House Spending Bill Blocks Swine Inspection Rule

The House Appropriations Committee approved $155.3 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding for the 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill. As expected, the bill contains language that blocks the US Dept. of Agriculture's proposed plan to move the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA). But the bill also contains an amendment that blocks USDA from implementing a final rule on swine inspections pending a study by the Office of Inspector General. [Source: Meat and Poultry by Erica Shaffer, 5 June 2019]

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has advocated for an update to the swine inspection system and fully supports the final rule. Under the new system, authority over inspections would remain under the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) with plant employees doing much of the manual labor to prepare an animal for inspection, according to NPPC. Transferring manual tasks to plant employees, the logic goes, makes better use of limited USDA resources by removing inspectors from processing lines and allowing them to focus on testing, sanitation and plant conditions, among other duties.

"The National Pork Producers Council continues to support the proposed new pork inspection system, one that has been tested and scrutinized for years, as it is designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the federal inspection process and to provide more flexibility for adopting new food-safety technologies," Jim Monroe, NPPC assistant vice president, communications, said in a statement.

Read the full story, including key elements of the rule, at Meat and Poultry.