Scenario 01-02 :Salmonella:  January 30,2002

You are an inspector at a large pork slaughter plant. You are currently collecting Salmonella performance standard samples to complete the "B" set. Plant management received a call from the district office 2 weeks ago in which an ** "early warning" notification was provided and additional anti-microbial interventions were implemented. They are anxious to receive a final determination of sample set results and have repeatedly asked you if they passed the "B set".

Throughout the sampling process, you have tracked the progress through daily monitoring of LEARN for sample receipt. You have submitted 57 samples to date. The 57th sample was sent yesterday. LEARN indicates that two have been discarded.

As a critical thinker, what would you do at this juncture to alleviate plant's concerns, reduce agency expense, and prevent performance of unnecessary FSIS inspection activities?

After review of MPI Regulation 310.25, you determine the sample set size for market hogs is 55 samples. Therefore, the number of samples for a completed set has been received at the laboratory. Based upon past experience, you know that the inspection coordinator will contact you after receipt of the "full and/or completed set" reports and instruct you to stop sampling and return all remaining forms and supplies.

You call the District HACCP Sampling Coordinator and ask about the status of the sample set and discuss the results posted via LEARN.
The District HACCP Sampling Coordinator confirms that he/she received a "full set" report and forwards a copy to the IIC. He/she informs you that "full set" and "completed set" reports are accessed via PREP and provided to the HACCP Sampling Coordinators. In some instances, there may be a slight delay between the posting of results on PREP and LEARN due to programming constraints. He/she reiterates that when LEARN transmits a "Set Pass/Set Fail" report, all specific information (individual findings) may be accessed by clicking on the link to open a detailed report.

Note: Existing policy does not allow individual microbiological results to be provided to plant management or local inspection program personnel until the set is complete. The Inspection Coordinator may request, on behalf of the District Manager, individual sample results of uncompleted sets from the TSC or OPHS with the understanding that it may be used only for internal (district office) purposes such as tracking sampling activity and correlation.

** Appropriate documentation by the District HACCP Sampling Coordinator
corresponding to the "early warning" notification with plant
management is critical. Sometime in the future, plant management may
allege that an "early warning" notification was not provided by a
representative of the District Office. As a result, they may contend that they
were not provided advance notification informing them of the potential
sample set failure and were not afforded ample opportunity to make
necessary adjustments to ensure that the performance standard was met.

Additionally, the prompt for the "early warning" notification may occur at
different times throughout the completion of the sample set. It may occur
early during the sample set or it may occur late enough to preclude a
meaningful evaluation of the process and, as a result, not provide sufficient
time to make appropriate process modifications.



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