Having already received more than 17,200 comments on proposed changes to swine slaughter inspection regulations, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is extending the comment period on the proposed rule.

The 30-day extension of the comment deadline to May 2 comes at the request of industry and consumer groups, according to a statement from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

“FSIS has proposed to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments that provides public health protection at least equivalent to the existing inspection system,” the USDA’s sub-agency reported. “Market hog slaughter establishments that do not choose to operate under the new swine inspection system may continue to operate under their existing inspection system.”

The sub-agency also proposed several changes to the regulations that would affect all establishments that slaughter swine, regardless of the inspection system under which they operate or the age, size, or class of swine.

Those proposed changes would allow all swine slaughter establishments to develop sampling plans tailored to their specific operations and thus be more effective in monitoring their specific process control, according to the FSIS statement.

In addition, the FSIS contends thee changes would ensure that food-contact surfaces are sanitary and free of enteric pathogens before the start of slaughter operations.

The proposed rule can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c17775a2-fd1f-4c11-b9d2-5992741b0e94/2016-0017.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

Comments on the rule may be submitted:

  • Online via the Federal eRulemaking Portal, available at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FSIS-2016-0017 ;
  • By mail sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza III, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700; or
  • By hand or courier delivery to Patriots Plaza III, 355 E St. SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700.

All comments must include the agency name and docket number: FSIS-2016-0017.

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