The committee recommends that FSIS partners with other agencies.
In light of the wide variation in surveillance activities in each state and locality, FSIS and CID investigators should partner with state and local regulatory agencies to collect data and better understand existing inspection activity related to meat, poultry, and egg products, and should consider the resulting information in setting priorities for surveillance activities. Specifically this approach should include developing a process or system to collect additional pertinent data and information on surveillance by federal, state, and local jurisdictions; could serve as a resource for those jurisdictions; and would avoid duplication of surveillance efforts.
FSIS should partner with agencies that undertake a comprehensive approach to inspection of facilities that handle a wide variety of food products, because of the potential for meat, poultry, and egg products to serve as sources of contamination of other ready-to-eat foods.
If the three-tier approach is retained, FSIS should focus its limited CID resources on facilities and localities that are not inspected by other jurisdictions, such as renderers, 4-D, and animal-food businesses to provide assurance that their products do not enter the human food supply. If other jurisdictions do not inspect custom exempt and exempt poultry businesses, these could be included in FSIS CID activities.
Information on the volume of meat, poultry, and egg products should be available to the CID investigators before surveillance is undertaken. Such data will assist in directing CID resources toward facilities that handle the highest amounts of products, which represent the greatest potential exposure of the public. The system or process developed by FSIS for data and information collection should capture volume information from CID ongoing surveillance activities and existing information from federal, state, local, and private sources.
The committee recommends using an initial period of activity of at least a year to benchmark where surveillance activities should take place before establishing a specific allocation of time for these activities. Risk ranking may be modified appropriately as specific knowledge and data become available.