USDA updates pig slaughter inspection rules

pigs in barn
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Sept. 17 a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is now requiring new microbial testing at market hog slaughter establishments and created a new inspection system.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the final rule is the culmination of a science-based and data-driven rulemaking process that builds on food safety improvements made in 1997.

Slaughter plants can choose whether they want to operate under the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System or continue operating under traditional inspection.

The regulations were amended to require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue to conduct inspection of animals before slaughter and carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated by Congress. Inspectors can also still stop or slow the line as necessary.

Under the New Swine Slaughter Inspection system, Food Safety and Inspection Service offline inspectors will conduct more food safety and humane handling verification tasks to protect the food supply and animal welfare.


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