New Swine Inspection System Announced by USDA
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that it’s proposing to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments that increase inspection responsibility to plant operators, allowing the USDA to dedicate its resources to general oversight of food safety standards and the overall inspection process.
Plants can choose to adopt the model or continue operating under the current inspection system. Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg says, “It’s called the ‘New Swine Inspection System’ and it’s based on a 16 year pilot that the agency has conducted. In addition to the ‘New Swine Inspection System’, the proposed rule will also require additional pathogen sampling for all swine slaughter establishments. So the ‘New Swine Inspection System’ will be optional and the pathogen sampling will be for all swine slaughter establishments”
Rottenberg says that the FSIS will continue to conduct 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated. However, “USDA inspectors would then conduct more offline food safety tasks that place them in areas of the production process where they can really perform critical tasks that have a direct impact on food safety.”
In a release from the National Pork Producers Council, President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Illinois, says in support of the new inspection model, “It introduces new pork production efficiencies while encouraging the deployment of new food safety technologies in packing plants,” Maschhoff add that expanding the pilot program, “is another step forward in the industry’s ongoing focus on continuous improvement of food safety and cost efficiency.”