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Source: National Turkey Federation news release

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) praised USDA for moving forward with its Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule.

USDA released the final version of the rule today, which will allow poultry plants nationwide the option to implement an enhanced inspection program that focuses even greater attention on the prevention of microbiological hazards.

This enhanced program was previously was limited to 25 pilot plants, but now that the rule has been finalized, NTF said it expects many turkey plants to adopt the new system.

"USDA is to be commended for standing up for food safety in the face of significant pressure," said NTF President Joel Brandenberger. "Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection provides additional tools to plants and federal inspectors to verify that plant food-safety programs are protecting against foodborne illness.

"By allowing plant employees to conduct some preliminary sorting duties, federal inspectors will be freed to further verify testing on the spot, examine sanitation standards and enforcing safeguards throughout a processing plant."

NTF and its members view this as the most significant step forward in food safety since the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulation of 1996. That regulation was a turning point on changing meat inspection from one that was largely visual to one that included testing for microbiological hazards.

"HACCP has enhanced food safety considerably, and this expands on the concepts of that rule. It's the next logical step in the evolution of food safety," Brandenberger said.

NTF will continue to work with those members who opt to utilize the system and with USDA to ensure smooth implementation.

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