Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS) meat and poultry inspection system, focusing on whether: (1) FSIS effectively uses its resources to ensure food safety; (2) meat and poultry plants have programs to test for microorganisms; and (3) the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) quality control concept is an effective approach for ensuring food safety.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Congress should revise the meat and poultry acts to provide FSIS with the flexibility and discretion to target its inspection resources to the most serious food safety risks.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Agriculture||1. To improve the safety of meat and poultry, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator, FSIS, to develop a mandatory HACCP system that includes specific requirements for microbial testing and guidelines for determining when microbial test results warrant action by the plant.|
|Food Safety and Inspection Service||2. The Administrator, FSIS, should assist meat and poultry plants in the development of their microbial testing programs by, among other things, disseminating information on the programs already in operation.|