Food Law


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USDA Meat Inspection


USDA has been responsible for overseeing the processing of meat, poultry and eggs since the early 1900s.  This page summarizes some key points for its responsibilities for the meat and meat products industry.

Meat Inspection Act


Adulterated and Misbranded:  9 C.F.R. 301.2.  A common feature of food law is that the product cannot be adulterated or misbranded.  Those two key prohibitions underpin the federal Meat Inspection Act.

Continuous inspection:  9 C.F.R. 302.1.  The federal Meat Inspection Act requires that the slaughter of livestock and processing of meat products be subject to continuous inspection by government inspectors.  Congress has imposed this requirement of continuous inspection on the food businesses subject to USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) oversight.  These products are meat, poultry and eggs. 

Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA FSIS): 9 C.F.R. 300.2

Applying for inspection: 9 C.F.R. Part 304.  Firms desiring inspection are required to apply for inspection.  Information that needs to be provided as part of the application for inspection includes type of inspection required, animals to be slaughtered, and ownership & management (see Federal Grant of Inspection Guide).  A firm that is approved for inspection is designated as an "official establishment."

Official establishment:  9 C.F.R. 301.2

Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP):  9 C.F.R. part 417.  Congress requires that all official establishments must prepare and implement a HACCP plan. 

(1) List the food safety hazards which must be controlled for each process.

(2) List the critical control points for each of the identified food safety hazards, including Critical control points to control food safety hazards in the establishment, and outside the establishment, including food safety hazards that occur before, during, and after entry into the establishment;

(3) List the critical limits that must be met at each of the critical control points to ensure that performance standards established by FSIS, pertaining to the specific process or product, are met;

(4) List the procedures, and the frequency with which those procedures will be performed, that will be used to monitor each of the critical control points to ensure compliance with the critical limits;

(5) Include all corrective actions that have been developed to be followed in response to any deviation from a critical limit at a critical control point; and

(6) Provide for a recordkeeping system that documents the monitoring of the critical control points. The records shall contain the actual values and observations obtained during monitoring.

(7) List the verification procedures, and the frequency with which those procedures will be performed, that the establishment will use.

Ante-mortem Inspection:  9 C.F.R. Part 309

Humane Slaughter:  9 C.F.R. part 313

Post-mortem inspection:  9 C.F.R. part 310

Processing/meat product inspection:  9 C.F.R. part 424

Standard operating procedures for sanitation (Sanitation SOP's or SSOPs):  9 C.F.R. part 416

Inspection mark:  9 C.F.R. part 316

Standard of identity:  9 C.F.R. part 319

Food additives:

Packaging: 9 C.F.R. 317.24

Marking and labeling:  9 C.F.R. part 316 and part 317

Quantity of contents labeling:  9 C.F.R. part 442

Label approval:  9 C.F.R. part 412.  see Application for Label Approval as part of Federal Grant of Inspection Guide)

Inedible or condemned product:  9 C.F.R. part 314 and part 311

Transportation:  9 C.F.R. part 325

Exports:  9 C.F.R. part 322

Imports:  9 C.F.R. part 327

Records:  9 C.F.R. part 320

Withdrawing inspection:  9 C.F.R. part 305;

Recall:  9 C.F.R. part 418

Detention, seizure, condemnation, criminal proceedings:  9 C.F.R. part 329

Petition for federal rule making:  9 C.F.R. part 392

State Inspection:  9 C.F.R. part 321, part 331 and part 332





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