reduction/HACCP & HACCP Implementation
January 1, 2001 through March 31, 2001
This is the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Quarterly Regulatory and Enforcement Report. The report provides a summary of the regulatory and enforcement actions, including those under the Pathogen Reduction/HACCP regulations, FSIS has taken to ensure that products that reach consumers are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. Although this report focuses on regulatory and enforcement actions taken, it is important to recognize that this is only one aspect of the Agency's work. The Agency's main purpose is to protect public health by achieving compliance with laws and regulations.
The report provides a summary of the regulatory and enforcement actions, including those under the Pathogen Reduction/HACCP regulations, FSIS has taken to ensure that products that reach consumers are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. FSIS inspects products produced in over 6,000 meat, poultry, and egg product plants. Since January 1998, approximately 300 large plants (those employing 500 or more employees) have been operating HACCP Systems with FSIS regulatory oversight. On January 25, 1999, approximately 2,300 small plants (those employing 10 or more, but fewer than 500 employees) began HACCP implementation. On January 25, 2000, approximately 3,400 very small plants (those employing fewer than 10 employees or with annual sales of less than $2.5 million) began HACCP implementation.
Publication of this information is another step in the Agency's commitment to openness and transparency in its work to protect the public from adulterated or misbranded meat, poultry, and egg products.
The report is presented in sections that correspond with the category of action. Activities reported within the categories are either pending or experienced new activity during the reporting period. FSIS also coordinated administrative actions, where regulatory or other authorities were applied in inspected plants, and managed USDA participation in criminal cases pending in Federal courts. These actions, along with the thousands of inspections made each day in plants throughout the country, form strong underpinnings for promoting compliance with food safety laws. Each section of this report is described and reported in more detail as follows:
FSIS ENFORCEMENT PROCESSES
NONCOMPLIANCE REPORTS AND APPEALS
PRODUCT CONTROL ACTIONS
LETTERS OF WARNING
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is charged with ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. FSIS, in cooperation with state counterparts, inspects, monitors, and verifies the proper processing, handling, and labeling of meat and poultry products from the delivery of animals to the slaughterhouse to when the products reach consumers. FSIS, in cooperation with FDA and the states, provides similar coverage for egg products – the processed whole egg ingredients used in manufacturing other foods. (More information concerning egg products inspection and enforcement is provided in the FSIS publication "Focus on Egg Products" which can be accessed at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/eggprod.htm. This regulatory oversight generally reflects compliance by the large majority of businesses. However, if FSIS detects problems at any step along the way, it can use a number of product control and enforcement measures to protect consumers.
USDA has traditionally focused much of its effort on the plants that slaughter food animals and process products. USDA ensures that products at these establishments are produced in a sanitary environment in which inspectors or plant employees identify and eliminate potential food safety hazards. These establishments must apply for a grant of inspection from FSIS and demonstrate the ability to meet certain requirements for producing safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled food products. Requirements include meeting sanitation, facility, and operational standards and, through new requirements now being implemented, having preventive systems in place to ensure the production of safe and unadulterated food. Products from official establishments are labeled with the mark of inspection, indicating that they have been inspected and passed by USDA and can be sold in interstate commerce.
FSIS uses Compliance Officers throughout the chain of distribution to detect and detain potentially hazardous foods in commerce to prevent their consumption and to investigate violations of law. Even if products are produced under conditions that are safe and sanitary, abuse on the way to the consumer, for example, if transported in trucks that are too warm or if exposed to contamination, can result in product that can cause illness or injury.
FSIS also works closely with USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), which assists FSIS in pursuing complex criminal cases. In addition, many state and local jurisdictions have enforcement authorities that apply to USDA regulated products. FSIS cooperates with these other jurisdictions in investigations and case presentations. FSIS also participates with OIG and the U.S. Department of Justice in monitoring conditions of probation orders and pretrial diversion agreements developed to resolve cases.
In January 1997, FSIS began implementing new requirements in plants that produce meat and poultry. New regulations, entitled “Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems,” require that federally inspected meat and poultry plants: (1) develop and implement a preventive HACCP plan; (2) develop and implement Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP’s); (3) collect and analyze samples for the presence of generic E. coli, and record results; and (4) meet Salmonella performance standard requirements. These new requirements are designed to help target and reduce foodborne pathogens.
