Compliance Guideline for Small and Very Small Plants Appealing
At various industry forums, small and very small plants identified a need to FSIS for
guidance on how to appeal inspection decisions. As a result, FSIS developed this
guideline to help small and very small plants understand the appeals process and learn
how to make an appeal, when a plant thinks it’s necessary, in accordance with 9 CFR
306.5 and 9 CFR 381.35. This guideline includes the following sections:
•	 Appeals Process Information
•	 Noncompliance Record (NR) Appeal
•	 Written vs. Verbal Appeals
•	 Appeal Response Timeline
•	 Notice of Intended Enforcement (NOIE) Challenge
•	 Questions and Answers
FSIS regulations, 9 CFR 306.5 and 9 CFR 381.35, provide plants with the opportunity to
appeal any inspection decision. An appeal is part of a plant’s due process according to
the Rules of Practice. If FSIS program personnel issue an NR, the plant can appeal the
whole decision or part of the decision. Any enforcement action taken in accordance with
the Rules of Practice, 9 CFR 500, may also be appealed.
A plant should file an appeal without fear of retaliation. FSIS encourages plants to
appeal decisions they believe are unfair or are not consistent with applicable standards.
The appeal process is a mechanism for ensuring that any disagreements between plant
managers and FSIS program personnel are reviewed.
The appeal process follows the Office of Field Operations (OFO) chain of command.
The chain of command ensures that program employees most familiar with the appeal
facts evaluate the appeal first to minimize response time. The chain of command also
allows a plant to appeal to the next highest level if unsatisfied with an appeal outcome.
The OFO chain of command is:
1.	 Program employee who made the finding (e.g. Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI),
Public Health Veterinarian (PHV), Inspector in Charge (IIC))
2.	 PHV IIC or Mini-Circuit Supervisor
3.	 Frontline Supervisor (FLS)