Accomplishments of the HACCP - Based Inspection Models Project
Preliminary data from FSIS' HACCP-based inspection models project (HIMP) indicate that the new system dramatically improves the safety of poultry products and increases overall consumer protection as well. However, a recent decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court's decision supporting the project, and sent it back for further proceedings. FSIS remains committed to modernizing inspection, and while the Agency explores all options in light of the court's decision, the HIMP project continues. FSIS intends to hold its fifth public meeting on HIMP in September 2000.
In October 1999, FSIS began the project to determine whether new government slaughter inspection procedures, in conjunction with new plant responsibilities, can improve food safety, increase consumer protection, and provide flexibility for FSIS to use its resources more effectively. Under the project, FSIS is establishing performance standards for food safety and non-food safety defects (also known as "other consumer protections" -or OCP) found in young chickens, hogs and turkeys. The food safety performance standards for young chickens are set at zero to protect consumers from conditions that may be harmful. The OCP performance standards are based on baseline data collected in participating plants before the new models were tested and thus represent the system. The new OCP performance standards have been set at the 75 th percentile; thus, 25 percent of the plants would have to improve their baseline results in order to meet the more stringent standards. Participating plants must revise their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems to meet these food safety performance standards and establish process control systems to address the OCP concerns.
FSIS conducts continuous inspection with verification to ensure these standards are met and that products can receive the mark of inspection. Under the new system, FSIS inspectors check for fecal contamination four times more frequently than under the traditional system.
Approximately 30 plants that slaughter young chickens, turkeys, and swine have begun participating in the project, although data are available only for young chickens at this time.
Data collection was conducted by Research Triangle Institute, an independent consulting firm. Data collected from 14,000 carcasses before and 14,000 carcasses after the models were implemented were compared in seven young chicken plants to determine whether the new system improves food safety and increases consumer protection. The data are complete for seven poultry plants, while data for nine additional plants will be forthcoming. Data collection is complete for both phases of testing after six weeks of microbiological testing and five weeks of organoleptic testing.
The table on page 3 contains the data currently available. To summarize, for the first food safety category, which includes septicemia and toxemia, a 100 percent reduction in defects was recorded when comparing results from FSIS' traditional slaughter inspection system with the data under the new system. For the second food safety category, which includes fecal contamination, a 92 percent reduction in defects was identified--even though the sampling rate quadrupled under HIMP. These conditions are considered food safety related because they have the potential to be hazardous to humans.
There are five "other consumer protection" categories. For OCP-1, (see table on page 3 for category descriptions) a 45 percent improvement was found in HIMP plants when comparing the results from traditional slaughter inspection with the models phase data. For the OCP-2 category, a 43 percent improvement occurred. For the OCP-3 category, a 13 percent improvement was found. For the OCP-4 category, a 26 percent increase was identified. Although the defects in the OCP-4 category, such as feathers and oil glands, are not food safety concerns, FSIS will determine the reason for this increase and require plant changes. For the OCP-5 category, the data revealed a 60 percent improvement.
All plants, whether they operate under traditional slaughter inspection or the HIMP system, must meet pathogen reduction performance standards for Salmonella. The national Salmonella performance standard is 20.0 percent for young chickens. For the seven plants operating under the HIMP system for which data are complete, the Salmonella prevalence was 5.5 percent, compared to 6.1 percent when the plants were under traditional slaughter inspection.
|Traditional Slaughter Inspection vs. HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) in Young Chickens*|
|Category||Traditional Slaughter Inspection-
Condition — Infectious (e.g., septicemia, toxemia)
Contamination — Digestive Content (e.g., fecal material)
|Non-Food Safety Concerns|
Condition — Animal Diseases ** (e.g., airsacculitis)
Condition — Miscellaneous (e.g., bruises, sores and other processing defects)
Contamination — Digestive Content (e.g., ingesta)
Dressing Defects —Other (e.g., feathers)
Dressing Defects — Digestive Tract Tissue
*Represents data available as of July 13, 2000; figures are based on the 75 th percentile. Because complete data from only seven plants operating under HIMP were available, the percent defects under the traditional system were based on the same seven plants rather than the 16 plants for which baseline data are available. Thus, the results in this table cannot be compared to the previously reported baseline results from 16 plants. A full data set will be presented as soon as it is available.
**Conditions exhibiting a septicemia or toxemia are considered food safety hazards.