Hygiene and Biosecurity Practices
This directive instructs inspection program personnel (IPP) to comply fully with the sanitary and hygiene procedures and biosecurity measures put in place by an official meat or poultry establishment, an egg products plant, or an official import inspection establishment that these facilities also require of all of their employees. FSIS previously issued these instructions in FSIS Notice 17-15, FSIS Program Personnel Hygiene and Biosecurity Practices.
A. As a food safety public health agency, FSIS ensures that regulations pertaining to sanitary operations and proper food handling practices are strictly adhered to so that the potential contamination of meat, poultry or egg products with any food safety hazards of public health concern, does not occur. IPP are to ensure that their activities in the establishment are not resulting in the creation of an insanitary condition.
B. IPP are to follow the specific employee hygiene practices (e.g., hair net, beard net, foot coverings, smock) established in an official meat, poultry or import establishment or an egg products plant, to ensure insanitary conditions do not occur.
C. Biosecurity procedures protect agricultural animals from any type of infectious agent (e.g., viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic). People can spread diseases as they move within a facility and from one facility to another. Animals or equipment introduced into a facility can bring infectious agents with them. Among the many biosecurity procedures that can prevent these types of disease transmission are such measures as use of protective clothing, waiting periods for new animals and visitors, and cleaning. Occasionally, special emergency procedures may be necessary in serious outbreaks of animal or human diseases.
III. FSIS PERSONNEL RESPONSIBILITIES
A. IPP are to follow the same hygiene requirements in 9 CFR 416.5, 354.243(k) or 9 CFR 590.560(d) regarding their personal cleanliness, clothing and health in the performance of FSIS duties. This includes how IPP handle edible products and their sanitary hygienic practices.
B. IPP are to adhere to the same employee hygiene regulations or practices, or any biosecurity measures put in place in meat and poultry establishments, import inspection establishments and egg products plants that these facilities require of all their own employees.
C. IPP are to follow an establishment’s procedures designed for employee traffic patterns or product flow between rooms or processes.
D. IPP are to be mindful of livestock or avian diseases that might be spread from one official establishment or egg products plant to another by their clothing, equipment, footwear or vehicle. If IPP are concerned about procedures the establishment or plant wants them to follow that appear to be overly restrictive (e.g., a procedure that only applies to FSIS personnel, treatments that require special purchase of cleaning materials, or asking questions about an FSIS employee’s home or activities while in non-duty status) to prevent transmission of animal or avian diseases and foodborne disease, they are to comply with the procedures and concurrently discuss concerns with their immediate supervisor.
E. IPP performing ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection are to ensure sanitary conditions are maintained. When performing these duties IPP are to ensure they do not directly or indirectly, cross contaminate products when traveling to or from other production areas within a facility. Examples of practices to follow to prevent cross contamination include but are not limited to:
- Change outer clothing after conducting ante-mortem inspection and entering a production area;
- Use the boot dip/wash or change to Ready to Eat (RTE) designated footwear prior to entering a raw or RTE production area (when provided);
- Adhere to the establishment’s guidelines for outer garment use (e.g., change smock when leaving a raw products operations and entering a RTE operation); and
- Wash hands upon entering an exposed product production area.
F. IPP assigned to an egg products plant are to ensure sanitary conditions are maintained when transitioning from the shell egg area (transfer room) to the egg breaking area. Examples of practices to follow to prevent cross contamination include but are not limited to:
- Change outer clothing after conducting inspection of shell eggs, the egg wash unit and candling equipment prior to entering a breaking room production area;
- Use the boot dip/wash prior to entering a raw or RTE production area (when provided);
- Adhere to the plant’s guidelines for outer garments use (e.g., change smock when leaving a breaking operation and entering a packaging operation); and
- Wash hands upon entering any production area.
G. IPP may encounter biosecurity measures an establishment or plant may require that include but are not limited to:
- Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water or antibacterial wipes or gel when entering and leaving an establishment or plant;
- Wear protective clothing or footwear supplied by the establishment or plant; or
- Wash or sanitize vehicle tires or undercarriage of vehicles driven on to the establishment; or
- Report any farm(s) visited within a specified time period that may be under quarantine.
H. IPP are to follow any local/state/Federal (e.g., APHIS) guidance, quarantines, or restrictions that apply to the general population in specific geographical locations.
IV. SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES
“Supervisors” refers to any OFO personnel that supervise IPP who conduct any verification activities in an FSIS inspected establishment or egg products plant.
A. Supervisors are to ensure that the activities conducted by IPP are consistent with FSIS statutory authority and Agency policy, and that duties are performed in accordance with the instructions addressed in this directive.
B. Supervisors are to reiterate IPP’s role in preventing the creation of an insanitary condition or the possible contamination or adulteration of FSIS inspected products within an inspected establishment or plant and preventing the spread of any livestock or avian diseases between establishments or plants.
C. Supervisors are to discuss how the hygiene practices (e.g., personal cleanliness, clothing, disease control, product handling and equipment handling) of IPP may affect the testing results related to pathogens.
D. Supervisors are to emphasize that IPP in slaughter areas must perform their slaughter inspection duties in a manner so as not to directly or indirectly cross contaminate product or product contact surfaces.
E. Supervisors are responsible for addressing any issues establishments or plants may bring to their attention related to IPP employee hygiene practices or biosecurity measures.
Refer questions regarding this directive through supervisory channels.