MCLEAN, VA. — Meat and poultry processors will be required under a proposed change to the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (H.A.C.C.P.) validation requirements to demonstrate their facility's H.A.C.C.P. processes and critical control points perform as described, according to a recent letter sent to leading trade associations by Food Safety Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.) Administrator Alfred Almanza. The new guidelines also prescribe these same validation requirements apply to processors’ prerequisite programs.

The change will likely create new challenges. Although most companies rely on well-developed data to validate their H.A.C.C.P. plans, F.S.I.S. plans to require processors to include both scientific support and in-plant verification, such as microbial testing and process control measurements because each plant’s environment and product mix is unique.

Mr. Almanza said “even slight modifications” could significantly impact food safety. He emphasized it was essential to also validate prerequisite programs as part of an overall H.A.C.C.P. system.

“These new guidelines will create additional requirements for documentation of H.A.C.C.P. plans and prerequisite programs” said Dr. James Marsden, senior science advisor for the North American Meat Processors Association (N.A.M.P.) and Regent’s Distinguished Professor, Kansas State University. “U.S.D.A. has taken steps to assure that interventions are effective at controlling microbiological hazards under actual plant conditions. The stage is set for improvements in the safety of meat and poultry products as new validated interventions and food safety systems are developed and implemented.”

To help processors prepare for these pending new requirements, Food Safety Validation (F.S.V.), a company specializing in providing food-safety support and expertise, has developed a unique package of guidance, support, validation and verification services designed to minimize the concerns and costs involved in complying with the proposed F.S.I.S. requirements.

“Small to medium-sized plants, in particular, are going to be challenged to collect verification data on their processes and control measures,” said Lee Cantley, F.S.V. managing director. “From microbial sampling to process-control measurements to data collection and analysis, meeting these new H.A.C.C.P. guidelines will be time and resource intensive. We’re ready with expert guidance, online tools and customized support to help processors achieve compliance quickly and cost-effectively.”

McLean, Va.-based Food Safety Validation LLC provides subscription-based plans for member companies who gain access to a wide range of mission-critical food-safety support services. To learn more, visit