|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113: FAX: (202) 690-0460
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2000--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has published performance standards for food safety and non-food safety conditions that slaughter plants participating in the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project must meet. The performance standards for young chickens, which account for the majority of participating plants, were previously released at a public meeting held in March; the standards for young hogs and turkeys have not been released previously.
"This project raises the bar for food safety and other consumer protection concerns and so far the participating plants have been rising to the challenge," said Thomas J. Billy, administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Under the pilot project, which began in 1999, volunteer plants extend Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems to slaughter line activities, which are not now covered under HACCP. Plants sort carcasses to remove food safety and non-food safety conditions and must meet performance standards established by FSIS for these defects. FSIS inspectors conduct on-line carcass inspection and verification inspection to ensure that plants are meeting the standards. Only plants that slaughter young, healthy chickens, hogs, and turkeys are eligible to participate in the pilot project. Up to 30 plants that slaughter young chickens and hogs are currently participating, although fewer than this number are actually testing models at this time. No turkey plants are currently testing the models.
No food safety or non-food safety defects are acceptable to FSIS. While no system is perfect, the models project is an effort to reduce and eliminate defects that pass through traditional inspection. Under the models project, performance standards are based on improving what is achieved under the current, traditional method of inspection. When plants enter the project, they must improve their process in order to meet the new, tougher standards.
Preliminary data from both an independent third party and FSIS in-plant checks indicate that the new system dramatically improves the safety of products and increases overall consumer protection.
The performance standards were published in the Nov. 2 Federal Register. There is no formal comment period for this notice; however, comments are welcomed and should be submitted to FSIS Docket Clerk, Docket #00-042N, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 102 Cotton Annex Building, 300 12th St., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-3700.
NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov
For Further Information, Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 690-0460
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