USDA inspectors will be able to visit egg processing plants only once per shift, and most of them will be responsible for multiple plants, under a new rule put into place by the Trump administration.
The rule puts more responsibility for product safety on processors, who will have to institute plans for HAACP (hazard analysis of critical control points). As a tradeoff, USDA inspectors will no longer have to be present for the entirety of a shift. The new rule affects 83 egg plants that had been under USDA inspection.
The new rule coincides with a general trend over the last couple of decades to dial down the intensity of USDA inspections and make plants more responsible for safety. Proponents say it will lead to more efficient use of USDA inspections while not compromising safety.
“We feel very confident that, based on the once per shift that we have them there, we’ll still be able to verify that they’re producing safe product,” Paul Kiecker, administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, told Reuters. Opponents say the rule will diminish the effectiveness of safety inspections.