AMMP urge FSIS: "Limit the visits of your inspectors"
There has been a growing concern in recent days about FSIS inspectors possibly spreading the COVID-19 virus as they travel between plants on their daily assignments, as well as the number of inspection personnel coming into plants, which made American Associaton of Meat Processors (AAMP) address these concerns with FSIS.
Inspector travel between plants
To help mitigate the possibility of spreading the virus from one plant to another, AAMP made several suggestions to the agency on proper protocols for inspection personnel. It is crucial that small plants do whatever to prevent the spread of the virus. Social distancing is a challenge due to space issues, so this means that having policies in place for staff, as well as inspection personnel and delivery drivers, is critical during this time, recommended Chris Young, AAMP Executive Director.
AMMP suggested some preventive measures for inspection personnel and meat processors in the country such as:
- Have a separate frock for each plant visit. Leave the frock at the plant it is being used in. Inspectors may not have enough frocks available, so you may need to offer one of yours to them to use while they are in your plant.
- Have the inspector wipe down their helmet with sanitizer before entering the plant to perform their duties. You should be prepared to provide the sanitizer for your inspector to do this.
"The likelihood of an inspector transporting the virus from one plant to another on their frock or helmet is very low, but the possibility does exist. If this is something you want to enforce then you should have a conversation with your inspector and ask them if they are willing to follow these steps. FSIS continues to have regular phone calls with inspection personnel. There will be another call in the next few days at which time our concerns will be shared with them," said Mr. Young.
Inspection personnel in plants
Another concern appeared in the last few days is the number of inspection personnel in plants. AAMP has asked FSIS to limit the personnel in plants to only those doing essential inspection duties. "I was told last week by the agency, and again in a phone call yesterday, that they agree and are trying to make sure inspection personnel understand that. This will be covered in their upcoming phone call as well. There should be no FSA’s going on at this time unless they are a “for cause” FSA. All other scheduled or risk base FSA’s should not be happening at this point; this will keep traffic in your plant down," added Chris Young.
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