Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) has published its first edition of the American National Standard for Meat and Poultry Plant Equipment, ANSI/UL 2128.

Based on USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) sanitation guidelines, ANSI/UL 2128 was designated by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) in July. The standard encompasses requirements covering hygienic design, construction and test methods for equipment that handles, processes and packages meat or poultry products or ingredients. ANSI/UL 2128 includes performance-based requirements that supplement or supercede requirements formerly applied in USDA's prior acceptance equipment program.

"UL is proud to take the next step by publishing a single standard that will be the single definitive source for the hygiene of meat and poultry plant equipment," said Tom Blewitt, manager of UL's Environmental and Public Health Services Department. "Being based on USDA technical guidelines, ANSI/UL 2128 puts everyone on the same page with regard to nationally recognized requirements."

Plant equipment tested under ANSI/UL 2128 includes thermal processing equipment, conveyors, grinders, mixers, slicers, scales, packaging equipment, hand tools and assorted component parts of equipment such as belts, pumps and valves.

"ANSI/UL 2128 reflects the experience gained from 30 years of prior acceptance combined with the flexibility of HACCP regulations that encourage industry to develop and implement innovative measures for producing safe foods," said Blewitt.

"FSIS believes that third party certification of facilities and equipment can make a useful contribution to the effort of establishments in meeting new requirements," said Thomas J. Billy, administrator for USDA-FSIS.

UL began developing its Meat and Poultry Equipment Certification Program when USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discontinued one of its prior acceptance programs in 1997. Equipment manufacturers requested that UL evaluate products for use in meat and poultry plants in accordance with USDA guidelines.

For more information on the ANSI/UL 2128 standard and UL's Meat and Poultry Plant Equipment Certification Program, refer to UL's web site at www.ul.com/eph.