FSIS Proposes Rule Concerning Recall Procedures

March 30, 2010

By Riëtte van Laack

On March 25, 2010, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”) of the USDA published a proposed rule requiring poultry and meat establishments subject to FSIS inspection to promptly notify the authorities when an adulterated or misbranded meat or poultry product has “entered commerce.”

The proposed rule implements certain provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill.  The Act amends the Federal Meat Inspection Act (“FMIA”) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) to include a requirement that inspected establishments that “believe or have reason to believe, that an adulterated or misbranded [product] received by or originating from the establishment has entered into commerce, to promptly notify [FSIS] of that belief.”  The notification must include information about the type, amount, origin, and designation of the product.  Previously, the law and regulations did not specifically address notification to FSIS.

The proposed regulation requires that FSIS be notified as soon as possible but at the latest within 48 hours of the time that the establishment learns that an adulterated or misbranded product has been received or been released into commerce.  FSIS specifically requests comments whether 48 hrs is an appropriate time frame.

The proposed rule also includes a requirement that any FSIS-inspected meat or poultry establishment prepare a written recall plan that specifies how the establishment determines whether and how to conduct a recall.  This recall plan may be incorporated into the establishment’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (“HACCP”) plan.  The proposed rule also includes a requirement for written records of annual reviews/reassessments of the establishment’s HACCP plan.

FSIS expects the new regulations to improve recall response time.  Moreover, FSIS believes that a written recall plan will increase recall effectiveness and efficiency.  In addition, documented annual reviews/reassessments of the HACCP plan will help FSIS determine whether an establishment responds to new developments and emerging hazards.

All documentation and records required under the new rule must be made available for inspection.  Comments on the proposed rule are due on or before May 24, 2010.

Categories: Foods