WASHINGTON — A Government Accountability Office report contends that U.S. Department of Agriculture did not adequately analyze the data from pilot projects meant to be the basis for new rules regarding inspections of poultry and hog processing plants.
For example, GAO said USDA evaluation of a young chicken pilot was based on two 2-year samples instead of the full 10-year duration of the pilot, while it did not analyze data from a young turkey pilot because the sample size was too small.
USDA cited these pilots in a proposed rule that includes an optional inspection program for chicken and turkeys.
GAO also found USDA did not provide enough information on its cost-benefit analysis for the new rule.
Moving forward, GAO recommends that USDA conduct a complete analysis of its young hog pilot and clarify the basis of the proposed poultry rule to the public.
The USDA asserts that the GAO report did not include a full picture of the food safety benefits seen under the pilot programs, according to a blog post by Al Almanza, administrator, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
He also said FSIS is already working to carry out GAO’s recommendations.
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