|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Key Facts: HACCP Final Rule
Good sanitation is a fundamental requirement of federal meat and poultry inspection laws and is essential to preventing harmful contamination of meat and poultry products. Yet, poor sanitation practices, such as improper cleaning of facilities and equipment, are the most frequent deficiencies found in some meat and poultry plants. Recent FSIS unannounced reviews of 1,000 federally inspected meat and poultry plants found more frequent and serious deficiencies in sanitation than in other areas examined.
There is a direct and substantial link between insanitary practices in meat and poultry plants and the likelihood of product contamination with pathogenic bacteria. Traditionally, some federally inspected meat and poultry plants have relied heavily on inspectors to identify deficiencies on a daily basis.
The requirement for Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the Pathogen Reduction and HACCP final rule is one element of FSIS's strategy to modernize the inspection program and to reduce the incidence of pathogens in meat and poultry products. The SOPs will become effective 180 days from the date of publication of the final rule.
Federally inspected meat and poultry plants must develop written sanitation SOPs to show how they meet basic sanitation requirements every day.
The new rule will not impose new sanitation requirements, but will instead institute a process to ensure better compliance with existing Federal sanitation requirements.
SOPs will include such activities as sanitation procedures the plant would conduct before and during operation to prevent direct product contamination or adulteration.
Each plant must assume responsibility for identifying and addressing sanitation deficiencies.
Meat and poultry plants will document and maintain daily records of completed sanitation procedures, corrective and preventive actions, and make them available to the USDA inspector for review and verification.
Inspectors will verify that plants are complying with sanitation SOPs.
If sanitation SOPs are not followed, USDA will take appropriate actions to ensure no product is produced under insanitary conditions.
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