A specification is a document used primarily in procurement that clearly and
accurately describes the technical requirements for items, materials, or services, and
includes the procedures to follow to determine if the requirements have been met. The
veterinary food inspection specialist must be able to read, interpret, and understand
what he has read. The specification acts as a tool for the veterinary food inspection
specialist as does a knife for the butcher. They should be kept on file at inspection
a. Types of Specifications. There are several types of specifications published
by different governmental agencies.
(1) Federal specifications are for products used throughout the federal
government. Federal specification numbers start with alphabetical letters (for example,
PP-C-248H). See figure 3-7.
(2) Military specifications are for products used exclusively by military
services. Military specification numbers start with the abbreviation MIL--(for example,
MIL-B-3561B). See figure 3-8.
(3) Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications are published by the USDA
and can be identified by a title rather than a number. Institutional meat purchase
specifications (IMPS) are used for meat that has been examined, accepted, and
certified by federal meat graders. The IMPS provide product description and include
(4) United States Department of Agriculture Schedules are specifications
published by the USDA, and can be identified by a title and identifying letters. United
States Department of Agriculture schedules provide materials requirements, processing
procedures, and quality assurance provisions.
(5) Commercial Item Descriptions are published by the USDA and can be
identified by a specification number that starts with the letters "A-A-". This type of
specification is a simplified description of commercially available products.
b. Title Page of Military and Federal Specifications.
(1) The middle letter of both military and federal specifications is the first
letter of the title: For examples, MIL-P-3234D, is a specification for Pound Cake,
Canned, and PP-C-248H is a specification for Chickens, Chilled and Frozen. See
figure 3-7, which has PP-B-2120. Note the title of the specification.
The last letter following the listing of numbers is the revision letter.
(3) On the front page of the specification in the upper right hand corner will
be the number and date. The title will be in the upper middle of the top 1/5 of the form.
See figure 3-7 for a title page of a federal specification and figure 3-8 for a title page of a