The meat and poultry industry is the most regulated and inspected industry in America. Inspectors are in packing plants during every minute of operations and may take action when they determine that the product produced is not in compliance with federal rules.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service employs nearly 8,000 inspectors to inspect approximately 6,000 plants. Some are trained veterinarians who inspect each and every animal before it is processed. Veterinarians also check the internal organs of animals to ensure that there is no evidence of disease.
Line inspectors in plants monitor sanitation, conduct microbiological tests and check labeling to ensure that it is accurate. Inspectors also monitor that plants are operating in compliance with product-specific “HACCP Plans.” HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and requires that plants determine the “critical points” where problems can occur in the production of each individual product and then concentrate those resources at these points.
For an overview of the U.S. meat inspection system, click here.