The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Pont (HACCP) Inspection Models Project (HIMP) project in hog slaughter establishments will continue, announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is its latest evaluation of the project. The report’s objective was to determine whether the HIMP inspection system is performing as well as the existing swine processing inspection system “in terms of safety and wholesomeness of hog slaughter and overall consumer protection.” In comparing the five HIMP plants to 21 non-HIMP plants with comparable production volume, line speed and days of slaughter operation, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) found that the hog slaughterhouses participating in HIMP are performing as well as the non-HIMP plants and are meeting FSIS expectations for the overall HIMP project. “On this basis, FSIS sees no reason to discontinue HIMP in market hog establishments,” the report read. The evaluation assessed the establishment’s execution of its HIMP slaughter Process Control Plan (PCP), its Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOP) and HACCP plans, and the organoleptic and microbiologic outcomes of these plans. Overall, the report found that FSIS inspectors perform 1.4 times more off-line verification inspection procedures in HIMP market hog establishments than in non-HIMP market hog establishments. Compared to the 2006-2010 period, when noncompliance rates of Sanitation SOP and HACCP regulations were 1.2 times higher in HIMP than in non-HIMP plants, noncompliance was 1.1 times higher in non-HIMP than HIMP plants in 2010-2013. As for HIMP facilities’ outcomes in 2012-2013, food safety conditions for systemic diseases in carcasses such as toxemia or septicemia were three in 100 thousand; carcass contamination with fecal material, ingesta and milk was below 5 per 10,000 carcasses; and food safety conditions from systemic disease in live animals such as neurologic conditions found ante-mortem rates were less than one in 10 thousand. And HIMP plants had nine violative levels of chemical residues versus 115 in the non-HIMP comparisons. “Based on these initial findings, the food safety outcomes at the pilot facilities are on par with those operating under other inspection systems,” an FSIS spokesperson told Food Safety News. “However, additional analyses, including a science-based risk assessment, will be required to determine its impact on foodborne illness rates, and whether this pilot program could be applied to additional establishments.” A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from August 2013 recommended that FSIS continue its evaluation of its pilot project for young hogs and collect and analyze the information necessary to determine whether the pilot project is meeting its purpose, and the agency concurred.