The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service recently announced a timetable for introducing risk-based inspection in meat processing plants.
The FSIS proposed to begin risk-based inspections this month with 30 locations, potentially expanding to about 150 locations by the end of the year.
While continuing to conduct daily inspections at all plants, the FSIS will now take into account the relative risk of what each plant produces and the ways each plant is controlling risk to more effectively allocate inspection resources. The FSIS will base inspections on a number of objective factors, such as noncompliance records and results of microbiologic tests, and will adjust resources as conditions change. The goals of the new inspection system are to be more proactive in preventing human illness and instill greater confidence in the safety of meat products.
The FSIS plans to schedule a series of technical briefings about how factors such as production volume, industry data, noncompliance records, expert elicitations, and data on foodborne disease will be part of a more robust, risk-based inspection system.
Information about risk-based inspection in meat processing plants is available from the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. The Food and Drug Administration has responsibility for foods other than meat, poultry products, and eggs—along with pet food and animal feed.