The Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued guidance for establishments that would like to obtain a regulatory waiver to test new technology. Under the new guidance, establishments must tell FSIS in writing that they intend to use new technology. If the new technology affects product safety, jeopardizes the safety of inspection program personnel, interferes with inspection producers or requires a change in FSIS regulations, the establishment must also submit a protocol to request an in-plant trial to gather data on the technology's effects.
If any FSIS regulatory provision must be waived for the in-plant trial to proceed, companies must send a written request to the Risk & Innovations Management Division that includes data demonstrating either that there is a public health emergency, that the in-plant trial is scientifically sound or that the new equipment, procedures or technique will bring about definite improvements. Establishments can use validated lab results, articles from peer-reviewed journals or prototype production results to justify a waiver.
If the Administrator finds that a waiver would conflict with the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the waiver cannot be granted. The guidance applies to meat and poultry establishments as well as egg product plants and companies that manufacture and sell technology to establishments.