Beginning August 28,  USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will fully implement the donning and doffing requirements for inspectors’  lunch period. FSIS  has informed its field supervisors today to be sure to contact establishment management to remind them of the implementation date.

FSIS regulations define the lunch period as an authorized duty-free interruption in the inspector’s tour of duty once it begins. Consequently, doffing of required gear needs to occur before the lunch period begins and donning of required gear needs to occur once the duty-free lunch period is over.

In slaughter operations, FSIS said that the establishment will need to address the time required for on-line inspection personnel to conduct doffing and donning, walking, and related activities surrounding the lunch period and may elect to make adjustments to minimize the amount of time spent in such activities surrounding the lunch period.  As an example, FSIS said an establishment might install racks for doffing and donning of required gear for use by inspection program personnel during the lunch period, closer to the slaughter or evisceration line.

FSIS has provided additional guidance in an Q&A document.