| Poll Shows Americans are Confident
in U.S. Food Supply
A Gallup poll released earlier this week reported that the vast majority
of Americans, more than 85 percent, said they are confident in the
federal government's ability to protect the nation's food supply.
The polling results also show that Americans feel more confident about
government food safety programs today than they did a few years ago.
Thirty-one percent of the respondents said they had "a great
deal" of confidence in the food supply, up from 21 percent in
July 2001, and 19 percent in July 2002. "This percentage has
more than doubled since 1999, when just 15 percent of Americans had
a great deal of confidence in the government's ability to keep the
food supply safe," said Heather Mason, Gallup contributing editor.
The survey also noted that fifty-four percent said they had a "fair
amount" of confidence while only fourteen percent said they had
"not much or "no confidence" in government food safety
The positive poll numbers can be partly attributed to USDA's prompt
and thorough response to the discovery of a cow with BSE in December
2003. In addition, the unprecedented steps that FSIS has taken in
the past few years to implement science-based policies to combat illness-causing
pathogens on raw meat and poultry products have also helped to achieve
a safer food supply.
Reports of increased consumer confidence in the government's ability
to protect the food supply comes at a time when the Centers for Disease
Control is reporting a 36 percent drop in the number of illnesses
caused by E. coli O157:H7 as well as recent reports by FSIS
that there has been a 62 percent decline in the number of ground beef
regulatory samples testing positive for E. coli O157:H7.
The poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,005 adults in the
United States and was conducted between July 8 and 11, 2004. The margin
of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
Two Opportunities Remain to Attend E. coli O157:H7
The final workshops on new directives designed to strengthen E.
coli O157:H7 prevention procedures will be held August 28 and
September 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three FSIS directives to be
covered during the sessions are: Directive 10,010.1 Revision 1, Microbiological
Testing Program and Other Verification Activities for E. coli
O157:H7 in Raw Ground Beef Products and Raw Ground Beef Components
and Beef Patty Components; Directive 6420.0, Verification of Procedures
for Controlling Fecal Material, Ingesta and Milk in Slaughter Operations;
and Directive 5000.2, Review of Establishment Data by Inspection Program
Personnel. They are designed for operators of small and very small
federally-inspected plants, state-inspected plants, federal and state
inspection personnel, members of academia and other interested parties.
FSIS will webcast the workshop from Philadelphia on August 28. Individuals
who are not able to travel to Philadelphia will have an opportunity
to watch the meeting in progress and ask questions in real time through
their computers. To connect to the webcast, participants will need
a computer, speakers and access to the Internet. Several people can
participate from one location.
There are 50 slots available for the webcast. Registration is required
for the webcast and will be accepted through August 18, 2004. Priority
will be given to small and very small federally-inspected plants,
state-inspected plants, federal and state inspection personnel, as
well as those hosting the webcast event for a large audience. Please
note, pre-registration is required. To register visit: www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/
The remaining workshops are scheduled as follows:
- August 28: Crown Plaza Philadelphia, 1800 Market
Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103, (215) 561-7500
- September 11: The Ambassador, 3100 I-40 West,
Amarillo, Texas 79102, (806) 358-6161
To pre-register to attend the workshops, please call (866) 553-3052
or visit: www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events
FSIS Proposes Equalizing Requirements for Supervisory
FSIS has issued a proposed rule harmonizing the requirements for supervisory
visits at certified foreign establishments with those of domestic
The proposed rule amends FSIS regulations to require foreign inspection
agencies to conduct supervisory visits at intervals sufficient to
verify that the establishment remains eligible for certification to
export to the United States. The new language reestablishes the frequency
requirement as "periodic supervisory visits."
Comments must be received on or before October 18. Written comments
may be submitted to the FSIS Docket Room, Reference Docket #03-033P,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service,
Room 102 Cotton Annex, 300 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-3700.
Any comments received will be available for public inspection in the
FSIS Docket Room from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
and will be posted at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
For further information contact Sally White, director, international
equivalence staff, FSIS' Office of International Affairs, phone (202)
National Advisory Committee Seeking Nominees
USDA is seeking nominees for membership on the National Advisory Committee
on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI).
Membership is drawn from a broad range of groups interested in food
safety, including producers, processors, exporters and importers of
meat and poultry products, as well as those in academia, federal and
state government officials and consumers. All of these groups are
encouraged to nominate candidates as it is important for the NACMPI
to represent diverse constituencies. Committee appointments are made
by the Secretary of Agriculture.
Names of nominees and their typed curricula vitae, or resume, should
be sent to Dr. Barbara J. Masters, acting administrator, FSOS, USDA,
Room 405-Aerospace Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington,
D.C. 20250-3700. The application must be postmarked no later than
September 5, 2004.
Applications are also available online at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/NACMPI/Nominations.htm
Upcoming National Advisory Committee on Microbiological
Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) Meetings
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
(NACMCF) will hold public meetings Aug. 24-27. The full committee
will discuss performance standards for ground chicken and ground turkey,
the scientific basis for establishing safety-based "use by" date labels
for refrigerated ready-to-eat foods and scientific criteria for redefining
pasteurization. All meetings are open to the public and will be held
at the Hotel Monaco, 700 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC.
The full committee will meet Friday, Aug. 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Three NACMCF subcommittees will meet prior to the full committee meeting.
The Performance Standards for Ground Chicken/Ground Turkey subcommittee
will meet Aug. 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Aug. 25, from 8:30
a.m. to noon. The Scientific Criteria for Redefining Pasteurization
subcommittee will meet Aug. 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Scientific
Basis for Establishing Safety-Based "Use By" Date Labeling for Refrigerated
Ready-to-Eat Foods subcommittee will meet Aug. 2,6 from 8:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m.
For further information contact Karen Thomas, FSIS',Office of Public
Health Science, Microbiology Division at (202) 690-6620.
Salmonella Data Clarification
In explanatory notes accompanying 2003 Salmonella testing
data, a reference was made to a steady decrease in positive samples
for each year of HACCP verification testing even when four years of
data were weighted against the proportion of samples in each of seven
categories in 2000. The calculations were made using the proportions
from the 2001 data, rather than 2000. FSIS regrets any confusion this
error may have caused.
Library of Export Requirement Updated
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes
in export requirements for Australia, Hong Kong, Macedonia, Qatar,
and Romania. Complete information can be found at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/Export_Information
Featured Office of the Week: Labor and Employee Relations
The Labor and Employee Relations Division's (LERD) mission is to prevent
and correct conduct and performance problems that can significantly
interfere with the agency's vital public health goals. To accomplish
this important task, LERD provides vital leadership and helpful advice
to managers handling labor relation issues. The Voluntary Dispute
Intervention Program is the most recent example of the division's
efforts to address conflicts and disagreements in the workplace before
they affect the Agency's important public health mission. LERD is
also dedicated to promoting and enhancing relations with the National
Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals and other important employee
organizations. For more information visit: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/OM/
THIS WEEK'S HOT WEB LINKS
March 28, 2006