Inspection changes at pork packing plants aim for accountability


Ag Update reports- In September the USDA announced the New Swine Inspection System, saying it will “modernize swine slaughter inspection and bring it into the 21st century.”

The changes mean more company involvement in the inspection process for both live animals and carcasses, with Food Safety and Inspection Service personnel maintaining the final approval on all animals both before and after slaughter.

Under the new program, inspectors will “conduct more food safety and humane handling verification tasks to protect food supply and animal welfare.”

There are currently five plants operating under the new voluntary portions of the program. Those five plants make up roughly 15% of the pork produced in the U.S.

The rule helps ensure greater accountability on the part of the plants that are participating by having two sets of eyes on the entire inspection process.

Also included in the rule are new requirements for microbial testing to ensure control of all pathogens throughout the system. All plants must also develop sanitary dressing plans, and microbial sampling must be part of the control process for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness, according to the USDA.