North American Meat Institute: New Swine Inspection System Finalized; Voluntary System Allows for Innovation in Food Safety

WASHINGTON, DC – The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services’ (FSIS) final swine inspection rule allows for further food safety innovation while continuing to ensure consumers have access to safe, wholesome pork. FSIS today released the text of the final rule, called Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection.

“Although we have not reviewed the final rule in detail, FSIS has created this system by relying on science and years of experience that will continue to ensure the consumer is getting safe and wholesome pork,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “The New Swine Inspection System will allow plants who choose to participate an opportunity for food safety innovation, a benefit to consumers and our industry at large. Under both the new and existing systems, our members’ highest priorities are to provide safe products to the public and to ensure the workforce on which they depend, is also safe.”

The New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) provides swine slaughter establishments with an alternative to the current inspection system. NSIS will allow FSIS inspectors more time to focus attention on verifying food safety and animal welfare requirements, and will stimulate food safety innovation. The NSIS rule is based on a pilot program FSIS initiated more than 15 years ago, giving the agency a wealth of data and deep knowledge base from which to establish NSIS.

Under NSIS, plant employees in swine slaughter establishments that choose to enter the program would conduct the manual sorting activities for defects in carcasses and parts currently handled by entry-level FSIS workers. Critically, just like all slaughter plants today, FSIS inspectors will continue to inspect 100% of live animals prior to slaughter and all carcasses after slaughter.

For more information on NSIS see our NAMI Fact Sheet and Q and A.

The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.