On May 15th, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued its final Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Compliance Guideline for systems validation. The release of the Compliance Guideline comes after many revisions since the first proposal back in March 2010.
FSIS’s Compliance Guideline was issued with the goal of providing assistance to companies, especially small meat and poultry plants, to meet the validation standards required for HACCP systems under 9 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 417.4. Validation of a HACCP system is the process of demonstrating through data that the system in place will be able to adequately control any identifiable hazards to produce a safe, unadulterated product.
According to FSIS, compliance guidelines were necessary because many establishments were failing to adequately validate their HACCP systems. Significantly,“[i]n 2012, FSIS concluded that E. coli (non-O157) positives likely occurred because of improperly designed interventions." Similarly, FSIS determined that "an outbreak involving chicken pot pies in 2007 and a 2011 outbreak from turkey burgers may have occurred because of improperly validated cooking instructions.”
Companies now have the opportunity to immediately incorporate the issued compliance guidelines with their existing HACCP system. FSIS stated that after January 4, 2016 it will begin checking large establishments to determine if they have met validation requirements under 9 CFR 417.4. Smaller establishments will have until April 4th, 2016, before inspections begin. According to FSIS, the time frame is provided to allow establishments the opportunity to collect all the data necessary to meet the validation standards.
Written by Katharine Richter - Research Assistant
June 4th, 2015