[Federal Register: August 22, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 163)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 50687-50688]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr22au03-3]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 430

[Docket No. 03-029N]

 
Listeria Monocytogenes Workshops for Small and Very Small Plants

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of workshops.

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[[Page 50688]]

SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that it will hold five workshops from September through October, 2003, 
to discuss the upcoming implementation of the interim final rule, 
``Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry 
Products,'' (68 FR 34208), which is effective on October 6, 2003. The 
provisions of the rule require official establishments that produce 
certain ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products to prevent product 
adulteration by the pathogenic environmental contaminant Listeria 
monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes).
    The focus of the upcoming workshops will be on how small and very 
small plants can comply with the new regulations. Key elements of the 
implementation of the final rule will be addressed, and there will be 
an opportunity to ask questions and seek additional information. FSIS 
has held similar workshops in the past for small and very small plants 
as a means of helping such plants, which may have fewer resources than 
large plants, to comply with FSIS requirements.

DATES: The workshops will be held on September 13, 20, and October 4, 
2003.

ADDRESSES: On September 13, workshops will be held in Raleigh, North 
Carolina and Bridgeport, Connecticut; on September 20, a workshop will 
be held in Kansas City, Kansas; and on October 4, workshops will be 
held in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Oakland, California. (Additional 
information will be provided at a later date.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pre-registration for the workshops is 
suggested. To register, please contact Ms. Sheila Johnson of the FSIS 
Strategic Initiatives, Partnership and Outreach Staff at (202) 690-
6498, fax: (202) 690-6500, or e-mail: Sheila.Johnson@fsis.usda.gov. For 
technical information, please contact Michaelle Fisher at (401) 221-
7400, or email: michaelle.fisher@fsis.usda.gov. If a sign language 
interpreter or other special accommodations are required, please 
contact Ms. Sheila Johnson, no later than September 5.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 6, 2003, FSIS published an interim 
final rule, ``Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat 
and Poultry Products,'' (68 FR 34208), which will become effective 
October 6, 2003. The rule establishes regulations that require official 
establishments that produce RTE meat and poultry products to prevent 
product adulteration by the pathogenic environmental contaminant L. 
monocytogenes. Under the new regulations, all establishments that 
produce RTE meat and poultry products that are exposed to the 
environment after lethality treatments and that support the growth of 
L. monocytogenes are to have controls that prevent product adulteration 
by L. monocytogenes in their hazard analysis and critical control point 
(HACCP) plans, in their sanitation standard operating procedures, or in 
prerequisite programs. Establishments are also required to maintain and 
share with FSIS data and information relevant to their controls for L. 
monocytogenes. Additionally, the new regulations permit an 
establishment to make claims on the labels of the RTE products 
regarding the processes used to eliminate or reduce L. monocytogenes or 
suppress or limit its growth in the products.
    The workshops are designed to provide an overview of the final rule 
to owners and managers of small and very small Federal and State 
establishments. In addition, the workshops will give all stakeholders a 
more in-depth understanding of the three compliance alternatives, the 
sampling provisions, recordkeeping requirements, the use of labeling 
claims, how to comply with the validation provisions of the 
regulations, and how to prepare supporting documentation for their 
hazard analyses. The meeting will also provide the opportunity to 
discuss additional ways of ensuring that small and very small plants 
receive the assistance they need to successfully respond to the final 
rule.

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 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 on-line 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, 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 in Washington, DC on August 18, 2003.
Garry L. McKee,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 03-21483 Filed 8-21-03; 8:45 am]