The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on October 21 posted a compliance guide that contains information regarding how official establishments that produce ready-to-cook (RTC) poultry can meet the new chilling requirements that became effective on October 20, and were established by the New Poultry Inspection final rule (79 Fed. Reg. 49566; Aug. 21, 2014).

These establishments can meet the new requirements by implementing the regulatory time and temperature provisions that the final rule on modernization of poultry inspection removed from the rule 9 CFR 381.66 (b), by following the time and temperature chilling procedures that FSIS approved under the Salmonella Initiative Program (SIP), or by developing their own validated chilling procedures that will effectively control the levels, and prevent the multiplication of spoilage organisms and pathogenic bacteria. FSIS considers the removed regulations and the procedures approved under SIP as “safe harbors” that have been scientifically validated. The guidance is posted on the FSIS website.

This guide represents the agency’s current thinking on this topic, and FSIS encourages establishments to use it. FSIS is providing 60 days for public comment, and the guidance document may be updated in response to the comments.

Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.