FSIS Directive 6030.1 Religious Exemption for the Slaughter and Processing of Poultry

I. PURPOSE

This directive provides instructions to inspection program personnel (IPP) for verifying the applicable regulatory requirements in official poultry establishments operating under approved religious exemptions for the slaughter and processing of poultry. This directive clarifies the parameters needed for DistrictOffice (DO) approval and IPP verification of poultry religious exemptions. This directive has been revised in its entirety to include answers from common askFSIS questions about religious exempt poultry and to generally update obsolete instructions.

KEY POINTS:

? Religious exempt establishments conduct microbial sampling to monitor their ability to maintain process control as required in 9 CFR 381.65(g)

? Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections are conducted as per the Poultry Products Inspection Act(PPIA)

? Viscera and other parts may be processed under an approved religious exemption and labeled as religious exempt

? Religious Exemption information is on the Grant of Inspection (GOI) and in the Public Health Information System (PHIS) Establishment Profile

II. CANCELLATION

FSIS Directive 6030.1, Rev. 1, Religious Exemption for the Slaughter and Processing of Poultry, 8/10/05 and FSIS Form 6030-1 Exemption Certificate (Poultry) 7/13/05

III. BACKGROUND

A. The PPIA (21 U.S.C. 464(a)(3)) exempts from certain requirements official establishments slaughtering or processing poultry or poultry products in accordance with religious dietary laws. The religiousexemption is intended to prevent conflicts between religious dietary laws and regulatory requirements. Any official establishment that slaughters or processes poultry or poultry products that are produced or processed as required by recognized religious dietary laws may apply for exemption from specific provisions of the Act and regulations. FSIS approves exemptions to the extent necessary to avoid a conflict, as outlined in the poultry inspection regulations (9 CFR 381.11, 9 CFR 381.12, and 9 CFR 381.14).

B. An establishment may apply for an exemption to slaughter or process poultry products according to recognized religious dietary laws. As examples, FSIS has previously approved these exemptions under the provisions of the PPIA:

        1. Processing in accordance with Buddhist religious beliefs that require the poultry to be eviscerated, with head and feet intact;

        2. Processing in accordance with Confucian religious beliefs that require the poultry to be noneviscerated, with head and feet intact;

        3. Processing in accordance with Islamic (or Halal) religious beliefs that require the poultry to be eviscerated, head intact, with or without the feet intact; and

        4. Processing in accordance with Judaic (or Kosher) religious beliefs that require the poultry to be noneviscerated, with head and feet intact.

C. Products that meet all inspection requirements and bear the marks of inspection are not religious exempt products. There is no need for a religious exempt certificate when products with label claims including ?Halal,? ?Kosher,? or another claim, bear the marks of inspection.

D. Any poultry products produced under a religious exemption cannot ever bear the marks of inspection. This includes any parts produced from religious exempt carcasses.

IV. DO RESPONSIBILITIES

A. The DO is to:

        1. Review the establishment?s completed application to slaughter or process poultry under a religious exemption. The completed application will have been submitted by the establishment as part of their updated FSIS Form 5200-2, Application for Federal Inspection (Meat, Poultry, Siluriformes Fish, Egg Products, and Import). The DO is to verify that requestedexempt activities are selected in Section III. Type of Operations Block 19C. (Exemptions; Religious Exempt Poultry) of the application and that the establishment entered the required information from the religious authority on the continuation sheet on page 7 of the form. This is to include the requirements specified in 9 CFR 381.11(a) for identifying and certifying the religious dietary lawsthat are in conflict with specific provisions of the Act and the regulations from which exemption is requested.

        2. Issue a completed FSIS Form 6030-1 Religious Exemption Certificate (Poultry) to the establishment for each exemption requestedand approved. Users need an e-authentication account to access this form.

        3. Maintain a copy of the completed FSIS Form 6030-1 on file in the DO with the GOI.

        4. Send acopy to the Inspector in Charge (IIC) at the establishment to provide IPP with information on the regulations from which the establishment is exempt.

