[Federal Register: August 3, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 148)]
[Notices]               
[Page 44554-44556]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr03au05-45]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. 05-027N]

 
Public Meeting on Advances in Pre-Harvest Reduction of Salmonella 
in Poultry

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that it will hold a public meeting on Advances in Pre-Harvest Reduction 
of Salmonella in Poultry on August 25 and August 26, 2005, in Athens, 
GA. The

[[Page 44555]]

meeting will consist of presentations on research and practical 
experiences aimed at reducing Salmonella at the poultry production 
level, before poultry reaches federally inspected plants.
    This meeting is the first in a series of public meetings that FSIS 
intends to hold to discuss new approaches for strengthening food 
safety.

DATES: The public meeting is scheduled for August 25, 2005, from 9 a.m. 
to 5:30 p.m., and August 26, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at Richard B. Russell Research 
Center, 950 College Station Rd., Athens, GA, 30605. A tentative agenda 
will be available on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/. 

The official transcript of the meeting, when it becomes available, will 
be available in the FSIS Docket Room, Room 102 Cotton Annex, 300 12th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    FSIS welcomes comments on the topics to be discussed at the public 
meeting. Comments may be submitted by any 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: fsis.regulationscomments@fsis.usda.gov.
    All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket 
number 05-027N.
    All comments submitted in response to this notice, as well as the 
official transcript, when it becomes available, 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: Dr. Alice Thaler at (202) 690-2687.
    Pre-registration is encouraged for this meeting. Participants who 
are pre-registered will have building access badges prepared in advance 
to facilitate their entry through security to the Richard B. Russell 
Research Center. To pre-register, call (800) 485-4424. 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 producers to investigate methods to reduce food safety 
hazards at federally inspected meat and poultry establishments through 
the use of specific production practices. A food safety hazard is 
defined in 9 CFR 417 as any biological, chemical or physical property 
that may cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption. FSIS' public 
health mandate requires that the Agency consider hazards that could 
arise during animal production as part of a comprehensive strategy to 
prevent foodborne illness. Therefore, FSIS believes that a prudent 
establishment will address food safety hazards on the farm, including 
the use of animal production technologies and practices, as a means to 
control and reduce pathogen hazards at slaughter. Although much has 
been learned about the ecology of biological, chemical, and physical 
hazards during animal production, there are, as yet, no specific 
poultry production practices addressing biological hazards that 
consistently and predictably lead to improvement in food safety. 
Results are promising in some cases, but these avenues are still under 
investigation.
    A key point to recognize is that future hazard reduction 
interventions will likely arise from those areas currently under 
research or from new areas added to the research agenda. It is 
important, therefore, for producers to be aware of the practices being 
explored, so that they can provide input into the process and raise 
concerns about (1) areas that are not under investigation, (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.
    One food safety hazard that seems susceptible to attack through 
interventions at the producer level is Salmonella. FSIS is looking at 
Salmonella as a pathogen of concern because of the risks that it 
presents for public health. Salmonella, a group of bacteria that can 
cause diarrheal illness in humans, is the most frequently reported 
cause of foodborne illness. Contaminated foods are often of animal 
origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs, but all foods, including 
vegetables, may become contaminated. FSIS Hazard Analysis and Critical 
Control Point (HACCP) verification testing for all meat and poultry 
product categories in calendar year 2003, the most recent year for 
which FSIS has data, showed that the percentage of samples positive for 
Salmonella was lower than the pre-HACCP baselines which were derived 
from a statistical sampling of plants nationwide. However, based on 
current regulatory verification samples in classes of poultry, the 
percentage of samples positive for Salmonella in calendar year 2003 
increased from calendar year 2002 for broilers, ground chicken, and 
ground turkey. FSIS is concerned about the food safety hazard 
associated with the increased percentage of positive regulatory 
verification samples in these classes of poultry.\1\
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    \1\ FSIS. Progress Report on Salmonella Testing of Raw Meat and 
Poultry Products, 1998-2003. Available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Salmonella_Progress_Report_1998-2003.pdf
.

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    To pursue initiatives related to production practices that will 
result in lower, more controlled levels of Salmonella in and on birds 
when they are offered for slaughter, FSIS is holding a public meting on 
Advances in Pre-Harvest Reduction of Salmonella in Poultry. 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 Salmonella in poultry before slaughter. The second goal is 
to identify promising interventions and to determine what steps need to 
be taken to make these interventions to limit and control Salmonella 
available at the poultry production level. The third goal is to 
identify which research gaps with respect to Salmonella control at the 
production level should be the focus of the research community, 
including government, academia, and industry.
    Based on the input from the meeting, and any other information 
available to the Agency, FSIS will develop compliance guideline 
materials for producers that address pre-harvest food safety issues and 
Salmonella.

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 on-line through the FSIS Web page located 
at http://www.fsis.usda.gov. FSIS will also 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, recalls, and other types of information that could affect or 
would be of interest to our constituents/stakeholders. The update is 
communicated via Listserv, a free e-mail subscription service 
consisting of

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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 also available on-line 
through the FSIS Web page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov. Through 

Listserv and its Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a 
much broader, more diverse audience.
    In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription service 
that 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 in 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 in Washington, DC, on: August 1, 2005.
Barbara J. Masters,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 05-15428 Filed 8-2-05; 8:45 am]

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