Edited by Jeremy Russell

July 17, 2000


By Robert Savage

President, HACCP Consulting Group

FSIS has begun to conduct In-Depth Verification (IDV) reviews of plants’ HACCP plans and systems as well as its SSOP program and procedures. Unlike the role of the local FSIS Inspector, who is responsible to determine that plants "say what they do and do what they say," the IDV reviews determine the adequacy of the HACCP plans and system as well as the SSOP program in meeting regulatory requirements as well as technical/scientific expectations. IDVs may be conducted by multidisciplinary teams and involve experts from various parts of the agency like the Technical Service Center, headquarters, field laboratories and district offices. Plants should receive advance notice so that they can gather together the material for the review team.

There will be two types of reviews: random and "for cause." "For cause" reviews will be conducted when the district manager believes there are recurring problems at a particular establishment and may be used as the basis for enforcement actions. The IDV reviews focus on, among other areas, the adequacy of the HACCP hazard analysis and the supporting information and justifications made during the hazard analysis; the validation of the HACCP plans and system; and, when, how and who conducts reassessments of the HACCP plans.

It is extremely important that each establishment be prepared for the possibility of a Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), In-Depth Verification (IDV) Review. The following guidelines were prepared for NMA by HACCP Consulting Group L.L.C. President Robert Savage. He has assisted several companies in preparing for the IDV team.