        5. Update the establishment profile in PHIS using the instructions in FSIS Directive 5220.1, Granting or Refusing Inspection Voluntary Suspending or Withdrawing Inspection and Reinstating Inspection Under PHIS.

V. IPP GENERAL VERIFICATION RESPONSIBILITIES

A. To ensure the approved exemption status is implemented appropriately, IPP are to:

        1. Verifythat the establishment has a corresponding Religious ExemptionCertificate(FSIS Form 6030-1) issued by the DO for each exemptionactivity conducted, including the following:

                a. If an establishment further processes religious exempt carcasses into religious exempt parts, the establishment has a separate certificate for that activity regardless of whether the carcasses are from birds slaughtered at the same establishment under a religious exempt certificate or received from another establishment with a religious exempt certificate.

                b. Ensure neither poultry produced under a religious exemption, nor any of its parts, subsequently receive the marks of inspection. IPP are to be aware that poultry must undergo all the required post-mortem inspection procedures to bear the marks of inspection. Because IPP are unable to visualize the hock joints on carcasses with the feet attached or examine the visceraor internal surfaces in noneviscerated carcasses during post-mortem inspection, these carcassesand their associated parts are not eligible for the marks of inspection. In addition, poultry carcasses with heads or feet intact are not eligible to bear the marks of inspection because they do not meet the ready-to-cook definition (9 CFR 381.1), which requires removal of the head and feet.

        2. Contact the DO through supervisory channelsforfurther instructions ifthere is not anexemption certificate for each type of religious exempt activity conductedat the establishment.

        3. Verify and update the PHIS EstablishmentProfileas necessary, under the General page and Exemptionstab for the approved exemptionsas per the instructions in FSIS Directive 5300.1, Managing the Establishment Profile in the Public Health Information System.

        4. Recognizethatfor the production ofpoultryproductsfollowing all regulatoryrequirements,and bearing the marks of inspection, a religious exemption is not required or appropriate. Products with a special ?Halal,? ?Kosher,? or other religious claim with the marks of inspection are not religious exempt products. Inspection program personnel are to follow the instructions in FSIS Directive 7221.1, Prior Labeling Approval for regulatory verification of these labels. The GOI and PHIS profile for establishments producing only inspected products, even those with special religious label claims, do not need any special notation.

        5. Religious exempt poultry products are not subject to the pathogen reduction performance standards, so FSIS doesnot perform verification sampling (FSIS Directive 10,250.1, Salmonella and Campylobacter Verification Program for Raw Poultry Products). Religious exempt poultry products are eligible for directed (surveillance) residue testingthrough the National Residue Program (NRP).

B. IPP are to verify that establishments with approved religious exemptions:

        1. Meetall regulatory requirementsfrom which the establishment hasnotbeen exempted, including but not limited to:

                a. Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection (9 CFR 381.70(a), 9 CFR 381.76(a)). IPP are to follow instructions in FSIS Directive 6100.3, Ante-Mortem and Post-Mortem Poultry Inspection or FSIS Directive 6500.1, New Poultry Inspection System: Post-Mortem Inspection and Verification of Ready-to-Cook Requirement. Post-mortem inspection is limited to external surfaces of exemptednoneviscerated carcasses;

NOTE: The specific post-mortem inspection requirements are provided in 9 CFR 381.76 and vary by type of inspection, i.e., Traditional Inspection, the Streamlined Inspection System (SIS), the New Line Speed (NELS) Inspection System, the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), the New Turkey Inspection System (NTI), and Ratite Inspection.

                b. Passing of carcasses and parts (9 CFR 381.79);

                c. Poultry Good Commercial Practices(9 CFR 381.65(b)). IPP are to follow instructions in FSIS Directive 6110.1, Verification of Poultry Good Commercial Practices);

                d. Contamination (9 CFR 381.91);

                e. Sanitation (9 CFR part 416);

                f. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems (9 CFR part 417);

                g. Prohibition of poultry carcasses with visible fecal materialentering the chiller(9 CFR 381.65(f));

                h. Control of contamination throughout the slaughter and dressing operations (9 CFR 381.65(g) and 9 CFR 381.65(h)) including:

                        i. recordkeeping and sampling requirements in 9 CFR 381.65(g) and 9 CFR 381.65(h);

                      ii. asampling program that effectively demonstrates process control;and

                i. Allrequirements of the Ready-to-cook definition in 9 CFR 381.1 other than those that conflict with the religious dietary laws.

