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SANITATION

The Agency is planning immediate implementation of the enclosed FSIS Directive 11,040.1, "Preoperational and Operational Sanitation Inspection," to be published shortly. After necessary union consultation on May 19,

1987, inspectors-in-charge (IICs) and the GS-8 inspectors will be trained by the regional training teams on a circuit-by-circuit basis, followed by immediate implementation of the directive. Preliminary work is now underway.

The intent of the directive is to make plants more responsible for detecting their own cleanup weaknesses. Rooms or departments will pass or fail the preop sanitation inspection based on what an inspector finds in a few official sample areas randomly chosen within those rooms or departments. When an inspector finds deficiencies outside the official sample areas, the deficient items will be tagged and rejected for use until properly cleaned.

The new directive will require direct, weekly supervision of the GS-8 inspector by the IIC to evaluate inspection procedures, sanitation standards, and plant cleanup thoroughness prior to inspection.

PLANS TO UPDATE SAMPLING PLAN

To address problems that exist in the data bases used for residue sampling, FSIS requires accurate and current establishment numbers along with the species that the establishments are authorized to slaughter. We also require accurate information on the numbers and types of animals that are slaughtered each month. The problems in addressing this follow in a description of the CORE system:

Common On-Line Reference for Establishments (CORE)

The CORE system is designed to provide a centralized repository of meat & poultry plant information. This information includes plant location, owner, type of operation(s), various mailing information, and a breakout of slaughter and processing categories. Examples are species authorized for slaughter, reimbursable inspection categories, processing categories (boning, canning, curing, etc.) and export categories for domestic plants. CORE does not maintain plant production data.

CORE will be implemented in a dual concept. First, all data will reside on the Agency's HP-3000 located in Washington. This data will be updated on a daily basis from entries made by MPIO regional and IP headquarters personnel. This data base will function as the central plant information for all automated systems requiring such data. Second will be a subset of the total data in each of these remote sites. All data entry will be performed at the remote sites. Data cleansing will take place at these sites during the data entry process. New data will be collected for these sites daily.

The CORE system is currently in development by Data Base Management Inc. (DBMI). Delivery of the final design is scheduled for June 30, 1987. CORE should be fully operational by April 1, 1988.

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The Agency collects slaughter data through the Animal Disease Reporting System (ADRS). The system is not adequate for residue sampling needs. Since the system is used for many purposes within the Agency, it would not be advisable to quickly modify that system to address the residue sampling needs, even if this were possible. FSIS intends to make use of some of this data where feasible and to utilize the National Agricultural Statistics Service's slaughter figures while proceeding to attack the longer range requirements of the Agency for the ADRS. A description of the ADRS follows:

ADRS, Phase II

The ADRS contains slaughter totals and ante- and post-mortem inspection summaries reported from livestock and poultry establishments. These data are used for sampling purposes. A recent study has concluded that an array of problems caused by poor form design, inspector error, data entry error, lack of sufficient edit and range checks, and inadequate reporting supervision has limited the usefulness of these data for sampling purposes.

A comprehensive project, entitled, "ADRS, Phase II," has been initiated to address these problems and make ADRS useful for Agency needs. A portion of the project, which involves automated edit and range checks, will be contracted to expedite its implementation. Contractors will be tasked with developing the following features, which will greatly improve ADRS for sampling purposes:

1. Plants with a O kill which have not submitted a "No Kill" report will be flagged for follow-up.

2. Plants which kill a species of animal they have not killed previously (in a certain time frame) will be flagged for follow-up.

3. Plants with an "unusual" (to be defined) increase or decrease in slaughter totals (as compared to a certain previous time frame) will be flagged for follow-up.

4. Many other features regarding disease totals.

The ADRS will be updated weekly from data transmitted by mail to the Des Moines Data Services Center until computers are available at inspection locations.

UNIDENTIFIABLE MICROBIAL INHIBITION (UMI)

For several years, it has been the Agency's practice to condemn domestic carcasses associated with unidentifiable microbial inhibition (UMI) revealed in official bioassays for antibiotic residues. This policy was derived from professional judgment based on the best scientific methodology available and on the need for protection of public health. The Agency has expended considerable resources in an effort to determine whether compounds toxic to human beings are responsible for UMI. Our efforts to this point have not yielded results which will support continuation of the policy of condemnation for UMI. Science will, however, continue its efforts in addressing the UMI issue as new methodology becomes available.

A review of FSIS Directive 10,012.1 did not reveal any instructions for disposition of UMI carcasses and thus there is no need for issuance of the new directive. Current procedures therefore, will be altered to remove unidentifiable microbial inhibition as the sole ground for condemnation of carcasses. To accomplish this, a notice defining future policy is under development and will be released as soon as possible.

As agreed in our meeting, in the near future, we will provide you with an example(s) of documented UMIs.

REPORTS TO RECONCILE SCHEDULED MONITORING SAMPLING Until mid 1985, Science produced reports comparing residue sample requests and samples actually analyzed in our laboratories. The reports categorized many of the reasons for discrepancies (e.g. spoiled samples). The reports were discontinued because, since that time, the discrepancy information has been collected in the FSIS HP-3000, while the scheduling information resides in the WCC computer system. By June 1987, scheduling will be completely moved to the HP-3000 along with historical schedules for the current calendar year. From then on, the reports will be produced monthly. This month, we expect to have a report summarizing the reconciliation effort for 1987 to date. A copy of the reconciliation report will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

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BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL

Report To The Congress

OF THE UNITED STATES

Improving Sanitation And Federal Inspection At Slaughter Plants: How To Get Better Results For The Inspection Dollar

The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service inspects federally approved meat and poultry slaughter plants to see that they are sanitary and that they produce wholesome, unadulterated products. GAO made surprice visits to 62 randomly selected plants in six States to test the effcctiveness of the inspection prog am.

Service supervisors accompanying GAO rated 26 percent of the 62 plants--27 percent of the meat plants and 24 percent of the poultry plants-as unacceptable in one or more of six basic program requirements and noted nurrerous deficiencies not severe enough to warrant unacceptable ratings,

GAO makes several recommendations ta. strengthen enforcement of inspection program requirements, assure that plant managers carry out their responsibility to operate and maintain sanitary plants, and help ensure the most efficient use of Federal inspection resources.

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B-203654

COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON DC. 20540

To the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives

This report discusses the Department of Agriculture's administration of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act at meat and poultry slaughter plants that do business in interstate commerce. It identifies certain areas in which the Department could 'mprove inspection activities to assure that slaughter plant operations are sanitary and that meat and poultry products are wholesome, unadulterated, and properly marked. In particular, this report addresses needed improvements in sanitation, pest control, plant water systems, product acceptance testing programs, ante mortem and post mortem examinations, and controls over condemned and inedible materials. This report also discusses the impact of inspector shortages on the overall inspection program.

We are sending copies of this report to the Director, Office of Management and Budget, and to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Hulton J. Dorolar

Acting Comptroller General
of the United States

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