USDA to Update Poultry Inspection System

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday announced a proposed rule that would modernize the country’s poultry slaughter inspection system by shifting toward a more prevention-oriented format.

The proposed rule will station federal inspectors at the end of production lines to verify that every poultry carcass meets federal regulations. It would also give USDA inspectors more flexibility to patrol processing plants and provide scientific oversight to ensure that plants are meeting required food safety performance standards.

Industry groups are pleased with the new rule, which was described as “the logical outgrowth of nearly 15 years of outstanding industry performance under the [1998] Pathogen Reduction Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) rule,” in a joint press release issued by the National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation.

“The poultry industry has spent millions of dollars and has made tremendous progress on reducing naturally occurring pathogens in raw products,” the two groups said in a joint statement.  “We've succeeded at meeting or exceeding FSIS' previous performance standards and we are confident that modernizing the poultry inspection system will enable us to build on our success in providing delicious, safe and wholesome food to our customers.”