APHIS said the revisions were discussed at the NPIP biennial conference, held last June (2018), and would incorporate the latest science, technology and best practices in the sector.
The inspection service had been waiting for comments received until 13 May on its proposals, which have been detailed in the Federal Register, the official journal of the federal government of the United States, but none were received said a USDA official, clearing the way for the new rules to come into force.
Among the reforms are changes to the definition of whether poultry has been exposed to H5/H7 low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) or infected by the disease. The service also wants to amend the testing protocol for mycoplasma, and allow molecular-based examination procedures to screen for mycoplasma.
It wants an end to the use of specific agar gel immunodiffusion avian influenza testing procedures. And it wants improvements to salmonella isolation procedures and salmonella bacteriological examination procedures for cull chicks and poults, requiring the use of a new salmonella diagnostic test kit. APHIS wants outdated testing procedures for its sanitation monitoring programme scrapped, while updating and clarifying hatching egg and hatchery sanitation requirements, flock sanitation procedures, and cleaning and disinfection procedures. The new NPIP would add new dealer sanitation requirements, better define the rules on the compartmentalisation of birds, and amend and clarify audit guidelines and checklists.
Dr John Glisson, vice president of research for the US Poultry & Egg Association, said the revisions would turn the industry’s best practices into official USDA regulations when the agency publishes them in the Federal Register. He said NPIP programmes were regularly revised and voted on at the NPIP biennial conference, before being drafted into USDA regulations and put up for consultation.
The next NPIP biennial conference is scheduled in summer 2020.
A note in the Federal Register notice said: “While changes in diagnostic science, testing technology, and best practices for maintaining sanitation are continual, the rulemaking process can be lengthy. As a result, the regulations have, at times, become outdated.”
These changes are designed to remedy that problem. Participation by US poultry producers in all NPIP programmes is voluntary, but breeding flocks, hatcheries and dealers must first qualify as ‘US Pullorum-Typhoid Clean’, following NPIP standards, to take part.