The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a Federal Register Notice this week responding to questions raised concerning its January 2008 Salmonella Initiative Program (SIP) and announcing several  modifications to its 2008 program. 

The most significant modification is that FSIS will not suspend a plant’s waiver if a plant fails the current microbiological performance standards.  Instead, plants will be required to perform additional testing, make a determination as to whether its waiver is affecting its process control, and take steps to regain control over its process.

As with the previous SIP program, plants currently operating under HIMP or online reprocessing waivers will be required to participate in SIP and will have until November 10 to apply for SIP participation or else lose their waivers.  Also, plants participating in SIP will be required to do additional microbiological testing and to share their findings with FSIS, but not to the degree specified in the previous program.  FSIS also intends to go forward with its selection of five processing plants from those that applied in 2008 to receive waivers for increased line speeds.  FSIS noted that it will re-open the application process, if necessary, to obtain five plants for this waiver.

FSIS also noted it is expanding the SIP program to include other classes of poultry in addition to young chickens and turkeys.  A copy of the SIP Notice is available at: