Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the availability of model food security plans and training for meat, poultry and egg processing plants.
"Food security is a shared responsibility of USDA and our many partners to prevent or respond to the contamination of food products and we continue to make these efforts a priority," says Johanns. "By applying the principles contained in these plans, federal and state inspected plants can increase their own preparedness planning while doing their part to protect America's food supply."
The security of meat, poultry and egg processing facilities can be enhanced through the implementation of risk-management techniques tailored to each establishment's needs. Food security plans are valuable technical and operational resources that can help plant operators identify various types of preventive steps to minimize the risk of food product tampering or other criminal actions.
The model food security plans are being issued in the form of guidance documents and are voluntary. However, USDA strongly encourages all establishments operating under federal and state inspection programs to develop plans to fit their particular needs, as each plant may be vulnerable.
The model plans are designed for meat and poultry slaughter facilities, meat and poultry processing plants, egg processing plants and import facilities, which are available on the Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.
To assist the industry, FSIS will conduct a series of training workshops throughout the nation in May, June and July 2005. FSIS also expects to broadcast some of the workshops via the Internet in order to include more plant operators.
The purpose of the workshops is to provide additional guidance about the development and implementation of food security plans for meat, poultry and egg processing facilities, import establishments and identification warehouses.
The food security workshops are tentative planned for:
May 14 – Dallas, Texas
May 21 – Oakland, Calif.
June 4 – Chicago, Ill.
June 25 – Newark, N.J.
You can pre-register for the workshops by logging on to www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/ or by calling (800) 485-4424.