U.S.D.A. proposes altering poultry inspection process

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a proposed rule to alter the inspection process for poultry and save money. Currently, some F.S.I.S. inspectors in poultry processing plants perform activities that are unrelated to food safety, according to the U.S.D.A., such as inspecting carcasses for defects such as bruising. The proposed rule would halt those inspection activities and shift resources to efforts deemed critical to food safety.

“The modernization plan will protect public health, improve the efficiency of poultry inspections in the U.S., and reduce spending,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “The new inspection system will reduce the risk of food borne illness by focusing F.S.I.S. inspection activities on those tasks that advance our core mission of food safety. By revising current procedures and removing outdated regulatory requirements that do not help combat food borne illness, the result will be a more efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.”

The F.S.I.S. said it will continue to conduct on-line carcass-by-carcass inspection as mandated by law. The proposed rule will allow F.S.I.S. personnel to conduct a more efficient carcass-by-carcass inspection with agency resources focused on more effective food safety measures, according to F.S.I.S.

Mr. Vilsack estimated that by changing the inspection process the U.S.D.A. will save approximately $256.6 million.

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