Sens. Lugar, Harkin Promoting Alternative Meat Inspection Systems.
Current federal meat and poultry inspection laws require each carcass to be inspected at slaughter by USDA officials. The pilot programs are testing a process that would put USDA inspectors in more of an oversight role. In fact, alternative models of inspection are being tested not only in the United States, but also in Australia and Canada. In all three, the goal is to give industry personnel added responsibility for conducting carcass-by-carcass inspections with government inspectors overseeing these activities. Data generated by the pilot projects then will be reviewed by the appropriate government agencies to determine the effectiveness of the alternative models.
In the United States, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has cast doubt on the legality of the pilot project, with the meat inspectors' union claiming current law requires federal employees to visually inspect each carcass, not merely oversee company inspectors. In hopes of ending the court battle, USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service last week proposed assigning a federal inspector to a fixed position on the line to inspect each carcass. The proposal is intended to keep USDA's microbial testing procedures in place while appeasing the inspectors' union, which claims that jobs and food safety are in jeopardy. (See F&DW Sept. 11.)
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|Publication:||Food & Drink Weekly|
|Date:||Sep 18, 2000|
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