Data Analysis and Reporting
FSIS routinely assesses inspection data to evaluate potential trends and to ensure that inspection procedures are conducted in a timely, appropriate, and effective manner. FSIS also generates several routine reports which highlight, at a high level, Agency inspection activities.
FSIS routinely evaluates data on FSIS regulated domestic establishments and port-of-entry and audit results for foreign countries that import meat, poultry, and egg products to evaluate potential trends and to ensure that FSIS activities are conducted in a timely, appropriate, and effective manner.
FSIS routinely evaluates the effectiveness of policies issued by the Agency to ensure that FSIS policy is meaningful, responsive to changing events and science, and based on the best available information. For example, FSIS periodically reviews inspection data from regulated establishments after the implementation of a new policy to determine if potential trends exist in noncompliances over time. This allows FSIS to determine whether the new policy produced the change sought when it was issued.
FSIS also seeks to estimate the potential public health impact of future policies. For example, FSIS performed an assessment of the new Salmonella and Campylobacter performance standards issued by the Agency in July 2011 to determine how many foodborne illnesses could be avoided through the implementation of the new policy.
Moving forward, FSIS is also developing current and intended risk mitigation strategies to help the Agency better predict the public health impact of new policies. These new strategies will allow FSIS to better predict foodborne illness reductions, allowing for an improved, targeted approach to public health goal setting. Examples of these analyses are posted below.
- Evaluation of HACCP Inspection Models Project (HIMP) for Market Hogs
- Public Health Regulations (PHRs) (Decision criteria to prioritize Food Safety Assessments)
- Potential Public Health Impact of New Salmonella Performance Standards
Foodborne illness attribution is defined as the allocation of foodborne illnesses to specific food products. FSIS currently estimates attribution fractions, or the fraction of foodborne illnesses associated with a particular food product, using the CDC's Electronic Foodborne Outbreak Reporting System (e-FORS) and the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS), which contains information about the food item responsible for the outbreak.
FSIS' methodology for estimating foodborne illness attribution for FSIS-regulated products is described below, along with several supporting documents highlighting the history of attribution. FSIS is also a founding member of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a high-level CDC, FDA, and FSIS workgroup formed in 2011 to investigate new attribution methods and develop a harmonized approach across all three agencies. Information about IFSAC is included below as well.
FSIS conducts routine pathogen verification testing of regulated products. This testing allows FSIS to monitor the effectiveness, where applicable, of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs and assess, and minimize the risk to the public's health from contaminated products.
FSIS views results from verification samples from federal establishments as the best indicator of the overall trend of the presence of pathogens in regulated products. For this reason the Agency uses the percentage of positives in these samples as one of its key performance measures. Traditionally, FSIS publicly reports the results of this testing as the percent of all samples that test positive for a particular pathogen. These reports are available on the FSIS website on our Microbiology page.
The U.S. National Residue Program (NRP) is a collaborative interagency program established to protect the public from exposure to harmful levels of chemical residues in meat, poultry, and egg products produced or imported into the United States. The NRP is designed:
- to provide a structured process for identifying and evaluating chemical compounds of concern in food animals;
- to analyze chemical compounds of concern;
- to collect and report results, and
- to identify the need for regulatory follow-up when violative levels of chemical residues are found.
FSIS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the federal agencies primarily involved in managing this program. Since 1967, FSIS has administered the U.S. NRP by collecting samples from meat, poultry, and egg products and analyzing the samples at one of three FSIS laboratories. FSIS also maintains and posts a Residue Repeat Violators List, which contains information to help establishments, Livestock Markets, and inspection program personnel identify residue history of producers.
The Consumer Complaint Monitoring System (CCMS) was established to provide FSIS a centralized system for managing consumer complaints associated with FSIS-regulated meat, poultry, and egg products. CCMS and the consumer complaints collected in the system provide an additional data source that supports FSIS’s real-time surveillance and response activities, enables the Agency to identify and investigate reports of potentially unsafe food in commerce, and evaluate trends over time.
FSIS, in collaboration with public health partners, investigates foodborne illness associated with FSIS-regulated products to determine which specific products are making people sick so that these products can be removed from commerce to prevent additional illnesses. The annual outbreak reports summarize information about outbreaks investigated during each Fiscal Year, including the number of outbreaks, pathogens, products, illnesses, and how many outbreaks resulted in a product recall. The annual reports also highlight lessons learned from outbreak after-action reviews.
FSIS collects various types of data on the Agency's activities. These data range from counts of regulated federal meat and poultry establishments to information on the total volume of meat and poultry slaughtered in regulated establishments.
These data are routinely summarized into high level reports produced to keep track of national and district level trends. Data also provide information for Agency planning and policy development.
This page contains links to summary reports of these data, as well as links to datasets. FSIS also posts a smaller subset of FSIS and USDA data on data.gov.
- Inspection and Enforcement Activity
- FSIS Recalls
- FSIS Quarterly Enforcement Report (QER)—QERs summarize the enforcement actions FSIS has taken to ensure that products that reach consumers are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled.
- Humane Handling Quarterly Reports— An overview of humane handling procedures performed by inspection program personnel and information on noncompliance records issued.
- Domestic Establishments and Import Facilities
- Meat, Poultry, and Egg Product Inspection Directory
- Import and Export Data—Volume of Imported and Exported Product
- List of Foreign Countries Eligible to Import Product into the United States (PDF Only)
- Meat and Poultry Slaughter Data (USDA-NASS)
- FSIS Pathogen Verification Data
- FSIS Baseline Data Reports
- FSIS National Residue Program
Performance Management and Strategic Data Analysis Planning
Healthy People 2010 and 2020 Initiatives
The Healthy People Initiative created a set of health objectives for the Nation to achieve over a decade. It can be used by many different people, States, communities, professional organizations, and others to help them develop programs to improve health. The Healthy People 2010 effort built on initiatives pursued over the past two decades. The 1979 Surgeon General's Report, Healthy People, and Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives both established national health objectives and served as the basis for the development of State and community plans.
