The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is going ahead with plans to stop discounted enforcement prices in the meat industry despite strong opposition during a comment period.

The consultation covered the proposal to remove discounts on charges for enforcement activity so non-compliant businesses that generate more work no longer benefit from discounts.

Of 16 responses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, four agreed with the plans, three were neutral and nine were against them.  

The FSA’s decision means charges will be invoiced without discount beginning March 27, 2023. Hourly rates for enforcement activity have yet to be set for 2023 to

Continue Reading FSA to stop discounted meat enforcement charges

Editor’s note: This is part four of a four-part series.

In the previous three articles, I described what I consider the underlying causes of the devolution of FSIS as an organization. Any fool can criticize. I am not a fool. Here is what I would do to address my criticisms if I were the FSIS Administrator. You may call me naïve; but, where there is a will, there is a way. The impossible just takes a little longer. 

Mission

I consider the 1993 decision by FSIS to declare itself a public health agency with a mission to “prevent foodborne illness

Continue Reading FSIS and fixing the problem

— OPINION —

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a 4-part series.

Between 1906 and 1992, FSIS and its predecessors attracted minimal public attention as they quietly pursued their assigned mission: assure that adulterated and/or misbranded meat, poultry, or egg products are not distributed in commerce. Then in January 1993, improperly prepared raw ground beef patties at “Jack in the Box” restaurants resulted in the deaths of several small children. The primary problem was foodservice, not inspection. Had “Jack in the Box” properly handled and prepared the product, the offending bacteria, Escherichia coli O157:H7, would have been destroyed. 

Continue Reading FSIS and a fundmental truth

Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series.

I had two simultaneous careers: the U.S. Army Reserve and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). I graduated from the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) with a masters degree in Strategic Studies. I earned a bachelors of science, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and masters in Veterinary Pathology with a minor in Meat Science. I participated in strategic planning on two general staffs. I was an Inspector-in-Charge in slaughter and processing establishments in the pre-HACCP era, a member of the team that implemented the Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and

Continue Reading Federal meat inspection has failed to adapt to operational environment

Some food safety staff at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are being asked if they want to go on strike because of their pay. 

Several hundred meat inspectors, vets, and office-based staff in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are involved, said Unison, a union in the United Kingdom.

Mike Short, Unison’s head of local government, said the FSA needs to come up with a higher offer to avoid any disruption to meat supplies during the upcoming holiday season.

“FSA staff play a vital role in keeping contaminated meat off people’s plates. But many must work in difficult and unpleasant conditions inspecting 

Continue Reading FSA staff may strike over pay; agency consults on meat charges

Authorities such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are struggling with a skills gap after the United Kingdom left the European Union, according to a report.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said there is a problem for agencies in recruiting and keeping the skills needed to regulate effectively in their new and expanded roles.

There is a shortage of veterinarians to monitor food safety and animal welfare in abattoirs and toxicologists to assess food risks and chemical safety – increasing the risks for consumers.

A lack of vets in abattoirs driven by increased demand led to temporary measures

Continue Reading FSA struggling with skills gap post-Brexit says report

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and Arkansas have finalized a cooperative agreement under which state inspectors rather than federal inspectors may inspect meat products produced for shipment within the state.

Under the agreement, the state inspection program must enforce requirements “at least equal to” those implemented under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).

With the addition of Arkansas, 29 states now have Meat and Poultry Inspection Programs (MPI).  In states with MPI programs, establishments have the option to apply for federal or state inspection.

Products produced under state inspection is limited to intrastate commerce unless the producing establishment

Continue Reading FSIS and Arkansas sign cooperative agreement for meat inspection program

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of Oregon have reached a cooperative agreement, under which the state inspection program may inspect meat products produced for shipment within the state.

Under the cooperative agreement, the state inspection program must develop, administer, and enforce requirements “at least equal to” those imposed under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).

“Today’s announcement with Oregon will help strengthen our nation’s food system and help prevent supply chain bottlenecks,” said USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary Sandra Eskin. “This program is beneficial to small meat and poultry processors in building their local and

Continue Reading Oregon’s state inspection program is 28th in the nation

New technology could bring benefits to meat inspection in the United Kingdom but there are still issues to overcome, according to a report.

A project assessed the feasibility of using sensor technologies and advanced data analytics for poultry inspection. It focused on post-mortem inspection and included technologies such as visual, near-infrared, infrared and hyperspectral, X-ray and ultrasonic as well as IT-enabled benefits.

Poultry is the top consumed meat in the UK. Inspection is manual and challenging because of the short time to check each bird and the constant level of concentration required. Human error is possible and it is subjective
Continue Reading Project looks at how to modernize meat inspection

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Quarterly Enforcement Reports always begin the same way. They wrap up the thousands of inspection procedures performed by FSIS staff at federally inspected establishments into one number,

For Oct. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2021, that number is 98.7 percent, which is the “compliance rate.” It’s what you get when 1.8 million “verification procedures” are performed by FSIS personnel, and 23,002 are documented for noncompliance.

The report for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022 explains the enforcement system this way: “Each time inspection program personnel make a noncompliance determination, they complete
Continue Reading FSIS reports first enforcement numbers for federal fiscal year 2022