Farmer Spotlight

What's the Background?

FSIS indicated that it intended to move forward with a Modernization of Pork Slaughter rule in 2016. A cornerstone of modernization is HIMP, an inspection system under which packing plants take greater responsibility for carcass inspection, with FSIS employees ensuring the effectiveness of these activities as well as focusing on other food-safety verification tasks. HIMP is designed to allow for more efficiency and flexibility in slaughter inspection and for more focus on food-safety preventative controls identified in the plant’s HACCP plan. Currently, five U.S. pork packing plants are participating in a HIMP pilot project; enactment of a modernization rule will make this system available to all packers. HIMP is a step forward for food safety; the five pork plants already operating under HIMP have a good track record. The plants have made significant investments in training and have used their own staff to perform food-safety monitoring functions under continuous verification from FSIS inspection staff. Crucially, HIMP creates an environment where new food-safety technologies can be rapidly incorporated into a facility’s HACCP plan and implemented under federal inspection. There is no rational basis for claims that wider adoption of HIMP will create new animal handling issues or jeopardize the safety of workers. HIMP does nothing to alter the Humane Slaughter Act, or any FSIS rules related to animal welfare. Worker safety remains a primary concern of the meat packing industry, and NPPC is not aware of any increased occurrence of worker safety issues under the HIMP pilot program.

Why Does It Matter to Our Producers?

FSIS, together with the industries it regulates, has continually refined its use of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to promote the safety and wholesomeness of meat products. To keep moving forward in promoting food safety, FSIS initiated HIMP to better focus its inspection resources and partner with industry to better ensure safe products are entering the marketplace. Expansion of HIMP beyond the current pilot program, through a Modernization of Pork Slaughter rule, will help ensure safe pork products.

What is NPPC's Position?

NPPC strongly supports the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) HACCP Inspection Models Project, or HIMP, and the agency’s plans to expand it through a Modernization of Pork Slaughter rule. The regulation will increase efficiency and effectiveness of the federal inspection process and allow for the rapid adoption of new food-safety technologies in pork slaughter. It also has the potential to increase U.S. hog slaughter capacity. NPPC is urging USDA to finalize the pork slaughter rule.

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