In response to this week’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) report , “U.S. GAO – Food Safety: More Disclosure and Data Needed to Clarify Impact of Changes to Poultry and Hog Inspections,” the National Association of Federal Veterinarians issued a press release agreeing with the findings and and urged FSIS to publish the final rule as soon as practicable.
“Our experience is that the new poultry inspection system results in safer meat. Under the new system, establishment employees sort good chicken carcasses from bad carcasses. This sorting is overseen by a federal veterinarian and their inspection team. After sorting, every passed carcass is inspected by a federal inspector. The carcasses are being checked twice. Traditionally inspected carcasses are only checked once,” says Dr. Douglas Fulnechek, a veterinarian and president of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians.
Dr. Fulnechek said, “The new method preserves inspection for carcass wholesomeness, but emphasizes microbiological control of the slaughter and dressing process to reduce the foodborne illness causing organisms Salmonella and Campylobacter.”
“It is difficult to analyze extensive data from multiple sources over an extended period,” stated Dr. William James, retired chief public health veterinarian of FSIS. “However, the science and art of public health demand that its best practitioners pull information from the data that’s critical to protecting the public. In this case, we see the new system increases company accountability and helps FSIS inspection personnel focus on the safety of the product. This makes the new poultry inspection system an improvement for protecting public health.”
For more information about the NAFV, please visit www.nafv.org
The NAFV, founded in 1918, has 1,000 active members and is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as the representative organization for federally employed veterinarians and as an association of managers and supervisors. NAFV veterinarians practice preventive veterinary medicine on a broad scale, dealing with animal health, public health and food safety issues with regional, national, and international importance. These broad responsibilities often have a profound effect on many aspects of American’s health, agriculture and animal health.