[Federal Register: September 2, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 169)]
[Notices]               
[Page 52174-52175]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02se03-41]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. 03-031N]

 
FSIS Public Meeting on Pre-Harvest Food Safety Issues and 
Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that it will hold a public meeting on pre-harvest food safety issues 
and E. coli O157:H7 on September 9, 2003, in Washington, DC. The 
meeting will consist of presentations on the research and practical 
experiences aimed at reducing E. coli O157:H7 at the livestock 
production level before livestock reach federally inspected plants. The 
meeting will also include a brief review of on-farm interventions for 
pathogens other than E. coli O157:H7 that have already been adopted by 
producers.
    This meeting is one of a number of public meetings FSIS is 
conducting to discuss new approaches for strengthening food safety.

DATES: The public meeting is scheduled for September 9, 2003, from 8:30 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at The Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 
Thomas Circle, NW., Massachusetts Avenue, at 14th Street, Washington, 
DC 20005. A tentative agenda will be available in the FSIS Docket Room 
and on the FSIS Web site at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/. The official 
transcript of the meeting, when it becomes available, will be kept in 
the FSIS Docket Room at room 102 Cotton Annex, 300 12th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-3700, and will represent public comments. FSIS 
welcomes comments on the topics to be discussed at the public meeting. 
Please send an original and two copies of comments to the FSIS Docket 
Clerk, Docket 03-031N, Room 102, Cotton Annex, Washington, DC 20250-
3700. All comments and the official transcript, when it becomes 
available, will be kept in the FSIS Docket Room at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Nathan Bauer at (979) 260-9562.

[[Page 52175]]

    There will be no pre-registration for this meeting. Persons 
requiring a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations 
should contact Sheila Johnson at (202) 690-6498, fax: (202) 690-6500, 
or e-mail: Sheila.johnson@fsis.usda.gov as soon as possible.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The scientific community continues to work 
with animal agriculture to investigate methods to reduce food safety 
risks through the use of specific production practices. Although much 
has been learned about the ecology of biological, chemical, and 
physical hazards during animal production, there are as of yet no 
specific production practices addressing biological hazards that 
consistently and predictably lead to improvement in food safety. 
Results are promising in some cases, and investigation of those avenues 
continues. A key point to recognize is that risk reduction 
interventions that can be expected will arise from those areas under 
research or from new areas that are added to the research agenda. It is 
important, therefore, for producers to be aware of the practices being 
explored, so that they can have input into the process and raise 
concerns about (1) areas that are not under investigation but that 
should be, (2) the economic impact of implementing new practices on the 
farm, and (3) the impact of food safety hazards on the marketability of 
their products.
    To further pursue initiatives related to production practices, FSIS 
is holding a public meeting on pre-harvest food safety issues and E. 
coli O157:H7. The meeting has three goals.
    The first goal is to determine whether interventions available to 
producers can form the basis for best management practices to reduce 
the load of E. coli O157:H7 in livestock before slaughter. The second 
goal is to identify promising interventions and determine what steps 
need to be taken to make the interventions available at the livestock 
production level. The third goal is to identify which research gaps 
should be the focus of the research community, including government, 
academia, and industry.
    Based on the input from the conference, and any other information 
available to the Agency, FSIS will develop materials for producers that 
address pre-harvest food safety issues and E. coli O157:H7 and take 
other actions that appear to advance its food safety goals.

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://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 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://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=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 27, 2003.
Garry L. McKee,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 03-22297 Filed 8-29-03; 8:45 am]