| Agency Takes Proactive Measures in
Response to More Hurricanes
This week FSIS Administrator Dr. Barbara Masters prepared the Agency
to take proactive measures to ensure the public receives important
food safety information.
The effort is in response to Hurricane Rita, which is expected to
strike the U.S. Gulf Coast. Strong storms such as Hurricane Rita can
potentially cause flooding and power outages, as was witnessed after
Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.
Flood waters often carry bacteria that can contaminate food, utensils
and counter tops. Power outages affect food safety because frozen
and refrigerated foods spoil quickly after power is lost.
FSIS has issued Consumer Alerts to address issues on food safety during,
and after, severe storms. The alerts are available in English and
You can view these alerts on FSIS' Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/
In addition to these alerts, FSIS has food safety brochures with important
food safety information for consumers affected by severe weather.
The brochures also contain important information for volunteer food
service workers, facility managers, dispatchers, and trainers.
These publications are available in Spanish, and include:
- A Consumer Alert on food safety during power outages and flooding
available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Hurricane_Katrina_Flyer.pdf
- A booklet for volunteer food handlers called "Cooking for
Groups" available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Cooking_for_Groups.pdf
- A fact sheet on preparing food for groups called "7 Food Safety
Steps for Successful Community Meals" available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/cfg/7Steps_2.pdf
Reminder about FSIA Meeting in Miami
A public meeting to discuss the Food Safety Institute of the Americas'
(FSIA) strategic plan to improve and harmonize food safety, food security
and food defense education, training and communication throughout
the Americas will take place September 29-30, in Miami, FL.
The meeting will be held at the Renaissance Eden Roc Hotel, 4525 Collins
Avenue, Miami Beach, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, September
29; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, September 30. All sessions
are free, but registration is required. Attendees who need sign language
interpreters or have other special needs should contact the FSIA at
(305) 347-5552 or by fax at (305) 530-6066.
The meeting agenda is available in English and Spanish on FSIS' Web
site at: www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Meetings_&_Events/.
Reminder about NACMCF Meeting
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
(NACMCF) will hold public meetings on September 26-29.
The full Committee will discuss consumer guidelines for the safe cooking
of poultry products; the analytical utility of Campylobacter
methodologies; and the determination of cooking parameters for safe
seafood for consumers. All meetings are open to the public and will
be held at the Omni Colonnade Hotel, 180 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables,
FL 33134. A meeting agenda is available on FSIS' Web site at: www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/NACMCF_Meetings/.
The full Committee will hold an open meeting on Wednesday, September
28, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The Subcommittee on Consumer Guidelines
for the Safe Cooking of Poultry Products will hold open meetings on
Monday, September 26, from 1 - 5 p.m. and on Tuesday, September 27,
from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Subcommittee on Determination of Cooking
Parameters for Safe Seafood for Consumers will hold open meetings
on Wednesday, September 28, from 1 - 5 p.m. and on Thursday, September
29, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For further information contact Karen Thomas by phone at (202) 690-6620;
by fax at (202) 690-6334, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA Food Safety Mobile Still Touring in Relief Effort
The USDA Food Safety Mobile continues its tour of the region recently
affected by Hurricane Katrina this week to get USDA's food safety
education materials into the hands of those affected by the hurricane.
The Mobile will be visiting the following locations in the next two
- Sep 25, 2005: Wal-Mart, Slidell, LA
- Sep 26, 2005: Wal-Mart, Covington, LA
- Sep 27, 2005: Albertsons, Hammond, LA
- Sep 29, 2005: Albertsons, Baton Rouge, LA
- Sep 30, 2005: Albertsons, Baton Rouge, LA
- Oct 1, 2005: Albertsons, Baton Rouge, LA
- Oct 2, 2005: Albertsons, Baton Rouge, LA
- Oct 5, 2005: Wal-Mart, Hattiesburg, MS
Technical Guidance Documents Now Available
There are a number of public health concerns to take into consideration
after natural disasters affect environmental systems and infrastructures.
In order to ensure the production of safe food in these establishments,
FSIS personnel assigned to slaughter and processing plants should
consider the following documents as establishments begin to resume
production. These documents include information for discussion with
establishment management before the establishment resumes operations.
These are issues that a prudent establishment would consider, rather
than specific regulatory requirements.
Technical Guidance Documents, one for slaughter and one for processing
establishments, identify possible issues in establishments affected
by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.
The documents are available on FSIS' Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Employees/IKE/.
Industry Donations Being Accepted
FSIS has received a number of questions concerning where to make donations
for evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. In response, FSIS wants to make
the public aware that donations of food, personal items, housing,
and other services can now be made at the following Web site: www.nerr.gov.
This site permits the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other
relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, to be aware
of donations that are currently available and how they can reach those
Food Safety After a Weather Emergency
FSIS is providing recommendations in advance of Hurricane Rita, which
is expected to strike the Gulf Coast. USDA is hopeful that this information
will help minimize the potential for foodborne illnesses.
Steps to follow after the weather emergency:
When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
- Never taste a food to determine its safety!
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
to maintain the cold temperature.
- The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours
if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for
approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door
- Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals
or is at 40° F or below.
- Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer
as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged
period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot
full freezer for two days.
- If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature
of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer.
If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or
below, the food is safe.
- If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check
each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still
contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
- Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry,
fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after
four hours without power.
- Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred.
- Discard all food that came in contact with flood waters, including
- Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle
nipples and pacifiers.
- Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils
that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and
sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for
15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per
quart of water.
Library of Export Requirement Updated
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for the following
country: Saudi Arabia. Complete information can be found at:
October 28, 2009
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