This report provides a summary of the regulatory and enforcement actions, including actions that address the Pathogen Reduction/HACCP regulatory requirements, FSIS has taken to ensure that products that reach consumers are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. The Agency recognizes that this report is a snapshot in time of a dynamic process. Some information will be out-of-date by the time this report is published. For example, many matters shown as under appeal will have been resolved by the time this report is published. Other actions could be appealed or closed after this reporting period. This information will be updated on a quarterly basis and made available to the public through future reports.
FSIS inspection program personnel perform thousands of inspection tasks and procedures each day to determine whether or not inspected plants are in compliance with regulatory requirements. Each time inspection program personnel make a non-compliance determination they complete a report explaining the nature of the regulatory action. They notify plant managers of problems by a written Noncompliance Report (NR).
NRs document noncompliance determinations that occur in the plant’s sanitation and other controls and notify the plant that it must take action to remedy a problem and prevent its recurrence. If this is done, the plant will continue to operate without interruption. Problems reported on NRs vary from minor labeling discrepancies to serious breakdowns in food safety controls. When deficiencies occur repeatedly or when the plant fails to prevent adulterated product from being shipped, FSIS takes action to control products and may take an action to withhold or suspend inspection.
Table 1a provides numbers of NRs issued by FSIS inspection personnel. The NR’s referenced in Table 1a were issued between January 1, 2001 to March 31, 2001. During this period, FSIS performed 1,400,271 inspection tasks at HACCP plants. Table 1b shows the number of appeals and the dispositions of the appeals filed at HACCP plants, from January 1, 2001, to March 31, 2001.
Table 1a provides numbers of NRs issued by FSIS inspection personnel. The NR’s referenced in Table 1a were issued between January 1, 2000 to March 31, 2000. During this period, FSIS performed 1,367,930 inspection tasks at HACCP plants. There is no computer system data available for the number of inspection tasks or appeals performed at non-HACCP plants for the period January 1, 2000 through January 24, 2000 because the computer system for collecting this information was discontinued in preparation for HACCP implementation at very small plants. Table 1b shows the number of appeals and the dispositions of the appeals filed at HACCP plants, from January 1, 2000 to March 31, 2000.
|NRs Issued (01/01/01 to 03/31/01):||29,891|
|Number of Plants Filing Appeals||108|
|Appeal of NR Granted||Appeal of NR Denied||Appeal of NR Pending||Total NRs Appealed|
(Total exceeds 108 because some plants filed multiple appeals.)
FSIS takes product control actions to gain physical control over products when there is reason to believe they are adulterated or misbranded. The actions ensure that those products do not enter commerce or, if they are already in commerce, that they do not reach consumers.
In official establishments, FSIS inspectors may retain products whenever there is evidence of unwholesomeness, or if products are adulterated or mislabeled. FSIS inspectors condemn animals for disease, contamination, or adulteration to prevent their use as human food. Figures for condemnations for livestock for the reporting period are as follows: FSIS inspected 35,424,220 livestock carcasses, of which 209,186 carcasses were condemned. FSIS inspected 1,867,040,949 poultry carcasses of which 16,517,889 carcasses were condemned.
After products are distributed from plants, FSIS Compliance Officers detain any that may be adulterated or misbranded. FSIS then has 20 days to request a Federal court to seize the product (see Civil Actions). Table 2 provides the number of detentions and the pounds of product involved in these actions for meat and poultry, reported in total and by FSIS District Offices, for this quarterly reporting period. Most detentions result in voluntary disposal of the product and do not require court seizures.
|Total number of detentions by FSIS||188|
|Total pounds of product detained||3,970,808|
|DES MOINES, IA||30||92,006|
A recall is a voluntary action by a firm to remove adulterated, misbranded, or suspect products from distribution. FSIS cannot require recalls but can recommend and monitor those that occur. Class I recalls involve a health hazard when there is a reasonable possibility that the use of the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. Class II recalls involve a health hazard when there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from use of the product. Class III recalls involves a situation in which use of the product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences. For current information on recalls, go to the FSIS recalls web page at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/news/xrecalls.htm
FSIS maintains a comprehensive system of import controls to carry out the requirements of the Federal meat, poultry, and egg products inspection laws to ensure the wholesomeness of imported products. The system of import controls involves two major components: oversight and reinspection. FSIS conducts a rigorous review of an exporting country’s controls to ensure they are equivalent to those of the United States, prior to the country’s eligibility to export to the United States. Reinspection of meat, poultry and egg products that enter the U.S. is based on statistical sampling and verifies the country’s inspection system is working. A product that fails to meet U.S. requirements is refused entry into this country. The product must be re-exported, destroyed or, in some cases, converted to animal food. Table 3 provides the total number of presented lots and pounds of imported meat and poultry products presented, reinspected, and refused entry during the period from January 1, 2001 to March 31, 2001.
