|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Congressional and Public Affairs
Carol Blake (202) 720-9113
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2001--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service recently announced that the revised design of its HACCP-based inspection models project continues to produce results showing dramatic improvements in food safety and other consumer protections, according to FSIS verification data now available for young chickens.
"The redesigned system of inspection that we are testing has shown marked reductions in defects in young chickens as compared to the traditional inspection system," said Thomas J. Billy, FSIS administrator. "While no food safety or non-food safety defects are acceptable to FSIS, this project is showing important food safety gains."
Under the HACCP-based inspection models project, FSIS has established performance standards for food safety and non-food safety defects that require improved performance by industry. FSIS conducts inspection to ensure that these standards are met and that plants are producing food that is safe and wholesome for consumers. Participating plants must revise or develop new process control systems to meet these new performance standards that address both food safety and other consumer protection concerns.
Under the revised design, FSIS has placed a carcass inspector at a fixed point just before the birds enter the chiller. This inspector is the final government checkpoint for consumer-ready product. FSIS also continues to have an off-line inspector to verify that plants are appropriately handling any problems and to ensure the adequacy of the overall design and execution of the establishment’s HACCP and process control procedures.
Approximately 20 plants that slaughter young chickens, hogs, and turkeys are voluntarily participating in the project, but data from plants operating under the models are available only for young chickens at this time. The poultry data are available for fourteen plants.
Two categories of defects are considered food safety related because they could pose a health hazard to consumers. In these food safety categories, FSIS inspector verification checks found a 99.9 percent reduction in defects over traditional slaughter inspection. All five categories addressing conditions that do not pose a food safety hazard showed improvements with four of the five categories showing a greater than 50 percent reduction in defects.
Research Triangle Institute, an independent consulting firm, continues to collect data assessing the adequacy of the revised design of the models project. Their data is expected to be released later this year.
In order to implement any nationwide changes to the models project, a change in the poultry regulations will be required. FSIS is currently initiating the drafting of a proposed rule in order to begin making these regulatory changes.
For Further Information, Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 690-0460
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