FSIS Roundtable Recap
On Oct. 22, AAMP and the Illinois Association of Meat Processors hosted a roundtable discussion in Rockford, Illinois along with three FSIS staff members from Washington, D.C. FSIS staff members Hany Z. Sidrak, DVM, Deputy Assistant Administrator Office of Field Operations, Jeff Canavan, Deputy Director Labeling and Program Delivery Staff and Meryl Silverman, Office of Policy and Program Development, offered important updates to those in attendance and covered a variety of topics. Below are some of the highlights.
Appendix A & B
FSIS’ newest version will be out early in 2020. Processors should have a year from that date to be in compliance. Significant changes have been made to the 2017 version due to the comments, discussions and the science being brought to the table by the industry work groups that we put together. Part of the pre-convention workshop next summer in Des Moines will feature Dr. Jeff Sindelar and Bob Hanson, both members of our working group on the scientific studies. They will break down and simplify the new documents to help our members apply it to their everyday practices.
We discussed the ongoing issues with the enforcement of the directive and its negative impact on small processors and the number of small plants giving up on slaughter because of it. This is a message we have been preaching for several years now. We were informed that FSIS is working on changing the wording of the regulation because it is too restrictive when it comes to mis-stuns. With the way it is currently written, a mis-stun is an egregious act and forces the inspector to take action, even though you may a robust plan with good corrective actions followed. This change will happen in early 2020 and will mostly likely be open for comment. AAMP will continue to monitor this and keep you updated.
We spoke to FSIS on the concerns over the amount of sample for testing that processors are being asked for. We were told that nothing has increased. If you are asked for more samples then there may have been a mistake made when your inspector filled out your volumes in PHIS. You should ask your inspector first to check this. If you are not satisfied with the results then begin to ask above them until you get an answer. If you are not satisfied, feel free to call AAMP; that’s what we are here for.
Overall we had great discussions on a number of issues and feel we are getting better responses by FSIS. Our voice is not only being heard, but also responded to as evidence by some of the changes that are coming.