On August 21, 2014, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule amending the poultry products inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for young chicken and all turkey slaughter establishments.  Young chicken and turkey slaughter establishments that do not choose to operate under the new poultry inspection system may continue to operate under their current inspection system.  Key elements of the NPIS include: (1) Requiring that establishment personnel sort carcasses and remove unacceptable carcasses and parts before the birds are presented to the FSIS carcass inspector; (2) shifting Agency resources to conduct
more offline inspection activities that are more effective in ensuring food safety, which will allow for one offline verification inspector per line per shift and will reduce the number of online inspectors to one; (3) replacing the Finished Product Standards (FPS), which will apply to establishments that continue operating under SIS, NELS, and NTIS, with a requirement that establishments that operate under the NPIS maintain records to document that the products resulting from their slaughter operations meet the definition of ready-to-cook (RTC) poultry; and (4) authorizing young chicken slaughter establishments to operate at a maximum line speed of 140 birds per minute (bpm), provided that they maintain
process control.  Notably the final rule rolled back a provision in the proposed rule published by FSIS in 2012 to increase maximum line speeds to 175 bpm.  For more information please contact Erik Lieberman at erl1@liebermanpllc.com or 202.830.0300.