        2. Do not further process noneviscerated carcasseswhile in anoneviscerated state. Religious exempt poultry carcasses produced under a noneviscerated Confucian or Kosher exemption are not further processed into cut-up parts, giblets, feet, or necks while they are in a noneviscerated state because doing so could create insanitary conditions. Noneviscerated poultry carcasses produced under a religious exemption are permitted to be eviscerated later (delayed evisceration) and further processedunder a separate religious exemption certificate ateitherthe same establishment orat another official establishment.

        3. Demonstrate clear separation, by time or space,of religious exempt products from products that are receiving the marks of inspection. For multi-ingredient products, this required separation would include preventing ingredients that come into contact with religious exempt products from contacting carcasses or parts intended to receive the marks of inspection (e.g., the pickle solutions used for curing eviscerated Buddhist exempt carcasses are not to be used on products that will bear the marks of inspection). If IPP observe any incidental contact between religious exemptproducts and products receiving the marks of inspection, they are to assess the specific facts of the situation to determine whether this incidental contact creates an insanitary condition or contaminates or adulterates products.

C. IPP are to follow the methodology in FSIS Directive 5000.1, Verifying an Establishment's Food Safety System to verify the establishment?s compliance with the pathogen reduction, sanitation, and HACCP regulations that are applicable to an establishment that is operating under a religious exemption.

VI. INSPECTION VERIFICATION SPECIFIC TO LABELING REQUIREMENTS (MANDATORY AND OPTIONAL)

A. Formandatory labelingrequirements, IPP are to verify that:

        1. The producing establishment hastheapproved labelrecordon file. Sketch labels for products which are produced under a religious exemption are required to be submitted for approval to the FSIS LPDS per 9 CFR 412.1(c). Labels for religious exempt productsarenoteligible for generic approval.

        2. Labels forreligious exempt items in immediate containers bear the featuresin paragraphs a-f below. Such religious exempt items include eviscerated carcasses, parts, or giblets packaged in immediate containers, e.g., bags, tray packs, cartons, etc.

                a. Statement that the products were processed under a Buddhist, Confucian, Islamic (Halal), or Judaic (Kosher) exemption, or a statement of equal meaning (e.g., ?for Buddhist religion?);

                b. Name of the religious official or organization under whose supervision the poultry was slaughtered;

                c. Signature Line or producing establishment?s name and address or city, state, and zip code when listed in a public directory (9 CFR 381.122);

                d. Establishment number;

                e. Product Name ?Productsmust be identified according to the Standards for Kinds and Classesand for Cuts of Raw Poultry in 9 CFR 381.170. In addition, the name must be descriptive according to 9 CFR 381.117 for carcasses that are not dressed in the same manner as inspected and passed carcasses. The name must include applicable terminology for noneviscerated, head-on, or feet intact characteristics. Mechanically separated poultrymust comply with the requirements in 9 CFR 381.173 and 9 CFR 381.174; and

                f. Ingredients Statement if the product is fabricated from two or more ingredients. The ingredients must belisted as safe and suitable for use for the purpose intended (IPP are to follow instructions in FSIS Directive 7120.1, Safe and Suitable Ingredients Used in the Production of Meat, Poultry and Egg Products).

        3. Other items for retail sale are individually identified.

NOTE: Carcasses or partsfor retail sale and not in an immediate containermust be affixed with tags (?wing tags?) labeled according to section VI, A, 2 above.

