The Mondernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule was published in the Federal Register on August 21. The published rule is the final rule that came as a result of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) 2011 regulatory review efforts, conducted under Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.

The rule is effective October 20. All young chicken and turkey slaughter establishments will have until February 23, 2015, to notify their district FSIS office in writing of their intents to operate under the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS).

Line speeds unchanged

The rule, released by FSIS on July 31, leaves the current regulations for line speeds unchanged at 140 birds per minute. Additionally, all poultry companies operating must maintain a program to encourage the early reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses, and FSIS employees will receive new instructions on how to report workplace hazards that may affect plant workers, including access to a confidential 1-800 number to report concerns directly to OSHA.

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Salmonella, Campylobacter prevention requirements

Poultry companies will have to meet new requirements to control Salmonella and Campylobacter, and FSIS estimates that up to 5,000 foodborne illnesses will be prevented each year as a result of the new rule, which positions food safety inspectors throughout poultry facilities in a smarter way.

According to FSIS, it will now require that all poultry companies take measures to prevent Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination, rather than addressing contamination after it occurs. Also for the first time ever, all poultry facilities will be required to perform their own microbiological testing at two points in their production process to show that they are controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter. These requirements are in addition to FSIS' own testing, which the agency will continue to perform.