WASHINGTON — In a shift that will save money for businesses and taxpayers while improving food safety, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing a modernization of young chicken and turkey slaughter inspection in the U.S. by focusing FSIS inspection resources on the areas of the poultry production system that pose the greatest risk to food safety.
Currently, some FSIS employees in poultry establishments perform several activities which are unrelated to food safety, such as identifying visual defects like bruising, while others conduct the critical inspection activities
Changes. Under the proposed plan, all FSIS inspection activities will focus on critical food safety tasks to ensure that agency resources are tied directly to protecting public health and reducing foodborne illnesses.
Additionally, some outdated regulatory requirements are being removed and replaced with more flexible and effective testing and process control requirements.
Finally, all poultry establishments will now have to ensure that their procedures prevent contamination in the production process and provide supporting data to FSIS personnel.
By focusing inspectors only on the areas that are crucial to food safety, these changes will not only enhance consumer safety but will improve efficiency saving taxpayers more than $90 million over three years and lower production costs at least $256.6 million per year.
FSIS will continue to conduct on-line carcass-by-carcass inspection as mandated by law. This rule will allow FSIS personnel to conduct a more efficient carcass-by-carcass inspection with agency resources focused on more effective food safety measures.
Data collected by the Agency over the past several years suggests that offline inspection activities are more effective in improving food safety.
Inspection activities conducted off the evisceration line include pathogen sampling, and verifying that establishments are maintaining sanitary conditions and controlling food safety hazards at critical points in the production process.