USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service found no deficiencies threatening public health in a new onsite equivalence verification audit of Chile.

Chile’s current exports to the United States include; raw intact beef, lamb, mutton, pork, chicken, and turkey; along with raw non-intact chicken and turkey; and not ready-to-eat and otherwise processed chicken. 

The FSIS sent an audit team to Chili from Jan. 13-28 this year to determine whether Chile’s food safety inspection system governing meat and poultry “remains equivalent to that of the United States, with the ability to export products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and correctly labeled and packaged.”

The audit report was released on July 2 to the Servicio Agrícola  Ganadero (Agricultural and Livestock Service) in Santiago. Chili was last subjected to a USDA foreign equivalency audit in 2018. 

Eighteen establishments are currently eligible to export to the United States. The 2020 audit focused on nine of these including two chicken, one chicken and turkey, one turkey, one pork, two beef, one lamb, and one beef and lamb slaughter and processing establishments.  Audits also include regulatory offices and laboratories. 

Foreign equivalence audits include six components.  These include:

 (1) Government Oversight (e.g., Organization and Administration); 

(2) Government Statutory Authority and Food Safety and Other Consumer Protection Regulations (e.g., Inspection System Operation, Product Standards, and Labeling, and Humane Handling); 

(3) Government Sanitation; 

(4) Government Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System;

 (5) Government Chemical Residue Testing Programs; and 

(6) Government Microbiological Testing Programs. 

The FSIS audit for 2020 did not identify any deficiencies that represented an immediate threat to public health. Audit findings discussed with Chilean officials include:

  • The central competent authority (CCA) does not have a mechanism or procedure in place that requires that livestock carcasses and parts subjected to routine chemical residue testing be precluded from export to the United States until receipt and confirmation of acceptable testing results.
  •  Government inspectors did not observe the interior of the poultry carcasses during the post- mortem inspection. The incomplete observation of the interior of the carcass is a repeat finding from the 2018 audit. 
  • Government inspectors did not verify that the hazard analyses addressed chemical hazards associated with restricted ingredients (e.g., sodium phosphate and potassium phosphate).
  • Government inspectors did not verify the HACCP plans complied with the CCA’s requirements for HACCP plan content.
  • Government inspectors did not verify the establishments complied with the CCA’s requirements for HACCP record-keeping.

An exit meeting was held on Jan. 28 in Santiago, Chile, with SAG. At this meeting, the FSIS auditors presented the preliminary findings from the audit. An analysis of the findings within each component did not identify any deficiencies that represented an immediate threat to public health . SAG committed to addressing the preliminary audit findings as presented. FSIS will evaluate the adequacy of SAG’s documentation of proposed corrective actions and base future equivalence verification activities on the information provided.

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