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United States Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Office of Policy and Program Development
Washington, D.C.  20250-3700 

Labeling and Consumer Protection


Compounds Used for Construction and Repair in Federally Inspected Meat and Poultry Plants


Compounds used for construction and repair in Federally inspected meat and poultry plants no longer require evaluation or authorization by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The responsibility for determining the chemical suitability of construction and repair materials rests with the manufacturer.


Compounds used for the construction and repair of direct food contact surfaces in Federally inspected meat and poultry plants must be formulated and manufactured in accordance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), which is administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Manufactures of such compounds should supply the Federally inspected establishment with a letter of guaranty that their product is formulated in compliance with the FFDCA. Guaranties consistent with the FDAs regulations in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Sections 7.12 and 7.13 are acceptable should Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection personnel question a materials compliance. Guaranties should contain the following information:

    1. Statement that the material complies with the FFDCA and all applicable food additive regulations.
    2. Brand name, code, part number, or other designation which specifically identifies the material.
    3. Name and address of the supplier.
    4. A description of the conditions of and intended uses of the material; for example, direct contact with meat or poultry products (Type III foods as defined under 21 CFR, Section 176.170 Table I), high or low temperature, pressure, friction, or other limits.
    5. Signature of an official of the supplier.

The CFR publications are available via the Internet World-Wide Web. You may access all CFR titles at www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-table-search.html#page1


Letters of guaranty are not required to be furnished to federally inspected establishments for construction and repair materials intended for use on surfaces not in direct contact with food (example, floors, walls, ceilings, etc.). Also, these materials do not have to be formulated in compliance with the FFDCA. However, they may not contain the heavy metals antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium (except chromic oxide), lead, mercury, selenium, or other materials such as carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens classified as hazardous substances. Carcinogens are those classified by the National Toxicology Program as known human carcinogens. The mutagens and teratogens are those substances classified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as reproductive hazards.

Pesticidal coatings (e.g., insecticidal, fungicidal, etc.) that require Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration are not permitted in processing areas or other areas frequented by employees whose duties are in edible food areas. However, paints or coatings may contain antimicrobial agents to prevent microbial growth in the can or to protect the dry film. The antimicrobial agents must be used within the limits established by EPA. If the purpose of the antimicrobial agent is just to prevent microbial growth in the paint before application or on the paint film after application and no other antimicrobial claims other than these made on the container label, the paint does not require registration with EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

The chemical criteria must be applied to every ingredient present in the finished (dry film) paint or coating. Some ingredients (e.g., pigments) may contain, as impurities, chemicals that are restricted. The presence of the impurities does not necessarily preclude the use of the ingredient. The ingredient, with its contaminants, may be acceptable if the restricted chemical results in a daily intake regarded as toxicologically insignificant. This determination must take into consideration not only the normal use of the product in a meat or poultry plant, but also any reasonably foreseeable misuse.

For additional information, contact the Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff at Area Code (202) 205-0279 or (202) 205-0623.



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For Additional Information Contact:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
1400 Independence Ave.
Room 602 - Annex Building
Washington, DC  20250
Telephone:  202-205-0279
          Fax:  202-205-3625
        Email:  FSIS.Labeling@fsis.usda.gov
Please include your name and/or company name, phone number and complete e-mail address so that we may promptly reply to your inquires.