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USDA invites public review of changes to National Poultry Improvement Plan

Find out what changes have been proposed; all comments submitted before 13 May 2019 will be considered.

16 April 2019, at 10:23am

The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), also referred to below as “the Plan,” is a cooperative Federal-State-Industry mechanism for controlling certain poultry diseases. The Plan consists of a variety of programmes intended to prevent and control poultry diseases. Participation in all Plan programmes is voluntary, but breeding flocks, hatcheries, and dealers must first qualify as “US Pullorum-Typhoid Clean” as a condition for participating in the other Plan programmes.

The Plan identifies States, flocks, hatcheries, dealers, and slaughter plants that meet certain disease control standards specified in the Plan's various programmes. As a result, customers can buy poultry that has tested clean of certain diseases or that has been produced under disease-prevention conditions.

The regulations in 9 CFR parts 56, 145, 146, and 147 (referred to below as the regulations) contain the provisions of the Plan. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) amends these provisions from time to time to incorporate new scientific information and technologies within the Plan.

In the past, APHIS has updated the regulations once every 2 years, following the Biennial Plan Conference of the NPIP General Conference Committee. The NPIP General Conference Committee advises the Secretary on poultry health and represents cooperating State agencies and poultry industry members. During its meetings and Biennial Conferences, the Committee discusses significant poultry health issues and makes recommendations to improve the NPIP.

However, 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 As a result, the regulations have, at times, become outdated. To remedy this problem, we determined that we needed a more flexible process for amending provisions of the Plan. On July 9, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 38752-38768, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0101) a final rule[1] that, among other things, amended the regulations by removing tests and detailed testing procedures, as well as sanitation procedures, from part 147, and making these available in an NPIP Program Standards document. The rule also amended the regulations to provide for the Program Standards document to be updated through the issuance of a notice in the Federal Register followed by a period of public comment. The latter change was intended to enable us to make the NPIP programme more effective by allowing Plan provision updates without the need for rulemaking.

We are advising the public that we have prepared updates to the NPIP Program Standards document. The proposed updates would amend the standards by:

  • Adding and amending definitions of H5/H7 low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) (exposed) and H5/H7 LPAI (infected);
  • Clarifying and amending the testing protocol for Mycoplasma;
  • Allowing use of molecular-based examination procedures to screen for Mycoplasma;
  • Removing specific agar gel immunodiffusion Avian Influenza testing procedures with directions to use the current National Veterinary Services Laboratories protocol;
  • Amending and clarifying salmonella isolation procedures;
  • Updating and clarifying bacteriological examination procedures for cull chicks and poults for salmonella;
  • Adding a new salmonella diagnostic test kit;
  • Removing outdated testing procedures for the sanitation monitored programme;
  • Updating and clarifying hatching egg and hatchery sanitation requirements;
  • Updating and clarifying flock sanitation procedures;
  • Updating and clarifying cleaning and disinfecting procedures;
  • Adding new dealer sanitation requirements;
  • Updating and clarifying compartmentalisation language as well as amending and clarifying audit guidelines and checklists; and
  • Adding Newcastle disease virus compartmentalisation physical requirements for an egg depot receiving/shipping dock.