Food safety systems governing Hungary’s meat products pass USDA audit

A foreign audit report for Hungary has been released to the public by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The in-country inspection occurred from July 22 through Aug. 2, 2019, and earned approval for Hungary’s system.

The audit’s purpose was to evaluate Hungary’s food safety systems governing meat products exported to the United States. The FSIS auditors found Hungary’s regulation of beef, veal, goat, lamb, mutton, and pork “remains equivalent to that of the United States.”

Hungary’s exported meat products “are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and correctly labeled and packaged,” according to the audit report. Hungary currently exports to the United States raw ground pork, raw intact pork, ready-to-eat (RTE) acidified /fermented meat, RTE dried meat, and NRTE processed meat.

FSIS’s equivalent in Hungary is known as the National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO). While the auditors found no deficiencies in NFCSO’s practices that represented an immediate threat to public health, they did find some areas that need attention. These included:

  • Inspection personnel not confirming acceptable test results from livestock carcasses and parts for chemical residues, information which is part of the export certificate.
  • -The NFCSO was not requiring certified establishments to ensure zero tolerance for fecal material, ingesta, and milk prior to entering the chill cooler and inspection personnel were not conducting offline verification of such requirements.
  • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems had some flaws, including listing Salmonella as a hazard but without any associated control point.

Lajos Bognar, Hungary’s Deputy State Secretary for Food Chain Control, promised to fully address the audit’s findings. He made a detailed response to FSIS in a letter dated Sept. 24, 2019, saying he wanted to clarify “the responsibilities of both the establishment employees and the government inspectors and the measures that will be deemed as appropriate to correct the identified systemic findings.”

The NFCSO headquarters in Budapest, a regional administrative office in Baranya, two Budapest laboratories, three hog slaughter, and processing establishments, and two pork processing establishments were part of the audit inspection tour.

Hungary’s system of meat food safety held up the standards of the U.S. Meat Inspection Act, Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter and America’s Meat Inspection Regulations.

In addition, FSIS import inspectors performed 100 percent re-inspection for labeling and certifications on 1.8 million pounds of pork products exported into the U.S. by Hungary from March 1, 2016, to Feb. 28, 2019.

Large amounts were also subjected to tests for chemical residues and pathogens like Listeria and Salmonella. None of the Hungarian pork products were rejected during the three years.

The auditors also found Hungary had taken corrective actions to largely resolve issues raised in a previous audit in late 2017

Hungary is a nation of almost 10 million people, located in Central Europe.  The Danube River flows through its capital city of Budapest, but it is a landlocked country.  Hungary borders Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.  Agricultural products are among its top exports.  Hungary is a member state of the European Union (EU).

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Source: Food safety systems governing Hungary’s meat products pass USDA audit

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