USDA PLANS ROUNDTABLE ON INSPECTION SYSTEM

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The Agriculture Department plans to hold a roundtable discussion to get input from supermarkets and other segments of the industry on the best way to implement a new mandatory meat inspection system -- a regulatory step the meat industry says is superfluous.year the agency's Food Safety Inspection Service has been developing a so-called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The Agriculture Department plans to hold a roundtable discussion to get input from supermarkets and other segments of the industry on the best way to implement a new mandatory meat inspection system -- a regulatory step the meat industry says is superfluous.

year the agency's Food Safety Inspection Service has been developing a so-called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system for all federally inspected meat and poultry plants. The agency has held several hearings across the country to get input.

In scheduling a roundtable meeting for some time in March, USDA officials have invited retailers, consumer groups, producers and farmers, scientists and public health officials. Most of these groups have already sent comments or testified before the agency on what form they would like to see an HACCP program take.

According to an agency announcement, the roundtable is needed to ensure all parties interested in an HACCP have commented. Boyle said USDA has had enough input and should implement a program rather than seek further comment on it.