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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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5-4 - DETENTION OF FOODS - OTHER STATUTORY AUTHORITY

5-4 - DETENTION OF FOODS - OTHER STATUTORY AUTHORITY
     5-4-1 - Purpose
     5-4-2 - Authority
     5-4-3 - Criteria For Effecting And Terminating Detentions

 5-4 - DETENTION OF FOODS - OTHER STATUTORY AUTHORITY

 5-4-1 - Purpose

This section contains the procedures for exercising FDA’s authority to detain meat, poultry and egg products as delegated to FDA under the provisions of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (MIA), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) and the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA).

For the purpose of this section only, the following definitions apply:

  1. Meat And Meat Products

    The carcasses of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, other equines, parts of such carcasses, and products made wholly or in part from such carcasses.

  2. Poultry And Poultry Products -

    The carcasses of domesticated birds, parts of such carcasses, and products made wholly or in part from such carcasses.

    EXCEPTION - In the case of both meat and poultry products, certain products are exempted from the above referenced Acts by USDA because they contain a relatively small portion of meat or poultry or historically have not been considered meat or poultry products.

  3. Eggs

    The shell eggs of the domesticated chicken, turkey, duck, goose or guinea.

  4. Egg Products

    Dried, frozen or liquid eggs, with or without added ingredients, except products exempted by USDA because they contain a relatively small proportion of eggs or historically have not been considered egg products.

 5-4-2 - Authority

The Federal Meat Inspection Act (MIA) as amended by Public Law (P.L.) 90-201 and Sections 19 and 20(b) of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) as amended by P.L. 90-492 and Sections 19 and 23(d) of the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) provide certain detention powers.

The detention authority under the MIA and the PPIA provide that FDA representatives may detain articles subject to these acts if they are outside a USDA inspected plant and there is reason to believe that the products are adulterated or misbranded under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act).

The detention authority under the EPIA provides that FDA representatives may detain products subject to that act if the products are found outside a USDA inspected plant and there is reason to believe that the products are in violation of the EPIA.

NOTE: Interstate Commerce is not a requirement for FDA jurisdiction over eggs and egg products because authority is based on violation of the Egg Products Inspection Act rather than the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act).

The detention process is another regulatory tool to achieve compliance with the Act. It should be considered when such products are encountered during regular district operations, on assignment, or as a follow-up to complaints. This procedure becomes most appropriate when no immediate arrangements can be made for local or state authority to take control of the product, and/or it appears that the product will not be held voluntarily.

 5-4-3 - Criteria For Effecting And Terminating Detentions

Use the following procedures in detention situations:

  1. Exercise Of Detention Authority
    1. Meat and Poultry Products
      Detentions may be made when all of the following criteria are met:
      1. The article meets the jurisdictional requirement of interstate commerce in Section 304 of the Act and the article is in commercial channels;
      2. The article is located in an establishment that does not have USDA meat or poultry inspection service;
      3. The article is intended for human food or could readily be diverted into use for human food;
      4. The article is adulterated or significantly misbranded under the Act. (NOTE: Detentions based solely on misbranding or on adulteration involving Section 402(b) of the Act must be cleared by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) before detention.); and,
      5. The respective USDA, Food Safety Inspection Service District Office has been notified and the action is coordinated with that office.
    2. Eggs and Egg Products
      Detentions may be made when all of the following criteria are met:
      1. The article is in commercial channels. (NOTE: Interstate commerce is not a requirement for jurisdiction under the Egg Products Inspection Act.);
      2. The article is located in an establishment that does not have USDA egg products inspection service;
      3. The article is intended for human food or could readily be diverted into use for human food; and,
      4. There is reason to believe the article is in violation of the Egg Products Inspection Act.
  2. Termination Of A Detention Action
    Detention should be continued until one of the following criteria is met:
    1. State, county or municipal authorities have exercised jurisdiction and control of the article; or, in the case of meat or poultry, USDA has assumed control;
    2. It has been determined that there is no significant violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act, and the USDA has been notified that we intend to terminate the detention action;
    3. The detained article has been denatured, destroyed or reconditioned under appropriate supervision;
    4. The detention period of 20 consecutive days, counting the day the detention was executed as the first day, has expired; or,
    5. Seizure has been accomplished.

      NOTE: Forward seizure recommendation as soon as possible after detention is accomplished, because the detention cannot be reinstated after the 20 day detention period expires.
  3. Procedures
    The IOM, Chapter 2, subchapter 2.7- Detention Activities contains specific inspectional instructions including initial reporting requirements, detention initiation, reconditioning, and termination.