The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published proposed changes to both voluntary changes as well as required changes for swine slaughter facilities.
The voluntary component allows plant personnel to sort hogs before slaughter, and perform trimming of localized defects prior to inspection under FSIS. FSIS would still inspect hogs deemed acceptable for slaughter, plant personnel would address condemned animals and keep records of any animals disposed.
Under the new proposal, FSIS would have a zero-tolerance policy for market hogs exhibiting signs of moribundity, CNS conditions, and pyrexia or positive tests for chemical residue. FSIS would require to be immediately notified of any animals suspected of rare circumstances of foreign animal diseases.
The required changes include a written sanitary dressing plan to prevent contamination with fecal material, ingesta or milk through post mortem inspection. Plants would develop their own microbial sampling procedures to include a pre-evisceration sample as well as a post chill sample.
Lastly, slaughter plants would be required to add environmental sampling of food contact surfaces to their HACCP plans. Allowances are made for smaller plants to reduce regulatory burden.
The comment period closes April 2, 2018. American Farm Bureau Federation member-approved policy supports the adoption of new techniques by proven research to reduce bacterial contamination and alleviate some of the burden for small scale processors while also supporting USDA efforts to improve food safety based on a cost benefit analysis.