The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on August 15 published Directive 9000.8, Audits of the U.S. Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products Inspection System by Officials of Foreign Countries. The document provides instructions to FSIS personnel for planning, organizing, and working with officials of foreign countries when they audit the U.S. inspection system for meat, poultry, or egg products establishments.

As the directive explains, "Foreign governments conduct periodic audits of the U.S. meat, poultry, and egg products food regulatory system to determine whether the U.S. inspection system is equivalent to the foreign country’s inspection system, to verify that the U.S. system is maintaining equivalence, or to verify that other requirements of the foreign country are being met by U.S. meat, poultry and egg products establishments exporting products to foreign countries."

Furthermore, the directive notes, "The Import/Export Coordination and Policy Development Staff (IECPDS) of the Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD) serves as liaison to the auditing country in preparation for the audit and provides a coordinator to ensure that the audit is appropriately planned, organized, and carried out. IECPDS provides audit team members based upon availability of resources. If needed, IECPDS may also ask the following offices to provide audit team members: the International Audit Staff (IAS) of the Office of Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA); the Office of Field Operations (OFO); additional staffs within OPPD; and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of USDA."

Directive 9000.8 may be downloaded here.