June 18, 2010
On June 14, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held the first of three public meetings to discuss and receive comments on their controversial HACCP Systems Validation Guidance document aimed at small and very-small meat and poultry facilities. View the FSIS Press release here.
The guidance document issued in March of 2010 is intended to clarify existing requirements and provide implementation assistance. Stakeholders raised concerns that the guidance document fails to clearly state how facilities must comply with the regulations and that the requirements place disproportionate burden on small-scale processors. Critics also highlighted the inconsistencies within FSIS documents and the lack of transparency in the regulatory process. All comments can be viewed on the FSIS website.
The agency will receive comments on the original draft through June 19 and will hold two more public meetings, one in the Midwest and one on the west coast (details should be on the FSIS website soon).
FSIS will then consider comments and issue a second draft of the guidance document in July, available for viewing in the Federal Register. We have been told to expect a revised guidance document that substantially changes the major items that have been cause for most of the controversy.