The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) yesterday published in the Federal Register its  final Modernization of Poultry Inspection Rule

FSIS had announced the pending rule at the end of July, but it was not until yesterday that the final rule’s full text was published.  The final rule comes after a two-year review of the more than 250,000 responses the government received during a 120-day comment period in 2012.

With the publication of the rule, the clock starts ticking on several items.  Large establishments now have until November 19, 2014, to implement the new requirements including developing and implementing a written program to address fecal and other contamination during the slaughter process and to test carcasses both pre- and post-chill to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program.  Small establishments have until December 19, 2014, and very small establishments have until February 17, 2015 to implement these two requirements.  For those establishments interested in opting into the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), the six month clock has now started and establishments have until February 23, 2015, to notify their District Offices that they wish to participate.  A detailed analysis of the final rule from Hogan Lovells, NCC legal counsel, is available at Hogan Lovells Final Poultry Slaughter Rule.