The National Chicken Council, with other members of a meat industry coalition, sent a letter to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Al Almanza asking that the agency extend the comment period for an additional 90 days on its HACCP reassessment plan for Not-Ready-To-Eat Comminuted Poultry Products and Related Agency Verification Procedures, published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2012.

The letter  cited the reasons why such an extension should be considered, including that the Federal Register notice announced a number of significant changes and requirements including mandatory reassessment of HACCP plans; factors for consideration in the reassessments; an expansion of the Salmonella Verification Program; changes in sample sizes for the verification program; changes to the performance standards; and changes in the agency’s classification of products associated with an outbreak.  Moreover, the affected parties must consider how these changes would affect FSIS inspection and international trade.  Analyses of the effects these changes will have on industry require significant attention and diligence, and the extension would provide time to collect and analyze the appropriate data to ensure meaningful comments are submitted.

In addition to NCC, the coalition included the American Meat Institute, North American Meat Association, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and the National Turkey Federation.