|Presented, Reinspected, and Refused Entry|
|Meat and Poultry|
|Number of Presented||Number of Reinspected||Number of Refused Entry|
|Number of Presented||Number of Refused Entry|
FSIS issue letters of warning (LOW) for minor violations of law that are not referred to United States Attorneys for prosecution. FSIS may also issue these warnings when a United States Attorney declines to prosecute a case or bring action against a specific business or person. These letters warn that FSIS may seek criminal action based on continued violations. Letters of warning may be issued to any individual or business, including Federal plants, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants, retail stores and other entities that process, store, or distribute meat and poultry products. Table 4 shows letters of warning issued by headquarters and by each of the FSIS District Offices during the reporting period.
|Letters of Warning for Criminal Violations|
|Total number of LOWs issued for violations||588|
|Number issued by Headquarters||32|
|District||Number of LOWs Issued by Districts|
|DES MOINES, IA||12|
|Total number issued by Districts||556|
FSIS inspects meat and poultry products and applies the marks of inspection when inspectors are able to determine that products are not adulterated. FSIS may temporarily withhold the marks of inspection from specific products, suspend inspection, or withdraw a grant of inspection if a plant is not meeting crucial requirements.
Effective January 25, 2000, FSIS amended its Rules of Practice that apply to Agency enforcement actions. The Rules of Practice, which are located in 9 CFR Part 500, define each type of enforcement action FSIS can take, the conditions under which it is likely to take these actions, and the procedures FSIS will follow in doing so.
Withholding the Marks of Inspection
If a plant fails to prevent preparation and shipment of adulterated products or develops a pattern of noncompliance showing the plant’s sanitation or process control systems have failed, the Inspector-in-Charge notifies plant managers that the USDA mark of inspection is being withheld from some or all of the products in the plant. This action effectively shuts down affected operations, because it is illegal to sell products in interstate commerce that do not bear the USDA mark of inspection. Other non-affected parts of the plant, if any, may still operate.
Suspension of Inspection
FSIS may temporarily suspend the assignment of inspectors if a plant fails to present a corrective action plan to bring the plant sanitation or process control systems into compliance. As with withholding actions, a suspension shuts down all or part of the plant’s operations. USDA may defer a decision or place a suspension in abeyance if corrections are presented, put into effect, and effectively prevent additional problems. FSIS District Offices have established procedures to monitor and verify a plant’s corrective and preventive actions.
Notification to Establishments of Intended Enforcement Actions
FSIS has an established procedure to notify establishments of intended enforcement actions related to certain types of noncompliance that have not resulted in actual shipment of adulterated products. Under this procedure, a notice is issued to an establishment when the Inspector-in-Charge determines that the establishment has experienced multiple, recurring noncompliances, or for other reasons, as specified in the Rule of Practice, and the establishment and has failed to implement corrective and preventive measures to prevent a system inadequacy. The “Notice” informs the establishment that the nature and scope of the noncompliance indicates that their HACCP system, or other system, is inadequate and, that FSIS intends to withhold the marks of inspection and suspend the assignment inspectors. The “Notice” explains the basis and references documentation for the intended enforcement action, and provides the establishment an opportunity to demonstrate why a system inadequacy determination should not be made or that the plant has achieved regulatory compliance.
Withdrawal of Inspection
In some situations, FSIS may decide that it is necessary to withdraw inspection from a plant. In these cases, FSIS withdraws inspection from a Federal plant by filing a complaint with the USDA Hearing Clerk. The plant may request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If the action is based on insanitation, the plant will remain closed while proceedings go forward. In other cases that do not involve a threat to public health, operations may continue. These actions are often resolved by FSIS and the plant entering into a consent decision, which allows the plant to operate under certain specified conditions. Once inspection is withdrawn, a closed plant must reapply to receive Federal inspection.
