FSIS moves forward on swine inspection rule

Many comments requested that FSIS withdraw proposal to remove limits on line speeds due to negative effect on animal welfare and worker safety.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

October 25, 2018

2 Min Read
FSIS moves forward on swine inspection rule
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector shows Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue around the processing floor of the Triumph Foods pork processing facility April 28, 2017. The facility houses 2,800 employees in St. Joseph, Mo.USDA photo by Preston Keres

The Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) plans to finalize a proposal published on Feb. 1, 2018, to establish a voluntary New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) for market hog slaughter establishments and mandatory provisions for all swine slaughtering establishments, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest regulatory priorities agenda.

In this proposal, USDA would also amend the regulations that apply to all establishments that slaughter swine. The new requirements would ensure that establishments implement measures to control enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. Specifically, all swine slaughter establishments would be required to implement appropriate measures to prevent contamination throughout the entire production process in their hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plans, sanitation standard operating procedures or other prerequisite programs. The new requirements would ensure that both USDA and the establishment have the documentation they need to verify the effectiveness of these measures on an ongoing basis.

NSIS will provide for increased offline inspection activities that are more directly related to food safety resulting in greater compliance with sanitation and HACCP regulations and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS received more than 83,500 comments.

Related:Modernized swine inspection rule proposed

Many of the comments requested that FSIS withdraw the proposal to remove limits on line speeds due to the negative effect on animal welfare and worker safety. “These comments will be analyzed and further addressed in the final rule,” USDA said in the "Fall 2018 Regulatory Priorities."

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) welcomed the advancement of the rule. “We are very pleased that USDA is moving forward with this important boost to food safety,” NPPC spokesman David Warner said.

At the time of the announced rule, North American Meat Institute president and chief executive officer Barry Carpenter said the proposed NSIS has been used as a pilot project in five pork plants for 15 years and has proved to be a strong inspection model.

“Those five pilot plants have produced millions of pounds of safe pork. We look forward to working with the agency as it develops a final rule that maintains a strong level of food safety in the most efficient manner,” Carpenter said.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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