|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Food Safety and Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Remarks prepared for delivery by Thomas Billy, Administrator, Food Safety and Inspection Service, before the public meeting on the HACCP-based inspection models project, March 30, 2000, Rosslyn, VA.
I, too, want to welcome you to this public meeting on the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project--commonly known as HIMP. As Ms.Wilcox said, we have made much progress in implementing our overall science-based strategy for change. HACCP is the cornerstone of that strategy because it provides a foundationa structurefor making continuous food safety improvements as science and technology advance.
The HACCP-based inspection models project is the next step in HACCP implementation. By extending HACCP to the slaughter line, we can build on the achievements made so far.
I recently toured one of the young chicken plants in the projectthe Rocco plant in Virginiaand I was impressed with the commitment of both our inspectors and the plant to making this system work to improve food safety. Our inspectors were enthusiastic about the new work that theyre doing and that they could focus more of their time on food safety checks. And I was impressed with the plants process controls. The birds we saw in the plant looked very good and easily passed FSIS verification checks, as I watched our inspectors carry out their verification activities.
Our initial experience with the new models is very promising, but FSIS is proceeding with this project very carefully, in a stepwise manner, because it represents such a significant change. We will not make any permanent changes until we are sure that the achievements of the new system meet or exceed the achievements of the traditional system, on a sustained basis. Data from plants operating under the new models will be compared with the baseline data collected under the traditional system. These "before and after" comparisons will help us to determine how to proceed.
Before we begin, let me update you on where we are with the HACCP-based inspection models project.
Twenty-four plants are now participating--16 plants that slaughter young chicken, five plants that slaughter market hogs, and three plants that slaughter young turkeys. At this moment, an additional fifteen young chicken plants and one market hog plant would like to participate in the project. No beef plants are participating at this time, although there is interest on the part of the beef industry. Just as a point of clarification, the project originated for young chickens, swine and cattle, and young turkeys were added at the request of the turkey industry.
Baseline organoleptic and microbial data collection has now been completed for all 16 young chicken plants in order to document the achievements of the traditional system. These data will be presented this morning.
Eleven young chicken and two market hog plants have made the transition to new inspection models; that is, they are in the models testing phase. These plants are responsible for meeting FSIS-established performance standards for food safety and other consumer protection concerns, under FSIS oversight inspection and verification inspection. In addition, these slaughter facilities must continue to meet all other applicable FSIS regulatory requirements.
After allowing some time for things to settle down once the plants assume the additional responsibilities, data collection under the new models begins in order to compare the new system to the traditional system. This data collection has begun in four plants. We do not yet have data collected under the models to share with you, but expect to be ready to do so this summer.
As we proceed with the presentations this afternoon, you will hear more about our progress so far under the new models.
I will now turn the meeting over to Maggie Glavin, who will review the agenda and logistics for the meeting.
For Further Information:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-3897
Fax: (202) 720-5704
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