Ga Dept of Agriculture


Meat Inspection Quarterly Newsletter Volume 1

Georgia Meat Inspection Newsletter
Meat Inspection News Banner
Commissioner's Corner
Commissioner Gary W Black Photo
Welcome to Volume 1 of the Georgia Meat Inspection Section News! This quarterly newsletter will provide communication and shared resources between our Meat Inspection Division and external partners that is vital to a healthy industry. I’d like to recognize Adam and the rest of the Meat Inspection Division for creating this medium of communication, as it is important to help you, as a business owner, stay updated and compliant so you can stay in business. I look forward to contributing to this newsletter every quarter and being able to share with you all the hard work our Meat Inspection Division puts in every day to help everyone in the industry and every Georgian around this state.
Georgia Meat Inspection Section Management Structure Change
Welcome to Volume 1 of our Georgia Meat Inspection Section (GMIS) News and Current Events.  The primary goals of this periodic newsletter is to foster better communication, compliance, and cooperation with you, our external partners.  As such, we want your feedback so that we can customize the content of this newsletter and provide you with the information you need to succeed in this regulatory environment.    

Please direct your feedback to

For this first newsletter, we want to inform you of the following GMIS management structure change. Just like you, we strive to utilize our resources as effectively and efficiently as  possible.  As such, we have recently updated our GMIS Veterinarians’ job descriptions to allow them to focus solely on duties that only Veterinarians can perform for GMIS.  This means that our Veterinarians will have more time to spend at the slaughter facilities in their assigned areas, and they will be conducting much needed quality assurance of our slaughter inspectors’ antemortem and postmortem tasks.

In addition, those individuals that you formerly knew as “Assistant” District Supervisors are now the sole District Supervisors in your area, and they answer directly to our Program Manager Aaron Knighton, who is my direct report and is headquartered in our Atlanta Office.  Any appeals or supervisory questions that you may have, should be directed to the District Supervisor in your area from this moment forward. Any questions or concerns that you may have with the disposition and/or disease symptoms of an animal at slaughter should continue to be directed to the GMIS Veterinarian assigned to your area. To help you understand our new management structure, we have provided an updated organizational chart on page 2 of this newsletter.

Adam Buuck, MPH, CPH
GMIS Director
Image of GMIS Org Chart
Click HERE to view the chart full screen and utilize the contacts. 
Department Dates

Upcoming Holidays

Memorial Day-Monday, May 29 is a State and Federal holiday. 
*All establishments that operate will be charged for inspection services provided. 

Independence Day-Tuesday, July 4 is a State and Federal holiday. 
*All establishments that operate will be charged for inspection services provided. 

USDA Onsite Audit Conducted

April 10-21
The Federal Meat Inspection Act requires State Meat Inspection Programs (MPI) to enforce requirements “at least equal to” Federal requirements. To ensure that States comply, the USDA Federal State Audit Branch (FSAB) conducts annual comprehensive audits of each state’s self-assessment which includes records, reports, and other relevant documents to determine compliance with regulatory requirements.  In addition to the self-assessment, an onsite audit of State MPI are conducted at a minimum frequency of once every 3 years, to verify the accuracy and implementation of the annual self-assessment submissions.

Our onsite audit was conducted the weeks of April 10-21, 2017. The federal auditors visited 10 state inspected facilities and documented 9 findings. The findings consisted of 6 SPS, 2 HACCP, and 1 Labeling non-compliance.

A complete review summary from FSAB will be available in the Fall and we will include a link to it in our newsletter at that time.

For establishments that may have questions about the next onsite audit (tentatively scheduled for 2020), we have put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Q: How does FSAB select which establishments they visit?
A: Establishments are typically selected by the criteria shown below from the past 12 months. Other establishments are randomly selected as needed. If you fall into one of the categories below, there is a reasonable chance that you may be selected.
a) You are one of the highest volume producers in the state.
b) You received positive test results for  E.coli O157:H7/STEC, Lm or Salmonella in RTE product, or Salmonella and Campylobacter set failures.
c) You were involved in a product recall.
d) You had an enforcement action taken against you (NOIE, Withholding, Suspension).
e) You sustained structural damage due to natural disaster.

Q: When would I know if USDA FSAB selected my establishment for a review?
A: USDA FSAB communicates a tentative list of state inspected establishments selected for review a few weeks prior to coming to Georgia and our inspection staff will notify you as soon as possible after the list is received. This tentative list is subject to change at USDA's discretion, and we will communicate any change to you as soon as we receive the information. TA establishments will not be reviewed, and FSAB usually won't select custom establishments or establishments that slaughter or process non-amenable species.

Q: What will I need to do to prepare for the audit?
A: You should continue your operations as usual. USDA FSAB’s primary objective is to audit the performance of our inspection program.  The auditors will ask inspection staff questions to determine if we are enforcing applicable laws and regulations and to ensure that we have implemented inspection procedures and guidelines “at least equal to” USDA. 
In making this determination, the auditors will conduct a walk-thru of your facilities production and non-production areas (including retail areas and storage facilities).  USDA will observe your normal operations and procedures and may review documentation such as your HACCP and SSOP plans, product labels, sample results, plant improvement programs, and HACCP initial validation records. 
Q: Will the auditors ask me any questions?
A: The auditor may ask you questions about your operations, procedures, and documentation as necessary for clarification purposes.

To view last years self-assessment audit or to find out more information, you can click on the links below.

Quarterly Data
Regulatory Updates
Georgia Meat Inspection Rules
FSIS Regulations
Effective on October 1, 2016 Official establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef for sale in commerce were to start maintaining specific information about raw ground beef they produce.

FSIS will begin sending quarterly letters to establishments to summarize sampling results covering a 12-month window (Quarterly Establishment Information Letters).

ASSESSMENT AND VERIFICATION REVIEWS OF AN OFFICIAL LIVESTOCK ESTABLISHMENT’S ROBUST SYSTEMATIC APPROACH PLAN FOR HUMANE HANDLING AND SLAUGHTER This notice recommended that establishments develop and implement a systematic approach for humanely handling and slaughtering livestock by effectively addressing the four aspects of a systematic approach.
We are available to provide outreach on most regulatory requirements.  Just contact us with your questions and we’ll get you in touch with someone who can provide you with the right answers. 
If we can’t answer your questions over the phone, we’ll send out a representative to review your specific situation and documentation and provide guidance on regulatory compliance. 

Please direct your feedback to:
GMIS Atlanta Office
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Meat Inspection Section, Room 108
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Atlanta, Georgia  30334
(404) 656-3673
Website:                    &nnbsp;  

USDA Small Plant Help Desk
Phone:  1-877-374-7435
The Meat Inspection newsletter is produced quarterly by the Meat Inspection Division in an effort to inform all Georgia meat inspection facilities of local, state and national industry updates. The newsletter should serve as an educational update crossing locational barriers throughout the state of Georgia. Thank you to all who contribute and read the newsletter each quarter.
To download or subscribe to this newsletter please visit our website at

For questions or comments, please email
Copyright © *|2017|* *|Georgia Department of Agriculture|*, All rights reserved.
*|Meat Inspection Divison|*
Volume 2017, Issue 1

For more information please click on the links below.

 GDA Notice of Non-Discrimination and FSIS Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statements

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