The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued draft guidelines for video monitoring at federally inspected meat and poultry plants. Although the guidelines do not require in-plant video monitoring, such practices can be used to help strengthen food safety and humane animal-handling practices, and to monitor product inventory and building security, according to an October 14, 2010, FSIS news release. “Records from video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may also be used to meet FSIS’ record-keeping requirements,” the agency stated.

The guidelines stem from a 2008 USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation that called for FSIS to “determine whether video monitoring would be beneficial in slaughterhouse establishments,” FSIS Administrator Al Almanza was quoted as saying. “In agreeing to that OIG recommendation, FSIS committed to issuing compliance guidelines for using video records and a directive clarifying FSIS’ authority to access establishment video records. FSIS recognizes the importance of this resource.” FSIS has requested comments by December 14, 2010.