The US government is to push ahead with a new risk-based meat inspection system in April despite concerns raised by industry and consumer groups. //
Federal meat inspectors will be conducting "robust" risk-based inspection (RBI) in 254 processing plants in 30 locations starting in April, said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Food Safey, Dr Richard A Raymond in a news conference yesterday.
Meat industry and consumer groups have expressed concern at the announcement. While they support the idea of RBI, they say that the plan is not ready for rolling out so soon.
Under Secretary Raymond said the plan will expand to 150 locations by the end of 2007.
The idea of RBI is to spot problems before they develop, to anticipate and prevent outbreaks rather than just react to them after the event.
Meat inspectors already conduct inspections on a daily basis. Under the new system FSIS says it is going to make better use of the information that is already collected.
FSIS will use the daily inspection data to assess the relative risk of the products made at a plant, which when taken into account with the actions the plant is taking to control the risk, will help FSIS to target inspections where they will be most needed.
"To continue to prevent foodborne illness, we have to improve our prevention capabilities, not just respond quickly after an outbreak occurs," said Raymond. "Our inspectors visit every one of these plants every day and that won't change. What will change is we will no longer be treating every plant like every other plant in terms of its adverse public health potential," he added.
The meat industry is not objecting to the principle of RBI but to the way it is being introduced.
The American Meat Institute (AMI) urged the USDA to slow down the process and to make participation voluntary. The industry was also annoyed by the faPage: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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