|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Pathogen Reduction/HACCP & HACCP Implementation
The 18 Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) District Managers have been proactive in their efforts to assist small plants in their districts in preparing for the January 25, 1999, HACCP implementation date. They are very much aware that it will take the efforts of all FSIS personnel to ensure that the small and very small plants make a successful transition to HACCP.
The Philadelphia District Office, for example, has strongly encouraged participation by small plants in FSIS HACCP technical assistance workshops. To date, 18 workshops have been held in this district with over 200 plants and 290 individuals participating--the highest in the country.
The Boston District Office initially mailed information to all the establishments in their district providing them with the regulatory criteria defining small and very small. By clarifying this, many plants that had originally declared themselves small discovered that they were in fact considered very small. Circuit Supervisors delivered packets of information with references and additional HACCP resources to all of the small plant owners in each circuit. These personal contacts were invaluable in putting plant owners at ease and letting them know that the plants could rely on FSIS personnel for information and additional resources. In addition, the staff in the Boston District Office has encouraged attendance at the technical assistance workshops and the Small Plant HACCP Implementation meetings in the area.
The Alameda District Office was actively involved in the small plant technical assistance workshops, during which language assistance was provided for the Asian Pacific American plant personnel. This district has also established an 800 number within the district to assist small and very small plants with questions and concerns about HACCP.
Similar approaches are being used in the Springdale, Boulder, and Minneapolis District Offices. The Circuit Supervisors, in conjunction with Inspectors-in-Charge, are holding meetings and making personal contact with plant management to discuss the regulatory requirements and alleviate some plant-specific concerns about HACCP implementation. All FSIS District Managers and their staffs have been coordinating efforts to provide the type of assistance needed by the small plants in order to make a successful transition to HACCP. Information on what the other districts are doing will be discussed in future issues of the Small Plant HACCP Update.
In response to a recent FSIS request to large food companies to assist the Agency in preparing smaller, less HACCP-experienced plants in getting ready for their January 1999 implementation deadline, ConAgra Refrigerated Prepared Foods recently sponsored a 2-day food safety workshop for smaller companies. Co-sponsored by the Food Processors Institute, the workshop provided small companies with hands-on instruction and insight into the implementation of HACCP food safety systems. Food safety experts from ConAgra Refrigerated Prepared Foods, the Food Processors Institute, and FSIS discussed the types of specific changes that must be made in food production processes to institute HACCP principles. The 70 plus participants found the workshop to be very beneficial. Participants met the training requirements found in CFR 417.7.
Another positive approach to HACCP implementation is "Operation HACCP Kick Start," an innovative program available through the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP). This distance-learning program is geared to the very small plants that are due to begin HACCP in 2000. This self-study course takes HACCP tasks and breaks them down into month-by-month, step-by-step activities. Beginning in January 1999 and with each succeeding month, a new phase of HACCP tasks, along with the necessary charts, graphs, and other aids, is sent, so that by January 2000, the transition to HACCP should proceed smoothly. Some topics included in the study program are: "Setting up your HACCP team," "Creating flow charts," and "Monitoring and verifying: will your plan work?"
These are just a few examples of the support and assistance that the industry and trade associations are providing to their members and others to ensure successful HACCP implementation in small and very small plants. Programs such as these complement the activities being conducted by FSIS. It is through such coordinated efforts that the small and very small plants can successfully make the transition to HACCP.
In addition, there are presently 10 large plants that are actively working with about 20-30 small plants as part of the mentoring program. These large plants are assisting the small plants by offering technical information on HACCP systems. The small plant owners and operators are still expected to develop their own HACCP plans. For more information on this particular initiative, contact Mary Cutshall, National HACCP Small Plant Coordinator at (202) 205-0619.
FSIS recently held several small plant technical assistance workshops and public meetings in Puerto Rico, Florida, and California, during which FSIS employees and industry volunteers provided language assistance to Hispanic and Asian Pacific American plant owners. Language assistance is being made available to help the plant owners in understanding and complying with the regulatory requirements of HACCP.
Language assistance for the Asian Pacific American-owned plants is being provided through the FSIS agreement with the Asian Pacific American Network in Agriculture (APANA). APANA members participated in the October small plant technical assistance workshops held in California, providing language assistance in Chinese (Mandarin) and Korean to about 45 representatives from Asian Pacific American- owned plants. More workshops of this kind are being planned in the future.
The public meetings on small plant HACCP implementation continue to be very well received. To date, 17 of the 20 scheduled meetings have taken place, reaching over 1,400 small plant owners and managers, and other interested persons. FSIS officials and facilitators continue also to receive positive feedback from the participants about the meetings being useful in helping the small plants make the transition to HACCP. As with the small plant technical assistance workshops, these public meetings do not fulfill the training requirements found in CFR 417.7. For more information on the remaining meetings, contact Sheila Johnson, FSIS Planning Staff, at (202) 501-7138.
For More Information:
|Technical Inquiries:||Office of the
National HACCP Small Plant Coordinator
Small Plant Demonstration
Project Office (Technical Assistance Workshops)
HACCP HotlineTechnical Service Center
|Media Inquiries:||(202) 720-9113|
|Congressional Inquiries:||(202) 720-3897|
|Constituent Inquiries:||(202) 720-8594|
|Consumer Inquiries:||Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555; In the Washington, DC, area, call (202) 720-3333; TTY: 1-800-256-7072.|
|FSIS Web site:||www.fsis.usda.gov (under HACCP Implementation)|
|HACCP Materials Database:||FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov (under HACCP Implementation)|
For Further Information Contact:
FSIS Constituent Affairs Program
Phone: (202) 720-8594
Fax: (202) 720-5704
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