As specified in the Rules of Practice, USDA may initiate withholding, suspension, or withdrawal actions to limit a plant’s slaughtering or processing, or prevent the plant from operating altogether, based on reasons related to the PR/HACCP regulations such as:
In addition, USDA may initiate a withholding, suspension, or withdrawal action for other reasons such as:
Tables 5, 6, and 7 list administrative actions (other than actions based on convictions) by establishment, initiated, pending, or closed, for the quarter, along with whether the action is based on an SSOP or HACCP Systems failure, or for some other reason, such as inhumane slaughter. In some plants, FSIS may find more than one basis for taking enforcement action or may take more than one action. For example, the plant has sanitation problems and is not conducting E. coli testing, or a sanitation problem occurs more than once. These tables list actions taken at large, small, and very small plants. The enforcement action can be for any of the identified reasons. During this period, activity is reported concerning 156 plants. Thirty-two of the actions in these plants were initiated during this reporting period. Thirty-eight actions were closed by letter of warnings or other means during this period.
Tables 5, 6, and 7 also identify those cases in which an appeal of the withholding or suspension action may have been made, along with whether the appeal was granted or the administrative action was sustained (appeal denied). When decisions on appeals have not been made during the period of this report, the appeal is shown as pending and will be reported in the next quarterly report. No appeals were filed and acted on during this period.
With regards to suspensions taken at very small HACCP plants, some very small plants failed to fully meet basic regulatory requirements for HACCP implementation in January 2000 but had demonstrated positive efforts to do so. Given their effort to comply with the regulations, FSIS allowed certain plants to complete HACCP implementation, and held the suspension in abeyance. Generally the abeyance period provided to most of these very small plants that failed to meet basic HACCP requirements was for a 180 day period. Table 7 identifies suspensions initiated at very small plants including failures to meet basic HACCP requirements.
|Withholding||Suspension In Effect||Suspension In Abeyance||Basis for Action||Appeals and Actions|
Con Agra Frozen Foods
|02/12/01||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
Claxton Poultry Farms
|11/22/00||X||On 2/22/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
Con Agra Beef Inc.
|04/13/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
Perdue Farms, Inc.
||05/22/00||X||Remains in abeyance.|
Pilgrims Pride Corp.
|X||On 03/27/01, enforcement action was deferred for 90 days. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Glenn Allen, VA
|08/28/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement. On 12/28/00, plant notified that its appeal of the suspension being held in abeyance was denied. This information was inadvertently not included in the previous report.|
Tyson Foods, Inc.
|03/08/01||03/16/01||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Withholding||Suspension In Effect||Suspension In Abeyance||Basis for Action||Appeals and Actions|
|A & O Provisions Co.
|06/15/99||06/15/99||06/18/99||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|11/27/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|05/26/00||X||On 02/12/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Bar S Food Co.
|X||On 03/26/01, plant received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Beacon Premium Meats, Inc.
|10/10/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Bison Products Co., Inc.
|11/18/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Brocco Foods, Inc.
New York Mills, NY
|09/07/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Brocco Foods, Inc.
New York Mills, NY
|03/02/01||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Brother & Sister Food Trading Inc.
|09/07/00||X||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Curtis Packing, Co.
|05/30/00||6/01/00||X||On 03/14/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Dakota Premium Foods, LLC
So. St. Paul, MN
|08/01/00||08/03/00||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|Diestal Turkey Ranch
|06/13/00||X||On 02/02/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Durango USA Foods
|08/12/99||08/13/99||9/02/99||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|Eddy Packing Co.
|03/30/00||03/31/00||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|X||Decision regarding enforcement pending. On 7/14/99 plant officials notified that decision regarding enforcement would be deferred pending verification of corrective and planned actions provided by the plant. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Fabbri Sausage Mfg. Co.
|11/24/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Fredericksburg Lockers, Inc.
|07/20/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|G & T Meat Co. Inc.
