FSIS is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, responsible for ensuring the safety of the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products. The FSIS must ensure products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged, as required by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act.
Meat, poultry, and egg products account for a third of consumer spending for food, with an annual retail value of $120 billion. This includes all raw beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey, as well as processed meat and poultry products, including hams, sausage, soups, stews, pizzas, and frozen dinners (generally, products that contain 2% or more cooked meat and poultry or 3% or more raw meat and poultry). Examples of processed egg products regulated by FSIS are dried egg yolks, scrambled egg mix, dried egg powder, and liquid eggs.
Recalls of meat, poultry and egg products that are produced by privately owned retail outlets are coordinated and monitored by state and local agencies.
FSIS recalls follow a similar format to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's class system:
- Class I recalls are for dangerous or defective products that predictably could cause serious health problems or death.
- Class II recalls are for products that might cause a temporary health problem, or pose only a slight threat of a serious nature.
- Class III recalls are for products that are unlikely to cause any adverse health reactions but still violate Federal safety regulations.