Food Safety:

Risk-Based Inspections and Microbial Monitoring Needed for Meat and Poultry

T-RCED-94-189: Published: Apr 19, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1994.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO discussed the effectiveness of the Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS) meat and poultry inspection system, focusing on: (1) industry efforts to test for microbial contaminants; and (2) FSIS efforts to implement a risk-based, scientific quality control system. GAO noted that: (1) FSIS efforts to implement a scientific, risk-based inspection system are hampered by outdated statutory inspection requirements and labor-intensive inspection procedures; (2) FSIS resources are mainly allocated for manual plant inspections; (3) FSIS does not routinely test for microbial contaminants, require the meat and poultry industry to perform microbial tests, or provide adequate assistance to plants willing to implement testing programs; (4) although a few packing plants have implemented testing systems, FSIS cannot ensure that the tests meet safety standards; (5) the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) system is considered be the most effective approach for ensuring food safety; (6) although FSIS plans to require that meat and poultry plants develop and implement HACCP systems, it has not determined whether microbial testing will be required or developed implementation guidelines; (7) FSIS cannot ensure that HACCP programs will effectively combat microbial contamination or that effective remedial actions will be taken when problems occur; and (8) FSIS needs to move to a scientific, risk-based inspection system so that it can better target resources, detect contaminants, and protect consumers from food borne illnesses.

Jun 9, 2016

May 26, 2016

May 19, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Jan 14, 2016

Jan 8, 2016

Jul 9, 2015

Jun 18, 2015

May 26, 2015

May 20, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here