[Federal Register: August 6, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 151)]
[Notices]               
[Page 46569-46570]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr06au03-47]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety Inspection Service

[Docket No. 03-028N]

 
National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria 
for Foods (NACMCF) will hold public meetings of the full committee on 
August 20 & 22, 2003. The committee will discuss: (1) Protocols for 
FSIS ongoing microbiological baseline studies of raw meat and poultry 
products, (2) performance standards for broilers (young chickens)/
ground chicken, (3) the scientific basis for establishing safety-based 
``use by'' date labeling for refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods, and (4) 
scientific criteria for redefining pasteurization. Subcommittees will 
also meet as follows:

August 19th--Concurrent sessions of:
    [sbull] Microbiological Performance Standards for Broilers (young 
chicken)/Ground Chicken; an additional new topic will be discussed: 
reviewing new FSIS protocols for conducting ongoing microbiological 
baseline studies of raw meat and poultry products.
    [sbull] Scientific Criteria for Redefining Pasteurization.

August 20th--Microbiological Performance Standards for Broilers (young 
chicken)/Ground Chicken; an additional new topic will be discussed: 
Reviewing new FSIS protocols for conducting ongoing microbiological 
baseline studies of raw meat and poultry products.
August 21st--Criteria for Shelf-Life Based on Safety.


DATES: The full Committee will hold open meetings on Wednesday, August 
20, 2003, from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., and on Friday, August 22, 2003, 
from 8:30 a.m.-12 noon. Subcommittee meetings will be held on Tuesday, 
Wednesday, and Thursday, August 19, 20, and 21, 2003. Subcommittee 
meetings are open to the public.

ADDRESSES: The August 19-22 sub- and full-committee meetings will be 
held at the Hotel Monaco, Athens Room, 700 F Street NW., Washington, DC 
20004, telephone number (202) 628-7177 or (877) 205-5411. Public 
comments and all documents related to full committee meetings will be 
available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Room between 8:30 
a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The comments and NACMCF 
documents will also be available on the Internet at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/Publications.htm
.
    FSIS will complete a meeting agenda on or before the meeting date 
and post it on its Internet Web page. Send an original and two copies 
of comments to the Food Safety and Inspection Service Docket Room: 
Docket 03-028N, Room 102 Cotton Annex Building, 300 12th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20250. Comments may also be sent by 
facsimile to (202) 205-0381. The comments and official transcripts of 
the meeting, when they become available, will be kept in the FSIS 
Docket Room at the above address. FSIS intends to post all comments 
associated with this docket on its Web page in the near future. FSIS 
reserves the right to redact any offensive language that may have been 
included in these public comments. The uncensored text will be made 
available in the FSIS Docket Room. See the disclaimer section below 
regarding modifications that may be necessary due to the presentation 
of the comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Persons interested in making a 
presentation, submitting technical papers, or providing comments should 
contact Karen Thomas (202) 690-6620, Fax (202) 690-6334, e-mail 
address: karen.thomas@fsis.usda.gov, or mailing address: Food Safety 
and Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture, Office of Public 
Health and Science, Aerospace Center, Room 333, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Persons requiring a sign language interpreter or other special 
accommodations should notify Ms. Thomas, by August 12, 2003.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The NACMCF was established on March 18, 1988, in order to provide 
an interagency approach to microbiological criteria for food. The 
NACMCF was established in response to recommendations from the National 
Academy of Sciences, and from the U.S. House of Representatives 
Committee on Appropriations, as expressed in the Rural Development, 
Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 
1988. The Charter for the NACMCF is available for viewing on the FSIS 
Internet Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/programs/nacmcf_chart.htm
.
    The NACMCF provides scientific advice and recommendations to the 
Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services 
on public health issues involving the safety and wholesomeness of the 
U.S. food supply. NACMCF advice and recommendations include development 
of microbiological criteria and review and evaluation of 
epidemiological and risk assessment data and methodologies for 
assessing microbiological hazards in foods. The Committee also provides 
advice to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the 
Departments of Commerce and Defense.
    Dr. Merle Pierson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA, is 
the Committee Chair, Dr. Robert E. Brackett, Director of Food Safety 
and Security, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and 
Drug Administration, is the Vice-Chair, and

[[Page 46570]]

Gerri Ransom, FSIS, is the Executive Secretary.
    At the meetings of August 20 and 22, 2003, the full Committee will 
discuss:
    [sbull] The added topic of reviewing protocols for FSIS ongoing 
microbiological baseline studies of raw meat and poultry products;
    [sbull] The next phase of work regarding performance standards for 
broilers (young chickens)/ground chicken;
    [sbull] Continuing work on the scientific basis for establishing 
safety-based ``use by'' date labeling for refrigerated, ready-to-eat 
foods; and
    [sbull] New work on the scientific criteria for redefining 
pasteurization.

Documents Reviewed by NACMCF

    FSIS intends to make available to the public all materials that are 
reviewed and considered by NACMCF regarding its deliberations. 
Generally, these materials will be made available as soon as possible 
after the full committee meeting. Further, FSIS intends to make these 
materials available in both electronic format on the FSIS web page, as 
well as hard copy format in the docket room. Whenever possible given 
time constraints, FSIS tries to make materials available at the start 
of the full committee meeting.
    Disclaimer: Electronic copies of NACMCF documents and comments are 
conversions from a variety of source formats into HTML, a process that 
may result in character translation or format errors. Readers are 
cautioned not to rely on this HTML document. Minor changes to materials 
in electronic format may be necessary in order to meet the Web 
Accessibility Act requirement in which graphs, charts, and tables must 
be accompanied by a text descriptor in order for the hearing impaired 
to be made aware of the content. FSIS will add these text descriptors 
along with a qualifier that the text is a simplified interpretation of 
the graph, chart, or table. Portable Document Format (PDF) and/or paper 
documents of the official text, figures, and tables can be obtained 
from the FSIS Docket Room.
    Copyrighted documents will not be posted on the FSIS Web site but 
are available for inspection in the FSIS docket room.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that 
minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are aware of this 
notice, FSIS will announce it and make copies of this Federal Register 
publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update. FSIS 
provides a weekly Constituent Update, which is communicated via 
listserv, a free e-mail subscription service. In addition, the update 
is available online through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov.
 The update is used to provide information regarding 
FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS 
public meetings, industry recalls, and any other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents/
stakeholders. The constituent listserv consists of industry, trade, and 
farm groups, consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, 
scientific professionals, and other individuals that have requested to 
be included. Through the listserv and Web page, FSIS is able to provide 
information to a much broader, more diverse audience.
    For more information contact the Congressional and Public Affairs 
Office, at (202) 720-9113. To be added to the free e-mail subscription 
service (listserv) go to the ``Constituent Update'' page on the FSIS 
Web site at http://www/fsis.usda.gov/oa/update/update.htm. Click on the 
``Subscribe to the Constituent Update Listserv'' link, then fill out 
and submit the form.

    Done at Washington, DC, on: August 1, 2003.
Linda Swacina,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 03-20010 Filed 8-5-03; 8:45 am]