A top food safety official at the USDA says that a pilot program for inspecting pork is working well, defending the experimental procedures being used in five hog plants around the country.
Phil Derfler, deputy administrator for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, said in an interview with Meatingplace, the meat industry’s trade magazine, that government inspectors are making more checks for contamination under the pilot program, called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP). That is why more fecal material is being found on the meat in the processing plants using the experimental procedures, he said in the interview published Friday.
In May, the USDA’s inspector general reported that three of the pilot plants were among the 10 worst offenders in the country for health and safety problems, with lapses that included failing to remove fecal matter from meat. The inspector general said the plant with the worst record by far was one of the five in the pilot program.