USDA Urged to Implement Poultry Processing Inspection Changes

US - The House Appropriations Committee has called on the USDA to implement changes in the poultry meat inspection system that have been on trial over the last decade.
calendar icon 14 June 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The move comes in an amendment to the 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which the committee approved yesterday (13 June).

The bill will now head to the House floor for consideration.

The amendment proposed by Rep Jack Kingston adds report language on reducing food-borne illness with regard to poultry inspections.

The amendment, which was adopted on voice vote, calls for the science based inspection system to be put in place at once across the US.

The amendment read: “The Committee notes that the current poultry slaughter inspection system has been in place since 1957. On January 27, 2012, USDA proposed a science-based rule that would begin to replace this outdated approach, and replace it with one that is based on pathogen reduction and control. USDA inspectors would monitor establishment process controls in removing diseased birds, ensure compliance with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plans and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures, conduct ante mortem inspection, and collect samples for pathogen testing. On-line inspectors will still conduct carcass-by-carcass inspection to ensure that diseased carcasses are condemned by establishment workers according to regulatory requirements. The Committee believes that implementation of this system, that has been tested over ten years, will lead to a reduction of pathogens in poultry and a corresponding reduction in foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. The Committee urges the Department to finalize this rule.”

The proposed Agriculture Appropriations legislation funds agricultural and food programmes and services, including food safety, animal and plant health programmes, rural development and farm services, marketplace oversight, and nutrition programmes.

The legislation is designed to support American farmers and ranchers, sustain food and drug safety efforts, and trim unnecessary spending.

The bill proposes $19.5 billion in discretionary funding, which is $1.3 billion below the 2013 funding and is approximately equal to the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts.

This total is $516 million below the President’s request for the programmes.

“I applaud the Committee approval of this bill today. From keeping our food and drug supply the safest in the world, to supporting our farmers and ranchers who create millions of American jobs, to helping our most vulnerable families put meals on the table, the funding in this bill is critical to our nation’s economy,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.

“The bill reported out of Committee today will help America’s agricultural research remain cutting edge, maintain vibrant rural communities, provide nutrition to those most vulnerable, keep our markets competitive in the global economy, and maintain the safest food and drug supply in the world. And, it does this while cutting spending by $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, ”Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt said.

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