Wayne Farms transitions to NPIS for more process control

The seventh-largest integrator in the U.S. is transitioning all nine of its slaughter facilities to the New Poultry Inspection System in a drive to take more responsibility for inspections while maintaining control of the process.

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nd3000, BigStockPhoto.com
nd3000, BigStockPhoto.com

Wayne Farms is transitioning all of its slaughter facilities to the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) in a drive to take more responsibility for inspections while maintaining control of the process.

Brandon Prestridge, Wayne Farms LLC’s supplier quality and process improvement manager, said the Oakwood, Georgia, integrated poultry company is moving its nine slaughter plants to the NPIS during the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s 2018 Poultry Processor Workshop on May 11, 2018, in Orange Beach, Alabama. Wayne Farms is the seventh-largest integrator in the U.S., according to WATT Global Media’s Top Broiler Company rankings.

Shifting to the NPIS standards carries increased personnel costs due to replacing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors on the evisceration line with company inspectors. In an email, Prestridge said the company is carrying out the transition “because of the program’s proven ability to ensure the highest product quality and safety by enabling us to take more responsibility for inspection and maintaining process control.”

Highlights of the NPIS standards

At the Processor Workshop, Prestridge covered the key points of the regulations surrounding the NPIS.

  • Employee training: NPIS requires sorters to be trained in order to know what they will see when they are on the job. Prestridge said Wayne Farms is using a FSIS document – Compliance Guideline for Training Establishment Carcass Sorters in the New Poultry Inspection System – to get staff up to speed on what they need to know and what they are actually going to see when they are working on the line.
  • Septicemia, toxemia, fecal and leucosis inspections: NPIS requires a critical control point (CCP) for septicemic and toxemic birds. It requires fecal, septicemia and toxemia as part of the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plan.
  • Salvage and salvage reprocessing: The NPIS requires key changes in salvage and salvage reprocessing. Now, 100 percent of salvage parts must be inspected. This means an area must be established where tubs and cut up parts can be dumped out and spread out so they can be sorted and inspected.
  • Directive 6500.1: Prestridge called FSIS Directive 6500.1, issued in February 2017, the how to guide for how the plant personnel will operate under the NPIS to perform their duties for inspection and what to do if they find birds contaminated with fecal matter or showing signs of septicemia or toxemia.

    The directive says each line must include one consumer safety inspector to perform online carcass inspection (CI) and one for offline verification inspection (VI) duties.

    The CI will focus on food safety conditions, meaning fecal contamination, septicemia or toxemia. The VI will perform similar duties as the USDA inspector and will check for compliance with sanitation standards, HACCP regulatory requirements and other offline duties. The VI also conducts verification checks of carcass samples and the VI’s inspection stand must be placed ahead of the CI inspection area on the processing line.


Line speed waivers

Prestridge shared information about what the USDA said about the FSIS’s criteria for consideration of waiver requests to run line speeds of up to 175 birds per minute. Formally, there isn’t a directive, he said, but the agency did say what processors can expect in a formal directive in a February 2018 update.

Processors must be on NPIS for one year and they must be in Salmonella performance standard category one or two for young chicken carcasses. USDA will look for a history of regulatory compliance, too. If there’s been an enforcement action or notice of intended enforcement within the last 120 days it will make it harder to get a line speed waiver, Prestridge said.

Additionally, the facility’s equipment must be able to operate at a higher line speed while maintaining or improving food safety, demonstrate that equipment in the facility will not negatively impact food safety and that the equipment handle increased line speed. Processors must also demonstrate that increased line speed will not affect FSIS inspector’s safety.

In September 2018, the FSIS published an update to the February 2018 update in the Federal Register. The September update contained further information about the criteria the agency is using to evaluate new line speed waiver request submissions. The FSIS also announced that the 20 young chicken processing plants already operating under line speed waivers must meet the new criteria to remain eligible for the waiver.

In addition to the guidance issued in the February update, the agency said it is requesting compliance with good commercial practices (GCPs) to its criteria for line speed waivers. Poultry must be slaughtered, in accordance with the GCPs, in a manner resulting in thorough bleeding of the carcass and ensuring breathing ceases before scalding. The agency will also consider the history of GCPs compliance along with its review of regulatory compliance and there must be no history of violations of GCPs within the past 120 days.

Moreover, the FSIS will require plants with line speed waivers to conduct daily Aerobic Plate Count (APC) testing rather than weekly testing for indicator organisms. The results must be made available to FSIS, too.



Read more about Wayne Farms: https://bit.ly/2MCC7PA



Under the New Poultry Inspection System, poultry processing plants can employ their own inspectors to replace a number of U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors on the processing line.



Brandon Prestridge, Wayne Farms | Angela Hill Photography

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