[Federal Register: November 5, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 214)]
[Notices]               
[Page 55912-55913]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05no01-21]                         

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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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[[Page 55912]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. 00-023N]

 
Availability of and Request for Comment on FSIS Draft Risk 
Assessment for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
the availability of, and requesting public comment on, its draft risk 
assessment for Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 in ground beef. 
Meanwhile, the Agency is seeking scientific peer review of the draft 
risk assessment from the National Academies of Science. The document 
will be revised with comments from that review. FSIS conducted this 
assessment to assist in reviewing and refining its integrated risk 
reduction strategy for E. coli O157:H7 in beef.

DATES: Comments are due January 4, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Submit one original and two copies of written comments to: 
FSIS Docket Room, Docket #00-023N, Room 102 Cotton Annex, 300 12th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments received in 
response to this notice will be considered part of the public record 
and will be available for viewing in the FSIS Docket Room between 8:30 
a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. As discussed below, the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) submitted comments on 
the risk assessment in response to an earlier review of the document. 
These and other comments will also be available in the FSIS Docket 
Room.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For a copy of the draft risk 
assessment contact: Annette Reid at 202-690-6409. The report is also 
available on the FSIS homepage at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov. For technical 
questions and for a copy of the model contact Dr. Eric Ebel at 970-490-
7954.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On August 18, 1998, FSIS announced plans to conduct a farm-to-table 
risk assessment for E. coli O157:H7 in beef with a focus on ground beef 
(63 FR 44232). A team comprised of Federal scientists, visiting 
scientists, and consultants contributed to the assessment. The overall 
goals of the assessment were to:
     Quantitatively model, with attendant uncertainty, human 
illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef in the United States
     Identify the occurrence and levels of the pathogen at 
points along the farm-to-table continuum
     Identify future research needs
     Document risk assessment methods and evidence for future 
assessments
     Effectively communicate the results to all interested 
parties--government, consumer groups, industry, the scientific 
community, and the general public.
    FSIS held a public meeting on October 28, 1998, to solicit comment 
and input at an early stage of the project regarding the scope of the 
risk assessment, the analytical framework to be used in conducting the 
risk assessment, the scientific evidence acquired by the risk 
assessment team, and the existing data gaps identified. At that 
meeting, the Agency released a draft report ``Preliminary Pathways and 
Data for Risk Assessment of E. coli O157:H7 in Beef.''
    The risk assessment team then evaluated comments and additional 
data received at the public meeting and in response to the comment 
period announced in the August 18, 1998 Federal Register notice. The 
risk assessment team also received peer input during the development 
phase of the risk assessment through presentations at the 1998 Annual 
Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) and at the 1999 Annual 
Meeting of the International Association of Milk Food and Environmental 
Sanitarians (now renamed the International Association for Food 
Protection). While developing the assessment, the team convened a week-
long interagency workshop on microbial pathogens in food and water in 
April 1999 that involved microbial risk assessment practitioners from 
FSIS, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection 
Agency, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. In December 1999, 
additional peer input was received from presentations made to the SRA 
and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for 
Food.
    FSIS presented a summary of some of the team's draft findings at a 
public meeting on February 29, 2000. The purpose of the public meeting 
was to discuss FSIS policy regarding E. coli O157:H7 and new 
information concerning the pathogen and its relation to human health.
    FSIS also circulated the draft risk assessment for comment within 
the Federal Government, including a CDC and a select group of 
individuals.
    The team has completed a draft of the risk assessment. FSIS is 
making this draft available to the public and is requesting comments. 
The Agency also is making the assessment available for scientific peer 
review from the National Academies of Science and the document will be 
revised with comments from that review. All comments received in 
response to this notice will be reviewed and considered when finalizing 
the risk assessment.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to better ensure 
that minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are aware of this 
notice, FSIS will announce it and provide copies of this Federal 
Register publication in the FSIS Constituent Update. FSIS provides a 
weekly FSIS Constituent Update, which is communicated via fax to over 
300 organizations and individuals. In addition, the update is available 
on-line through the FSIS web page located at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov. 
The update is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, 
procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public 
meetings, recalls, and any other types of information that could affect 
or would be of interest to our constituents/stakeholders. The 
constituent fax list consists of industry, trade, and farm groups, 
consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, scientific

[[Page 55913]]

professionals, and other individuals that have requested to be 
included. Through these various channels, FSIS is able to provide 
information to a much broader, more diverse audience. For more 
information and to be added to the constituent fax list, fax your 
request to the Congressional and Public Affairs Office, at (202) 720-
5704.

    Done at Washington, DC on: October 30, 2001.
Margaret O'K. Glavin,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 01-27541 Filed 11-2-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P