Poultry Inspection Modernization
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been exploring the modernization of its poultry inspection system for two decades – a system that was originally developed in the 1950s. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in 1997 reported that studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the General Accounting Office and USDA “have established the need for fundamental change in the USDA meat and poultry inspection program.”
A pilot program was then put in place in 1999 in 20 chicken plants, called the HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project, or HIMP. It has since been studied, debated and reviewed in depth for more than a decade to assure its effectiveness as to how best modernize chicken inspection while improving food safety and protecting workers.
Because of the success of the pilot program over a 13 year period, USDA in 2012 proposed to give more chicken plants the option of operating under the modernized poultry inspection system.
Whether chicken plants operate under traditional poultry inspection or choose to opt in to this voluntary, modernized poultry inspection system, the end result is the same - rigorous food safety standards are applied to all chicken products and these products must meet or exceed these safety standards set forth by USDA in order to reach consumers.