USDA Releases Proposed Rule to “Modernize” Pork Inspection
Last week, we reported that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cleared USDA’s “Modernization of Pork Slaughter” rule. The new rule – which has garnered significant industry support – aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal inspection process for pork and to allow for the rapid adoption of new food safety technologies in pork slaughter. The rule could potentially lead to an increase in U.S. hog slaughter capacity.
On January 19, 2018, USDA released the proposed rule. Under the proposed rule, hog slaughter plants could voluntarily join a new proposed inspection system whereby establishment personnel would be responsible for sorting and removing unfit animals and identifying defects before FSIS inspection. FSIS inspectors who currently perform this function would be moved to other areas of the plant focused more on food safety. FSIS online inspectors would be reduced to a maximum of three per line per shift. The rule also specifically proposes to lift caps on line speeds in meat processing plants.
FSIS will be accepting stakeholder comments on the proposed rule for 60 days following its imminent publication in the Federal Register.