The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently announced a proposal to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to repeal a redundant regulatory requirement for hog slaughter establishments. The proposed rule would remove a redundant requirement that requires hog slaughter establishments to clean hog carcasses before incising.
Establishments are required to have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system that identifies potential biological, chemical or physical hazards, and the controls to prevent, reduce or eliminate those hazards at specific points in the process. Because establishments are required to operate under HACCP regulations and apply HACCP principles, this command-and-control regulatory requirement is no longer necessary to ensure food safety; its objectives are met by other regulations, including HACCP regulations.
NPPC expressed support for expansion and improvement of the current HACCP-based Inspection Models Project pilot program that has been in place at five pork plants for almost 20 years.
“It’s a practice of good government to regularly review regulations on the books, especially older ones, to ensure they are still relevant and achieving their intended purpose,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “Removing outdated and duplicative regulations, such as this one, will continue to be our focus as we seek to streamline our regulations and get them in line with HACCP principles.”
Since 1997, when FSIS began to take science-based approaches to food safety, establishments have been required to address hazards in their HACCP plans, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs) or prerequisite programs and these advancements have made the outdated regulation redundant. Currently, establishments are required to address hog carcass processing and associated hazards to prevent the adulteration of meat products prepared for human food. This regulation is no longer needed because other regulations require the sanitary handling and preparation of carcasses, organs and parts. In addition, this regulation has required hog carcass cleaning to be done at a certain point in the process instead of allowing establishments to clean the carcass at the point that makes the most sense based on the configuration of the establishment.
Under this proposal, FSIS inspectors will continue to verify that establishments’ HACCP plans are effective in controlling, reducing, or eliminating hazards at all control points in the production process.
FSIS is requesting public comment on the proposed rule to remove this redundant regulation.
There will be a 60-day period for comment once the rule is published in the Federal Register.
To view the proposed rule and information on how to comment on the rule, visit the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/proposed-rules