Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food has agreed to take corrective actions in two areas identified by a USDA audit of its food safety system for pork products exported to the United States.
During an in-country equivalence verification audit, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Sevice (FSIS) found Denmark’s Veterinary and Food Administration was not confirming acceptable testing results from livestock carcasses and parts subjected to routine government chemical residue testing before signing export certificates.
And the FSIS audit team found Denmark’s chemical residue program has provisions in place that allow for chemical residue samples with violative test results to be re-analyzed, but a records review found no re-testing occurred for products shipped to the United States.
FSIS auditors visited Denmark last Nov. 4-15, 2010, and the final audit report was released on April 1, 2020.
Denmark exports to the United States include thermally processed, commercially sterile pork; ready-to-eat (RTE) pork fully cooked without subsequent exposure to the environment; RTE fully cooked pork; RTE dried pork; RTE acidified/fermented pork (without cooking); raw intact pork; raw non-intact pork; and not ready-to-eat otherwise processed pork.
Six pork slaughter and processing establishments and four pork processing establishments in Denmark were visited by the FSIS auditors along with two laboratories — one a microbiological unit and the other a chemical residue unit.
The 10 pork establishments were chosen from 24 facilities that export pork products to the United States.
USDA’s audit of Denmark’s food safety inspection system governing pork did not identify any deficiencies or any immediate threat to public health.
USDA audits of foreign meat production focus on six areas:
- Government Oversight
- Government Verification
- Government Sanitation Verification
- Government HACCP System Verification
- Government Chemical Residue Program
- Government Microbiological Pathogen and Process Control
“During the establishment visits, the FSIS auditors paid particular attention to the extent to which industry and government interacted to control hazards and prevent noncompliance that threatens food safety,” according to the audit report.
Denmark promised to address the findings of the audit report with corrective actions where necessary during the audit exit meeting last Nov. 15.
USDA also subjected 230,265,137 pounds of pork exported to the United States from Denmark to 100 percent re-inspection from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2019. For 20,385,674 pounds of Danish pork additional types of inspection occurred. These USDA inspections resulted in 129,310 pounds of Denmark’s pork being rejected for public health reasons. For example, one lot or 9,735 pounds of pork bellies were rejected for fecal contamination.
Denmark adopts various European Union (EU) laws and regulations about the production of food of animal origins.
The previous audit before this one was completed in March 2018.
FSIS auditors confirmed that in-plant inspection personnel including veterinarians and inspectors are full-time government employees paid by the Danish government. A Danish audit unit also exists to confirm that exports to the U.S comply with USDA requirements.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)