Meat & Poultry (August 2017)
People who manage both large and small meat plants need guidance that is simple and easy to understand. Some of the directives and documents from the US Dept. of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are hard for managers and quality assurance employees to understand. A major issue is finding an easy-to-understand definition of a robust systematic approach for humane slaughter compliance.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Patty Bennett, DVM, who is the Humane Handling Enforcement Officer for USDA/FSIS. We were on a conference call during the 2017 North American Meat Institute's Animal Welfare Committee Meeting. I asked her to give me the definition of a robust systematic approach in plain, simple language that a plant manager could easily understand. After our discussion, the definition could be boiled down to six major points. The fust three points are clearly outlined in the document titled "FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Human Handling of Livestock." The last three points she indeed, outlined in plain, easy-to-understand language.
The above three items are "straight from the book." The last three items are paraphrased from notes from my conversation with Dr. Bennett:
Dr. Bennett made it clear that a plant can have a robust systematic approach even if it is under an enforcement action.
Additional information is available online www.grandin.com and in the December 2016 column I wrote for MEAT+POULTRY titled: "Taking a robust approach." This column covers a talk given by Lucy Anthenill, DVM inspector, at the 2016 NAMI Animal Care and Handling Conference.
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