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Appendix D Reports on Site Visits Between February and May 1990, the committee visited five large fed cattle slaughtering plants located in four states (Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas). These plants were slaughtering cattle at rates between 225 and 400 head per hour. Two plants operated under traditional inspection, one with STS-C, and two with SIS- C/PQC. Each visit was based on a similar format, which consisted of: A meeting with local and Washington-based FSTS personnel for a pre-visit briefing. 0 A guided tour of the plant, focusing on the livestock pens, kill floor, coolers, and fabrication area. O Meetings with plant management, quality assurance staff, and USDA inspection personnel, both supervisory and on line, largely through interviews, although written comments were also received. O Committee meeting at conclusion of site visit. Routine visits were made to company laboratories and a feedIot. Plant visits were scheduled to ensure that committee members could observe all phases of the operation from preoperation inspection to afternoon shift. Observation on Plant Tours The committee observed in detail antemortem and postmortem inspection procedures in all plants. In STS-C/PQC, attention was also focused on plant record keeping and quality control checks, together with the monitoring procedures initiated by FSIS. Carcass dressing procedures, carcass and byproduct organoleptic quality, and plant environment were all observed. Considerable variation was noted between the plants visited. This was particularly apparent in areas such as dressing procedures, congestion in certain areas, lighting at critical points, employee clothing (e.g., hair nets, gloves), line stoppages for dressing problems (e.g., dropped carcasses), and trimming and the carrying out of required inspection procedures. The committee's observations of finished products on the line and in the coolers indicated that the carcasses were generally clean, although there were obvious variations between the plants. 86

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Summary of Relevant Comments by Plant Management Personnel and USDA Inspectors For SIS-C and SIS-C/PQC _ Commitment of management is vital to the success of the program. Plant management indicated the following: SIS-C gave them more responsibility for product quality and more control over the operation; they observed more carcasses than in ANT ~ ~ ~ . ~ taken earlier than under tne traalllonal system where action often could not be taken until the following day; fewer repetitive monon Injuries occurred among inspectors since the presentations in SIS-C are consistent; SIS-C promoted cooperation between inspectors and plant management; SIS-C/PQC allowed higher yields due to less trimming with PQC programs in effect; attitudes among plant employees were improved because of the new responsibility for quality assurance; and after SIS-C was properly explained and demonstrated, employee attitudes toward the program became more positive. All and mace judgments allowing corrective measures to be , . . . . . . . . - ~ r , .. .. 7 _ _ _ ~ ~ -_ . . Against SIS-C and SIS-C/PQC The negative comments from FSIS inspectors and veterinarians related to SIS included the following: loss of inspector control and authority; poorer detection rate for lesions due to reduced number of inspection procedures (especially conditions involving the injury of tissue where observation and tactile senses were considered to be required); inability to check required rework, no inspection after splitting; no control over quality of trimming and failure to observe final carcass condition in 100% of cases after trimming; lack of confidence in statistical procedures; lack of confidence in plant management's ability to be responsible for producing a wholesome, safe product; no backup from FSIS supervisors when action needed to be taken; inadequate training in the concepts of the program; and reduction in number of inspectors. 87