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The Poultry Science Association Expresses Support for USDA Proposal to Modernize U.S. Poultry Inspection System

CHAMPAIGN, IL (March 5, 2012) – The Poultry Science Association (PSA) today announced its broad backing of a government proposal to update federal inspection procedures in poultry processing facilities in the U.S. The proposed changes, as summarized in a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) press release, will modernize the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) approach to young chicken and turkey slaughter inspection “by focusing FSIS inspection resources on the areas of the poultry production system that pose the greatest risk to food safety.”

Currently, as USDA notes, some FSIS workers in poultry facilities perform a variety of activities unrelated to improving food safety, such as identifying relatively superficial defects on birds, such as bruising. The proposed changes have been designed, according to USDA, to ensure that “all FSIS inspection activities will focus on critical food safety tasks to ensure that agency resources are tied directly to protecting public health and reducing foodborne illnesses.” In addition, the plan will replace a number of outdated regulatory requirements with “more flexible and effective testing and process control requirements” and mandate that all poultry processing facilities ensure that their operating procedures “prevent contamination in the production process and provide supporting data to FSIS personnel.”

Speaking on behalf of PSA, Dr. S. F. (“Sarge”) Bilgili, a professor in Auburn University’s Department of Poultry Science, and a past president of PSA, said:

“We applaud USDA dedicating more resources to food safety. Technology has changed. The organoleptic inspection system introduced in the 1950s was relevant then, but not today. While the details will of course need to be worked out, the global changes that the USDA has proposed – making the entire approach to poultry processing inspections more efficient, science-based and consumer-safety oriented – are heading in the right direction.”

Details on USDA’s proposed plan for modernizing poultry inspection in the U.S. can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_%26_policies/Proposed_Rules/index.asp. Public comments on the proposed changes will be accepted until April 26, 2012.

About PSA

The Poultry Science Association (PSA) is a global scientific society dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge generated by poultry research – knowledge that enhances human and animal health and well-being, and provides for the ethical, sustainable, and economical production of food. Founded in 1908, PSA has a global membership of about 2,000. For more information, go to www.poultryscience.org.

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