Grand Rapids, MI
|05/13/99||06/30/99||X||On 03/05/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning. Previously, on 9/21/99, plant officials were notified that the decision to forward a recommendation to withdraw inspection would be deferred based on their written assurances to correct SSOP and HACCP failures.|
|Golden Rod Broilers, Inc.
|12/15/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|X||Decision regarding enforcement pending. Previously, on 7/27/99, plant officials were notified that decision regarding enforcement would be deferred pending verification of corrective and preventive measures provided by the plant.|
|H&B Packing Co., Inc.,
|02/02/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement based on failure to meet the Salmonella performance standard on three consecutive series of FSIS conducted tests.|
|Henningsen Foods Inc.
|X||On 03/09/01, plant received notice of intended enforcement.|
|House of Raeford Farms
|01/28/00||01/28/00||02/7/00||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|John's Produce Co.
|09/18/00||X||On 10/05/00, inspection service voluntarily withdrawn. Suspension case closed. This information was inadvertently not included in the previous report. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|K.P.R. Holdings, LP
|10/06/99||X||Remains in abeyance. Formerly, the plant was IBP, Inc., Est. 244W, which operates now under new establishment number and ownership.|
|Kronos Products, Inc.
|09/28/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|03/04/99||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|MAS Foods, Inc.
|02/27/01||03/01/01||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|Mrs. Crockett’s Kitchen Inc.
Fort Worth, TX
|06/27/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Nicholas Packing Co.
|12/04/00||X||Remains in abeyance. This was inadvertently listed as a very small plant in the last report.|
|North Side Foods Inc 2121
|12/22/00||12/28/00||X||On 03/02/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Omaha Beef Co.
|08/17/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|03/23/00||03/24/00||03/30/00||X||On 01/3/01, inspection service was withdrawn.|
|X||On 02/13/01, plant received a notice of intended enforcement for other pathogen reduction issues.|
|Park Ave. Meats
New York, NY
|03/21/01||03/22/01||X||X||Remains in effect. Suspension also based on insanitary conditions.|
|Peer Foods, Inc.
|07/26/00||07/27/00||X||On 01/03/01, suspension case closed with letter of warning.|
|Plymouth Beef Co.
New York, NY
|03/21/01||X||Remains in effect. On 3/23/01, firm requested voluntary suspension to relocate to a different facility. Suspension also based on insanitary conditions.|
|Philadelphia Foods, Inc.,
|03/18/99||03/22/99||04/13/99||X||X||Remains in abeyance.|
|Que Tal, Inc. 6757/P-6757
|12/29/00||X||Remains in effect. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Quality Choice Foods
|07/19/00||X||X||On 02/14/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Reggio’s Pizza I, Inc.
|X||On 03/28/01, plant received notice of intended enforcement.|
|Republic Foods, Inc.
|11/02/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Rich Plan of Utica Incorporated
New York Mills, NY
|10/26/00||X||On 02/8/01, suspension case closed with letter from the DM based on plant’s letter stating that it would discontinue processing product under a fully cooked- not shelf stable process.|
|Rochester Meat Company,
|10/23/00||X||On 01/12/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|San Antonio Packing
San Antonio, TX
|06/06/00||05/30/00||X||On 01/10/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Stanley Provision Co.
|03/12/01||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|Supreme Beef Packers Inc.
|01/18/00||X||X||On 03/08/01, District Manager advised plant that inspection service would no longer be provided based on plant official’s failure to notify FSIS that inspection was needed. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement based on failure to meet the Salmonella performance standard on three consecutive series of FSIS conducted tests. Suspension case closed.|
|11/30/99||02/11/00||X||X||On 03/08/01, District Manager advised plant that inspection service would no longer be provided based on plant official’s failure to notify FSIS that inspection was needed. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement based on failure to meet the Salmonella performance standard on three consecutive series of FSIS conducted tests. Suspension case closed.|
|Thompson Packers, Inc.
|07/20/00||X||On 03/06/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Twin Rivers, Inc
Fort Smith, AR
|03/10/00||X||On 03/05/01, suspension case closed with a letter of warning.|
|Ventura Foods LLC
Albert Lea, MN
|07/28/00||X||On 10/04/00, suspension case closed with a letter of warning. Plant previously received a notice of intended enforcement.|
|White Packing Co.
|06/23/00||X||On 12/27/00, FSIS notified plant that it could resume limited operations provided certain conditions were met. Previously, on 8/10/00, plant requested that FSIS delay proceedings to withdraw inspection. On 8/15/00, based on the plant’s commitment to develop and implement revised food safety controls, FSIS granted the plant’s request.|
|11/22/00||X||Remains in abeyance. Plant previously received notice of intended enforcement.|
For Further Information Contact:
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