Letters to the Editor

FSIS and food safety

The recent JAVMA News story1 on proposed changes in federal regulations related to food inspection duties in swine slaughter facilities contains statements that we believe are misleading for readers.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the federal agency charged with protecting public health by ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. Inspectors from the FSIS inspect establishments that manufacture these products and the products themselves to ensure that all products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged before the USDA mark of inspection is applied.

In all slaughter facilities, FSIS inspectors inspect every carcass and would continue to do so under the proposed regulations. Carcass-by-carcass inspection is required by the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906.

Under the proposed regulations, establishment employees would prepare and present carcasses and carcass parts to FSIS inspectors for inspection. This will allow FSIS inspectors to conduct more food safety tasks more frequently and to concentrate on offine tasks that are more important to food safety.

The FSIS is the largest federal employer of veterinarians in the United States and is dedicated to protecting public health and the food supply. The agency firmly believes that the proposed regulatory changes will modernize the inspection system, improving food safety, animal welfare, and inspection effectiveness.

Captain Kis Robertson Hale, dvm

Deputy Assistant Administrator, Chief Public Health Veterinarian, Office of Public Health Science, USDA FSIS, Washington, DC

Hany Sidrak, dvm

Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Field Operations, USDA FSIS, Washington, DC

1. Cima G. FSIS wants to privatize some pig slaughter duties. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2018;253:2022.