Like its predecessors, Healthy People 2010 was developed through a broad consultation process, built on the best scientific knowledge and designed to measure programs over time. Food safety is a key component of the Healthy People Initiative, with an entire focus area dedicated to joint USDA, FDA and CDC efforts to reduce foodborne illnesses in the population, such as Salmonella. Recently, goals and objectives for the Healthy People 2020 Initiative were released.
- Food Safety Focus Area 2020: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=14
- Food Safety Focus Area 2010: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2010/document/html/volume1/10food.htm
- Main Healthy People 2020 Website: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx
- Main Healthy People 2010 Website: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2010/
Food Safety Working Group Measures
On March 14, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group (FSWG) to advise him on how to upgrade the U.S. food safety system. The Working Group, chaired by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Agriculture, recommended a new, public health-focused approach to food safety based on three core principles:
- prioritizing prevention;
- strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and
- improving response and recovery.
FSIS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC have worked jointly to develop food safety metrics based on these three core principles that represent federal food safety activities along the food supply chain using a farm-to-table framework. This framework allows for agencies to demonstrate the need for a coordinated approach to ensure food safety, the identification of data gaps to measure the impact of food safety activities, and helps Agencies like FSIS to target areas in the farm-to-table continuum where more attention is needed.
In the FSIS Strategic Plan for 2011-2016, FSIS identified a number of key performance measures that allow the Agency to assess its performance in a variety of critical areas. These key performance measures are described below.
Percentage of broiler establishments passing the new carcass Salmonella verification testing
Broiler carcasses represent the raw class of food product with the greatest potential to cause exposure of the public to Salmonella. In 2010, FSIS proposed a new performance standard for Salmonella in broiler carcasses based on a recent baseline study. Failure to meet this new standard serves as a proxy for heightened exposure potential to the public. FSIS identifies performance standards for Salmonella in up to eight classes of raw products. These standards are designed to cause industry to control for Salmonella and reduce the potential for human exposure. The best available projection is that 88 percent of establishments will have passed the new performance standard. By 2016, FSIS expects to take steps to increase the number of establishments passing the new standard to 95 percent, thereby further decreasing exposure of the public to Salmonella and contributing to fewer foodborne illnesses.
All Illness Measure
The FSIS All Illness Measure provides an estimate of the total number of Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes foodborne illnesses associated with FSIS regulated meat, poultry, and egg products. This measure was developing using a variety of data sources, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) foodborne illness and outbreak data, as well as the foodborne illness attribution methods described in this section.
Food Defense Measure
FSIS developed a performance measure for food defense with the goal of increasing the number of establishments with a functional food defense plan. Food defense plans are written procedures that establishments should follow to protect the food supply from intentional contamination with chemicals, biological agents, or other harmful substances.
Food defense plans are defined, in part, in FSIS Directive 5420.1 Rev. 6 and further defined in the "Elements of a Food Defense Plan" guidance document.
To be considered functional, a food defense plan must have four elements:
- the plan is written;
- the facility has measures in place that address inside security, outside security, personnel security, and incident response security;
- the food defense measures are periodically tested (e.g., testing locks, conducting periodic perimeter searches); and
- the facility has reviewed the plan in the last year.
FSIS considers these plans to be important measures for preventing intentional product adulteration.
The Agency has developed guidance materials to assist in the development of plans and fostering understanding of what constitutes a food defense plan for establishments. This performance metric will be measured via the FSIS Food Defense Plan survey, which is conducted annually and gathers data about industry's voluntary adoption of food defense plans.
Percentage of slaughter plants identified during District Veterinary Medical Specialist (DVMS) humane handling verification visits as having an effective systematic approach to humane handling (all four elements of a systematic approach implemented)
All official livestock slaughter establishments are required to handle and slaughter livestock using humane methods. Establishments need to implement and maintain a systematic approach to humane handling and slaughter to best assure compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. A well-designed and implemented systematic approach to humane handling includes at least four features. These include:
- conducting an initial assessment of locations where livestock are handled in connection with slaughter;
- designing facilities and ongoing standard 17 FSIS Strategic Plan FY 2011-2016 handling procedures that minimize excitement, discomfort, or accidental injury to livestock;
- conducting periodic evaluations of the humane handling methods; and
- identifying and implementing corrective measures when necessary.
This performance measure will capture the extent to which industry is implementing a systematic approach to humane handling. The performance measure will also include an Agency assessment as to the effectiveness of these programs in ensuring that all livestock are handled and slaughtered in a humane manner for the entire time that they are at the slaughter establishment.
FSIS established a strategic goal to enhance the development and maintenance of an integrated and robust data collection and analysis system to verify the effectiveness and efficiency of Agency programs. FSIS heavily relies on data to promote proactive decisions affecting food safety and public health. As a result, FSIS has strengthened both its data collection and analysis activities to ensure valid, timely data is collected, carefully analyzed, and continually reported in a user-friendly manner. The reports listed below provide an overview of FSIS' data analysis capabilities, as well as a thorough description of future data analysis efforts, particularly in light of the full implementation of the Public Health Information System (PHIS).
A draft Establishment-Specific Data Release Strategic Plan was discussed at the January 2014 meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. Additional materials from this meeting are available.