The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the government agency responsible for ensuring the safety of America's supply of meat, poultry, and egg products. In an effort to improve its inspection system, FSIS has proposed to modify the allocation of its inspection resources by establishing criteria to rank, based on their risk to public health, slaughtering and processing establishments. The agency plans to direct more resources to inspecting those establishments whose rank indicates they may present more risk. By establishing a clear set of rules to judge the risk for contamination in slaughtering and processing plants, FSIS will be able to allocate inspection resources based on risk to public health, resulting in an American food supply that likely is safer for everyone.
Before implementing the proposed inspection system, FSIS asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to evaluate the system, particularly the criteria for ranking slaughtering and processing establishments. In its 2009 report Review of the Use of Process Control Indicators in the FSIS Public Health Risk-Based Inspection System, the IOM committee commends FSIS for its effort and encourages the agency to continue developing a risk-based inspection system. The report makes several recommendations to improve the proposed system.