April 2, 2007
Risk-based inspection plan debutsThe
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will soon roll out its new risk-based
inspection of processing plants. Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard
Raymond said the new system goes into effect this month with 30 locations
representing about 254 establishments and potentially expanding to
approximately 150 locations by the end of 2007. Under the new system, FSIS will
take into account the relative risk of what each processing plant produces and
how each plant is controlling risk in its operations. Plants with a history of
non-compliance will receive more scrutiny than those with a clean record.
The move has caused some concern in Congress, where the recent peanut butter
recall continues to reverberate.
“I think it is a mistake for FSIS to move forward with risk-based inspections
at this time,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who introduced legislation to
unify federal food inspection under one new agency. “I am very concerned that
the plan FSIS has released is not thoroughly developed and is being advanced in
absence of the necessary and comprehensive data that would allow them to accurately
Industry, meanwhile, is generally supportive of the changes. Cal Dooley,
president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association/Food Products
Association calls it a step forward.
“The initial step in the program involves only modest adjustments to the
intensity of inspection and in a limited number of establishments,” Dooley
said. “We believe that the program has the potential to greatly reduce
foodborne illnesses and increase consumer confidence in the food supply.”