        4. Labels for the following non-retail packagedproductsinclude the followingrequiredadditional labeling features:

                a. Labels for religious exempt items packaged for hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) trade channels must be labeled as follows:
Individual carcass identification or identification of unlabeled individual packages (protective coverings) for Buddhist or Islamic exempted poultryare not required for eviscerated bulk packed poultry solely intended for HRI, provided that the large immediate container:

                        i. Bears the features described in section VI, A, 2 above; and

                      ii. Bears one of the following appropriate exemption statements:

                                ?Noneviscerated Poultry Processed under USDA Exemption Permit No. ?? with the establishment number as the permit number; or

                                ?Eviscerated Poultry Processed under USDA Exemption Permit No. ?? with the establishment number as the permit number.

                    iii. Statement of limited use (e.g., ?For HRI Only?) is recommended but not required.

                b. Labels for shipping containers for religious exempt poultry bear the following features:

                        i. Signature Line or producing establishment?s name and address or city, state, and zip code when listed in a public directory (9 CFR 381.122); and

                      ii. One of the following appropriate exemption statements:

                                ?Noneviscerated Poultry Processed under USDA Exemption Permit No. ?? with the establishment number as the permit number; or

                                ?Eviscerated Poultry Processed under USDA Exemption Permit No. ?? with the establishment number as the permit number.

B. Optional labeling featuresthat are truthful and not misleading may be included on immediate containers or shipping containers of religious exempt products. Labeling for religious exempt products may bearadditionalmandatoryfeatures of inspected and passed poultry products (9 CFR 381 Subpart N), except that the labeling does not indicate thatthe products were inspected and passed. IPP are to verify the following optionalfeaturesare accurateif they are included on the label:

        1. Handling Statement ?Recommended for product safetyand is to meet the requirements of 9 CFR 381.125(a);

        2. Net Weight Statement ? to meet the requirements of 9 CFR 381.121;

        3. Safe Handling Instructions ?to meet the requirements of 9 CFR 381.125(b), except the first sentence of the rationale statement is not permitted since the products are not inspected and passed. This feature is recommended for product safety;

        4. Nutrition Facts ? Not required on religious exempt products, unless a nutrition claim is made on the labeling and is to meet the requirements of 9 CFR Part 381 Subpart Y;

        5. Other labeling information may be used, provided that the labeling is truthful and not misleading(9 CFR 381.129); and

        6. Special statements including logos, trademarks, and other symbols on labels that are generally not defined in FSIS regulations or the FSIS Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book must be submitted to FSIS for approval. Special statements and claims include ?natural? and ?organic?, health claims, ingredient and processing method claims (e.g., high-pressure processing), animal raising claims (e.g., no antibiotics added, free range), and organic claims. For more information about special statements and claims, see: FSIS Directive 7221.1.

C. Changes to labels of religious exempt products may not be approved generically.

D. LabelExamples for Religious Exempt Products:

        1. Basic label for single ingredient religious exempt product, no voluntary features:

======================================
TMB Ranch, Inc.
1234 Special Rd., Elsewhere, VA 54321

Whole Chicken, head on, feet on

Eviscerated Zabiha Halal poultry.
Processed under USDA Exemption No.
P-42

Hand Slaughtered under the Islamic
Society.
======================================

        2. Label for religious exempt product with multiple ingredients with voluntary special claims:

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] FD60301.101




VII. DOCUMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

IPP are to conduct tasks as applicable and in accordance with the directives listed above in Section V, IPP General Verification Responsibilities. Whendocumentingnoncompliance,IPP can reference applicable FSIS Directives including the instructions in FSIS Directive 5000.1. IPP are to take regulatory control action as needed on religious exempt products under 9 CFR part 500 Rules of Practice.

VIII. QUESTIONS

Refer questions regarding this directive to your supervisor or as needed to the Office of Policy and Program Development through askFSIS or by telephone at 1-800-233-3935. When submitting a question, complete the web form andselectLabeling as the Inquiry Type for questions about labeling requirements. Select General Inspection Policy as the Inquiry Type for other questions.

NOTE: Refer to FSIS Directive 5620.1, Using askFSIS, for additional information on submitting questions.

Rachel A. Edelstein
Assistant Administrator
Office of Policy and Program Development