|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Key Facts: HACCP Final Rule
Effective training of both FSIS and industry employees is vital to the success of the Pathogen Reduction and HACCP Systems final rule. Various kinds of establishments, including small and very small plants, must have access to training, technical assistance, and other resources that will facilitate HACCP implementation. Therefore, FSIS has developed an approach to training and technical assistance that is designed to support HACCP implementation within available resource constraints.
FSIS believes that training and technical assistance should seek to establish a common understanding of HACCP objectives, philosophy, and the respective roles and responsibilities of both FSIS and industry employees in the practical implementation of HACCP.
A food safety strategy based on HACCP and performance standards requires important changes in the FSIS regulatory approach. Under the new Pathogen Reduction and HACCP regulations, the role of frontline FSIS personnel -- domestic and import inspectors, compliance officers and their supervisors -- will change significantly as establishment and Agency roles are redefined to accord with the HACCP philosophy. Therefore, the Agency will train frontline supervisors to serve as key leaders of the change, and will provide technical and cultural change training to all employees.
FSIS plans to equip the workforce to carry out the redefined regulatory requirements using the "just-in-time" approach to training, under which training is delivered immediately before an employee must apply the redefined skill, knowledge and ability. This approach was selected because it will allow the Agency to link employee training to the implementation schedule, which requires plants to meet the new requirements within a span of 6 to 42 months from the date of this final rule. The "just-in-time" approach was also chosen because it will enable the Agency to make best use of scarce human resources and because it will minimize disruption of program services.
Many small and very small plants may lack familiarity with HACCP. Thus, FSIS plans an array of assistance activities for industry designed to facilitate implementation of HACCP in small and very small plants. FSIS will hold a 3-day HACCP implementation conference in Washington, D.C. about 60 days after the rule is published, as well as regional implementation conferences throughout the United States.
FSIS is developing 13 generic HACCP models for major process categories. The generic HACCP model plans, which will serve as illustrations or examples--rather than prescriptive blue-prints--to aid plants in developing their own specific HACCP plans, will be available in final form at least 6 months before any establishment must begin work on its HACCP plan.
The Agency will conduct HACCP demonstration projects to show how HACCP systems can work for various products and product categories under actual operating conditions in small and very small plants. These demonstration projects will be conducted during the two-year period following the issuance of the final rule, at a number of sites around the country. The HACCP demonstration projects, like the generic models, should be helpful in answering the questions and reducing the costs incurred by small establishments in developing HACCP systems.
FSIS is making available guidance materials to assist plants in conducting their hazard analyses and developing HACCP plans. They include a Guidebook for the Preparation of HACCP Plans, which has been designed to provide the small establishments with a step-by-step approach for developing a HACCP plan; it includes examples and sample forms for each step. Other guidance materials under development include a Hazards and Preventive Measures Guide.
The USDA/FDA Foodborne Illness Education Information Center has developed and maintains the HACCP Training Programs and Resources Database, which provides up-to-date listings of HACCP training programs, resources, and consultants offering training programs or resources. The Database can be accessed through the Internet.
Each meat and poultry establishment will be responsible for training its employees. Nonetheless, FSIS is cooperating with the private sector to ensure a wide variety of training options. This coordination will ensure the compatibility and completeness of training courses offered to industry and Government employees. For example, FSIS is encouraging the active participation of the International Meat and Poultry HACCP Alliance, national and local trade and professional associations, State and local officials, State agricultural extension services, and local colleges and universities to help establishments incorporate HACCP into their operations.
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