U.S.D.A. Issues Draft Guide on Video Use to Record Food Safety

The guide is a draft document, and comments on the compliance guide will be accepted through Dec. 14, 2010.
Publish date:

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made available a “compliance guide” on the use of video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment in federally inspected establishments.

In a “Federal Register” notice published Oct. 15, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says it posted the compliance guide on its “Significant Guidance Documents” web page, but the guide is a draft document, and comments on the compliance guide will be accepted through Dec. 14, 2010.

The FSIS says it is providing the draft guide “to advise establishments that video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment can be used in federally inspected establishments.” In addition, the guide informs establishments of FSIS’s expectations for the use of that electronic recording equipment to create records to meet the requirements of the “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points” regulations, or the regulations governing “Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures.” The guide also provides information on the recording of an establishment’s compliance with federal regulations, including the humane treatment of livestock, and the use of good commercial practices in poultry. It also provides information on issues establishments should consider if they use that equipment for any other purpose, such as part of their food defense plans.

The FSIS is also pursuing White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the information collection related to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures video records, the agency says. Until FSIA receives OMB approval for the information collection, the draft guide should not be viewed as authoritative, it adds. However, once FSIS receives OMB approval on the information collection, it will reissue a final guide, and FSIS might make changes to the final version of the guide based on comments received on the draft guide.

FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on the compliance guide, and all items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the agency name and docket number FSIS-2010-0016. Comments may be submitted by the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments.

Items sent by U.S. Postal Service, or by hand- or courier delivered: Send comments, including those on floppy disks or CD-ROMs, to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5272, Beltsville, MD 20705-5474.

Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to www.regulations.gov.

In addition, to view background documents or comments received, the FSIS Docket Room at the Beltsville facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For further information, contact Isabel Arrington, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), by phone at (402) 344-5000 or by e-mail at Isabel.Arrington@fsis.usda.gov.