FSIS Allows Faster Poultry Production Lines

The faster line speeds would be permitted under a new inspection system the agency has proposed.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service proposed a new inspection system for young chicken and turkey slaughter plants, saying the change resulted from the 2011 regulatory review required of agencies by a presidential executive order.

Comments are being accepted until April 26 via www.regulations.gov (docket number FSIS-2011-0012).

The new inspection system would include required sorting so only carcasses that the plant deems likely to pass inspection are presented when FSIS conducts online carcass inspection. It would permit faster line speeds and replace the existing Finished Product Standards with a requirement that establishments using the new system maintain records to document that products resulting from their slaughter operations meet the regulatory definition of ready-to-cook poultry.

These changes "may facilitate the reduction of pathogen levels in poultry products by permitting FSIS to conduct more food safety related offline inspection activities, will allow for better use of FSIS inspection resources, and will lead to industry innovations in operations and processing," the rule states.

FSIS is also proposing to require all poultry slaughter establishments to develop, implement, and maintain, as part of their HACCP plans, sanitation SOPs, or other programs to prevent contamination by pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, include sampling and analysis for microbial organisms at the pre-chill and post-chill points in the process. FSIS said it is proposing to remove the current requirement that poultry establishments test for generic E. coli and the Salmonella pathogen reduction performance standards for poultry.

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