USDA today announced a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection. “For the first time in more than five decades, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is modernizing inspection at market hog slaughter establishments with a goal of protecting public health while allowing for food safety innovations,” the department says in a related press release. This rule gives FSIS to begin implementing the new program in swine establishments. Following are some components of the new rule:
- There will be new requirements for microbial testing that apply to all swine slaughterhouses to demonstrate that they are controlling for pathogens throughout the slaughter system.
- FSIS will establish a new meat inspection system for market hog establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS).
- FSIS will now require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness.
- Market hog establishments will be able to choose if they will operate under NSIS or continue to operate under traditional inspection.
FSIS will continue to conduct 100% inspection of animals before slaughter and 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated by Congress. FSIS inspectors will also retain the authority to stop or slow the line as necessary to ensure that food safety and inspection are achieved.
The National Pork Producers Council applauded the new system that “incentivizes investment in new technologies while ensuring a safe supply of wholesome American pork.”