|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
MYTH: The federal agency overseeing food inspection is imposing new rules reclassifying as safe for human consumption animal carcasses with cancers, tumors, and open sores.
FACT: Cancers, tumors and open sores have never been acceptable in our inspection program and they’re not acceptable now under HIMP. There is no such rule.
MYTH: HIMP lowers food safety standards.
FACT: Food safety standards have not been lowered. In fact, there are more food safety checks under HIMP than under traditional HACCP inspection.
MYTH: HIMP relies on scientific testing of samples rather than on traditional item-by-item scrutiny by federal inspectors.
FACT: Under HIMP as under regular HACCP, a Federal inspector inspects all carcasses and makes the determination as to whether it’s adulterated.
MYTH: Defective and diseased carcasses are being approved for human use under the pilot program.
FACT: FSIS policy is and remains that defective and diseased carcasses are not permitted to enter commerce. Regrettably, no inspection system involving humans is foolproof. For the first time in the history of inspection, we had a third party quantify the number of defective and diseased carcasses getting past traditional slaughter inspection versus slaughter inspection under HIMP. The data clearly show a dramatic reduction in the number of defective and diseased carcasses entering commerce. (See table in Backgrounder)
MYTH: Even if an inspector sees bad meat going down a processing line, inspectors were told not to remove it and the consumer will take care of the bad product.
FACT: It is not acceptable to FSIS for consumers to receive bad product. The carcasses that are condemned in a traditional plant are condemned in a HIMP plant. The carcasses that are trimmed in a traditional plant are trimmed in a HIMP plant. Inspectors are required to defer stepping in and taking action before the plant has the opportunity to let the system work, which under HIMP, is to have company employees remove the product. However, if the company does not do it, the inspector then is required to step in and correct the situation. This may involve stopping the line.
For Further Information, Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 690-0460
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