A new report released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) alleges that a 20 year old food safety program initiated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has not performed as planned.

The Pathogen Reduction/Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (PR/HACCP) program, established in February 1995, is scrutinized in a CFA report entitled The Promise and Problems of HACCP: A Review of the USDA’s Approach to Meat and Poultry Safety. The ongoing problems uncovered include:

  • Meat plants do not develop effective food safety plans on a consistent basis, and the USDA continues to overlook habitual problems in those plants
  • Recurring food safety violations are not addressed with adequate, severe consequences

The CFA’s report identifies a number of actions that can improve the PR/HACCP program. Among them are improved pathogen sampling programs, consistently update performance standards, and create stricter punishments for repeat food safety violations.

This report also examines the history of FSIS’s PR/ HACCP rule, including its relationship to pathogen reduction performance standards. It also reviews independent critiques by government investigators of FSIS’s PR/HACCP program, how the program has evolved over the years, and some of FSIS’s most recent changes.