The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced the availability of final compliance guidelines for video monitoring at federally inspected establishments, such as meat and poultry plants. The guidelines, which have received Office of Management and Budget approval, stem from a 2008 USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation that called for FSIS to determine whether such monitoring would be beneficial for “slaughterhouse establishments.” Additional information about the guidelines appears in Issue 369 of this Update.

Although not mandatory, in-plant video monitoring can be used to strengthen food safety and humane animal-handling practices, and to monitor product inventory and building security, according to FSIS. The agency has provided the guide to help those plants choosing this method to create records for maintaining “compliance with [f]ederal regulations, including humane treatment of livestock and the use of good commercial practices in poultry.” It also “provides information on issues establishments should consider if they use this equipment for any other purpose, such as part of their food defense plans.” Clarifying which video records are subject to routine FSIS access, the guide states such records include “HACCP [Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point] and Sanitation SOP [Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures] and records associated with other programs that are prerequisites to HACCP.” See Federal Register, August 31, 2011.