[Federal Register: March 24, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 56)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 15017-15018]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr24mr05-13]                         

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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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[[Page 15017]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 301, 303, 317, 318, 319, 320, 325, 331, 381, 417, and 
430

[Docket No. 04-001N]

 
Technical Meeting on Risk Assessments of Salmonella and of 
Clostridium perfringens in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products; 
Notice of Availability and Public Meeting

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability, announcement of public meeting, and 
request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
the availability of, and requesting public comment on, two draft risk 
assessments. The first is a quantitative risk assessment of Salmonella 
in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products. The second is a 
quantitative risk assessment of Clostridium perfringens in RTE and 
heat-treated, but not RTE, products. The Agency prepared the draft risk 
assessments to provide scientific information in support of lethality 
and stabilization performance standards that the Agency proposed for 
the processing of such products in a notice of proposed rulemaking 
published February 27, 2001 (66 FR 12590). FSIS is holding a public 
meeting to present and discuss these draft risk assessments.

DATES: The public meeting is scheduled for March 24, 2005, from 9 a.m. 
to 4 p.m. Submit written comments on the draft risk assessments on or 
before May 9, 2005.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn on the 
Hill, 415 New Jersey Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20001; telephone (202) 
638-1616, Fax (202) 347-1813. A tentative agenda will be available in 
the FSIS docket room (address below) and on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/2005_Notices_Index/index.asp
.

    The draft risk assessments will be available by March 18, 2005 in 
the FSIS docket room (address below) and on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp
.

    All comments and the official transcript of the meeting will be 
available for viewing in the FSIS docket room when they become 
available.
    FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments:
    On the two risk assessments, by any of the following methods:
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROM's: Send to Dr. Neal 
Golden, Risk Analyst, Risk Assessment Division, Office of Public Health 
Science, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 333 Aerospace Center, 
Washington, DC 20250-3700.
     Hand-delivered or courier-delivered items: Dr. Neal J. 
Golden, Risk Analyst, RAD, OPHS, USDA, 901 D Street, SW., Rm. 333 
Aerospace Center, Washington, DC 20024.
     Electronic mail, to: Neal.golden@fsis.usda.gov.
    On other matters relating to the proposed performance standards for 
RTE products, by either of the following methods:
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROM's, and hand-or 
courier-delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 300 12th Street, SW., 
Room 102 Cotton Annex, Washington, DC 20250.
     Electronic mail, to: 
fsis.regulationscomments@fsis.usda.gov.
    All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket 
number 04-001N.
    All comments submitted in response to this notice, as well as 
research and background information used by FSIS in developing the 
documents referred to, will be available for public inspection in the 
FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday. The comments also will be posted on the 
Agency's Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/2005_Notices_Index/index.asp
.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pre-registration for this meeting is 
encouraged. Please contact Diane Jones at (202) 720-9692 or 
Diane.Jones@fsis.usda.gov. Persons requiring a sign language 

interpreter should notify Ms. Jones as soon as possible.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On February 27, 2001 (66 FR 12589), FSIS published the notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) ``Performance Standards for the Production 
of Processed Meat and Poultry Products.'' These proposed performance 
standards would require, among other things, that the processing 
methods, such as heat treatments, fermentation, drying, or salt-curing, 
used by each establishment that produces RTE meat or poultry products 
achieve specific levels of pathogen lethality, in terms of a very low 
probability that Salmonella organisms will survive or specific 
log10 reductions of Salmonella in the products. FSIS also 
proposed that each establishment that produces RTE or partially cooked 
meat or poultry products use product stabilization processes, such as 
cooling following a heat treatment, that limit multiplication of C. 
perfringens to no more than 1 log10 and ensure no 
multiplication of C. botulinum. Partly in response to comments received 
on the NPRM, FSIS decided to conduct scientific risk assessments of the 
proposed lethality and stabilization standards.
    FSIS has recently completed a quantitative risk assessment of 
Salmonella in RTE meat and poultry products. The risk assessment 
provides important data that the Agency has been using in deciding 
whether to adopt a lethality performance standard for the processing of 
RTE products, and, if so, what the standard should be.
    The Agency has also completed ``A Risk Assessment for Clostridium 
perfringens in Ready-to-Eat and Partially Cooked Foods'' to estimate 
the risk of diarrheal illness from C. perfringens growth during 
stabilization of the products. The relative growth of C. botulinum 
during stabilization was also evaluated. FSIS is using the information 
from this risk assessment to develop a stabilization performance 
standard for the processing of such products.
    FSIS is making these risk assessments available to the public and 
requests comment on them. The Agency is also

[[Page 15018]]

making available in the docket room reference materials used in support 
of the risk assessments and additional data relating to the development 
of the proposed performance standards, as requested in comments on the 
NPRM.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that the 
public and, in particular, minorities, women, and persons with 
disabilities are aware of this notice, FSIS will announce it on-line 
through the FSIS Web page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/2005_Notices_Index/
.

    FSIS also will make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and recalls, as well as other 
types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our 
constituents and stakeholders. The update is communicated via Listserv, 
a free electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade, and 
farm groups, consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, 
scientific professionals, and other individuals who have requested to 
be included. The update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through 
Listserv and the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a 
much broader and more diverse audience.
    In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription service 
which provides an automatic and customized notification when popular 
pages are updated, including Federal Register publications and related 
documents. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_and_events/email_subscription/
 and allows FSIS customers to sign up 

for subscription options across eight categories. Options range from 
recalls to export information to regulations, directives, and notices. 
Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the 
option to protect their accounts with passwords.

    Done at Washington, DC, on March 22, 2005.
Barbara J. Masters,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 05-5951 Filed 3-22-05; 2:28 pm]