Johnston on 9/17/2008
Source of Article: www.meatingplace.com
– Meat processors should familiarize themselves with the Food Safety and Inspection
Service's new methodology of conducting food safety assessments (FSAs) and the potential problems they will present to the
That was the message from Kerri Harris, president of the International HACCP
Alliance, as she addressed more than 150 attendees at a meat industry
conference focused on preventing E. coli O157:H7.
The conference is jointly sponsored by the North American Meat Processors
Association (NAMP), American Meat Institute (AMI), National Meat Association
(NMA), and American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP).
Harris credited FSIS for trying to achieve more consistency in FSAs and continuing to review the new methodology. (See FSIS
launching new method of food safety assessments on Meatingplace.com,
August 25, 2008.) However, she criticized using what she characterized as
very broad "yes or no" questions that do not relate to food safety
programs and regulatory requirements and leave too much to the interpretation
of the Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer (EIAOs)
conducting the audits.
Harris pointed to several questions as examples, including "Is the
equipment free of cracks, pitting, rust or other defects that could affect
cleaning and sanitizing procedures?"
"That depends on the eye of the beholder, how well my contacts are
working that day and how hard I want to look," she said.
Another question asks, "Are there any findings during the course of the FSA
that raise a concern as to whether the sanitation system is adequate to meet
the sanitation performance standard requirements (e.g. ventilation,
condensation, structural integrity)?"
Harris used this question to point out that while FSIS inspectors are in the
plants daily tracking such information, EIAOs
conducting the new FSAs may come up with findings
that conflict with the those of the daily
The new methodology introduces an unnecessary layer of regulation on
establishments, NMA Director Emeritus Rosemary Mucklow
told Meatingplace.com. "There needs to be accountability for the
assigned (daily) inspectors, not some new layer on top of these