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USDA Meat Inspection Activity Remains Strong

The USDA mark of inspection for food safety was sought last quarter by farmers raising 35.4 million head of livestock and 2.2 billion birds.

Production numbers in USDA’s third quarter were not far off from levels achieved during the first half of the year. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) operates on the federal fiscal year schedule that runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 31.

In the third quarter enforcement report for the three month period ending June 30, FSIS’s overall production numbers are not far off from the two previous quarters. FSIS condemned 51,377 pounds of livestock during the quarter, for a total of 172,960 pounds during the year.

Poultry carcass condemnations during the quarter totaled over 8.3 million pounds for over 25 million pounds for the first nine months of the year.

Detention actions by the FSIS Office of Program Evaluation, Enforcement and Review (OPEER) and the Office of International Affairs (OIA) were both down during the third quarter.

OPEER detentions of meat, poultry, and eggs totaled 44,177, a figure it exceeded in the two previous periods. OIA’s detention of 139,234 pounds was also a lower number than was achieved during the first two quarters.

OPEER issued 241 warnings in the first quarter, 263 in the second and 261 in the third quarter for a total of 765.

During the third quarter, FSIS conducted more than 1.5 million “verification procedures” with a 98.3 percent compliance rate. This means the agency documented 26,619 incidents of noncompliance.

The quarter enforcement report also includes lists of plants were FSIS took administrative actions, including suspensions. Fresno-based Beef Packers Inc. was suspended on May 15, but it was held in abeyance the same day. The decision apparently stemmed from interference or assault of meat inspectors.

Cargill Value Added Meats in Springdale, Arkansas spent August 4 to August 10 on suspension for issues involving sanitation, hazard analysis and critical control point planning and operating procedures.

Farmland Foods Inc., Monmouth, IL and JBS in Souderton, PA were both suspended one day and reinstated the next. And JBS at Hyrum, UT was also suspended and reinstated all on the same day.

© Food Safety News
  • Minkpuppy

    Dan,
    The correct acronym for the Office of International Affairs is OIA, not OIR. Don’t know who OIR is but I guess they’re important. 😉
    Why no data on condemned parts in livestock and poultry? Is it included in the carcass condemnation numbers? It’s common to condemn parts even when the whole carcass shows no sign of systemic illness. I’m surprised that it’s not broken down because that data is collected daily.
    The abeyance on the suspension for assault/interference with inspectors is pretty typical. Attempts to intimidate inspectors to keep the kill line running have been going on since meat inspection began. Usually resolved within a couple of hours if no one was physically hurt and after everyone calms down and gets interviewed etc.
    It would be helpful if there was more information on the reasons behind the one day suspensions. There’s a number of things that can result in a 24 hour suspension, most of which can be fixed within a day. By not mentioning the cause, the Agency leaves itself wide open for speculation as to what happened and that they’re bowing to industry pressure when that isn’t the case.