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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Efforts to shift to risk-based meat inspection hold promise, according to joint comments submitted to USDA by the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the Food Products Association (FPA).
The new risk-based inspection (RBI) system is being developed by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and would subject establishments processing products with the highest likelihood of causing human illness, in particularly establishments with lesser risk control, to a more intense application of inspection resources.
The two trade associations stated that they "strongly support the concept of risk-based inspection," and applauded the agency for developing the process. However, they suggested that FSIS also consider long-term plans to apply RBI over the broader food supply chain continuum from farm to table.
Currently, the proposal is focused on risk-based application of resources in meat and poultry processing establishments. The agency is only just beginning to consider how to apply RBI to slaughter operations.
AMI and FPA also encouraged FSIS to use indisputable objective measures in any RBI system to avoid subjective disagreements and provide for the most orderly categorization of establishments for resource allocation purposes. The groups also suggested that the agency ensure that RBI does not adversely affect international trade or the concept of equivalency with trading partners.