FSIS published a proposed rule on March 19 in the Federal Register that would expand the scope of activities that must be included in an FSIS inspector’s standard eight-hour work day. Specifically, an inspector’s standard eight-hour workday would include knife sharpening, setting up inspection stations, retrieving lot tally sheets, and conducting administrative tasks.  FSIS identified these tasks as part of its donning and doffing rulemaking process concluded last summer.  FSIS believes these activities are “integral and dispensable to the principal work of inspection program person” and therefore must be included in the eight-hour workday to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In the proposed rule that would amend meat and poultry products regulations, three types of activities have been added to the defined eight-hour work day for in-plant inspectors.

  1. The time that inspection program personnel need to prepare the inspection station, if necessary, or retrieve and return lot tally sheets.
  2. The time necessary for FSIS inspection program personnel to sharpen knives, if necessary.
  3. The time necessary to conduct duties scheduled by FSIS, including administrative activities.

FSIS is seeking comments on the proposal by April 18.  The  Federal Register notice is available  here.