[Federal Register: April 4, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 64)]
[Page 16327-16328]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2007-0012]

Risk-Based Inspection System

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meetings on risk-based inspection


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection (FSIS) will hold a series of 
public meetings on specific topics relating to risk-based inspection in 
processing. The first meeting will focus on the algorithm that the 
Agency intends to use to compute risk-based inspection levels for 
processing establishments. A second meeting will address the issue of 
attributing illness to food. Production volume will be discussed at the 
third meeting, and industry data will be the focus of the fourth 
meeting. The expert elicitation process will be discussed at the fifth 

DATES: FSIS will hold the meetings on the following dates:
    Monday, April 2, 2007 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The first meeting will 
focus on the algorithm the Agency intends to use to compute risk-based 
inspection levels for processing establishments.
    Thursday, April 5, 2007 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This meeting will 
discuss the issue of attributing illness to food.
    Wednesday, April 25, 2007 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Production volume 
will be discussed at the third meeting.
    Monday, April 30, 2007 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The topic of industry 
data is the focus of the fourth meeting. A technical meeting on the 
expert elicitation process is also planned as the fifth meeting. The 
date of this meeting will be announced at a later time. Any changes in 
meeting dates or times will be posted on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov

ADDRESSES: The meetings will be held in Room 244 at George Mason 
University, 3401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201. Directions to 
the site, the agenda, and other meeting materials will be posted on the 
FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

    All meetings will be accessible through conference call. Specific 
information concerning connections and the telephone number will also 
be posted on the FSIS Web site. Members of the public should pre-
register for the meetings (see Background). Online registration 
information is also located on the Web site.
    FSIS welcomes comments on the topics to be discussed at the public 
meetings. An issue paper concerning the respective topics will be 
posted on the FSIS Web site, http://www.fsis.usda.gov, a week prior to 

each meeting, with the exception of the meeting on attribution. 
Comments may be submitted on the meeting topics by any of the following 
methods for 30 days from the date of completion of each public meeting:
     Electronic mail: An e-mail box has been established 
specifically for comments for RBI. Comments can be submitted to: 

     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs: Send to: Ellyn 
Blumberg, USDA, FSIS, Aerospace Building, 3rd floor, room 405, 14th and 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250.
     Hand or courier-delivered items: Deliver to: Ellyn 
Blumberg at 901 D Street, SW., Washington, DC 20024. Have security 
guard call (202) 690-6520 in order to hand deliver items.
     Facsimile: Fax comments to: (202) 690-6519.
    All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket 
number FSIS-2007-0012 and meeting topic. The comments also will be 
posted on the Agency's Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sally Fernandez for meeting 
information at (202) 690-6524, Fax (202) 690-6519, or e-mail 
sally.fernandez@fsis.usda.gov. Keith Payne for technical information at 

(202) 690-6522 or e-mail at keith.payne@fsis.usda.gov. Persons 
requiring a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations 
should notify the Agency contacts no later than two weeks before the 
meeting, at the numbers above or by e-mail.



    FSIS is the public health regulatory agency in the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for ensuring that the nation's 
commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, 
wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
    To better address the food safety and public health challenges it 
faces, FSIS is working to make its inspection system more risk-based 
and to continue to implement science-based policies. Although the 
Agency acknowledges that some types of meat and poultry products pose 
greater health risks than others, and some establishments control risks 
better than others, under the current system of processing inspection, 
a Consumer Safety Inspector visits every plant at least once every 
shift to perform a variety of verification procedures scheduled by the 
Performance Based Inspection System (PBIS.) PBIS schedules inspection 
procedures the same way in all processing plants, regardless of the 
particular food safety hazard associated with the products produced or 
processes performed at one plant versus another.
    In July 2004, the Agency outlined the basic features of a 
predictive model that would permit FSIS to improve resource allocation 
by considering the inherent risks and risk control effectiveness of the 
meat and poultry establishments under Federal inspection. Since that 
time, FSIS has continued to develop and refine these ideas. In November 
2005, FSIS addressed the National Advisory Committee on Meat and 
Poultry Inspection (NAMCPI) on Agency progress toward a Risk-Based 
Inspection System (RBIS). In May 2006, the Agency again addressed 
NAMCPI--this time on ideas the Agency has on measuring risk control 
effectiveness for RBI.
    Reductions in the number of illnesses attributed to the consumption 
of adulterated meat and poultry products can be achieved by placing 
greater inspection and verification emphasis on establishments whose 
processes, owing to the nature and volume of their production, require 
greater control of the risks. FSIS believes that it can improve public 
health by focusing its efforts on processing establishments that 
produce products presenting high inherent risk and that are less 
effective in controlling risks. At the same time, FSIS can focus less 
on processing establishments that produce products that present low 
inherent risk and that exercise effective risk control. In both cases, 
establishments will continue to be inspected on a per shift basis, 
although the intensity of inspection will vary, depending on risk 
    In October 2006, FSIS held a public meeting to present ideas about 
how the Agency can develop these measures for federally-inspected meat 
and poultry processing establishments and to accept stakeholder input.
    This series of technical meetings that the Agency is announcing 
will address various dimensions of RBI and protecting public health, 
and FSIS is seeking input from all stakeholders on these matters. Prior 
to each meeting, FSIS will post on its Web site an issue

[[Page 16328]]

paper on its current thinking concerning the respective topic or other 
relevant materials. At the meeting relating to attributing illness to 
food, the agency will invite experts to provide information and views 
on the definitions of attribution as well as state of the art methods 
in collecting attribution data. Each meeting will be moderated to 
ensure that all participants have ample opportunity to present their 
views. A transcript of the meetings will be taken and made available on 
the FSIS Web site, http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

    All comments received in response to this notice will be considered 
part of the public record.
    Members of the public should pre-register for the meeting. Online 
registration information is located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

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 online through the FSIS Web page located 
at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/2007_Notices_Index/. 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 interests to 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, and 
other individuals who have asked to be included. The update is 
available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Listserv and Web page, FSIS 
is able to provide information to a much broader and more diverse 
audience. In addition, FSIS offers an e-mail subscription service which 
provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news 
and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_and_events/email_subscription/.
 Options range from recalls to 

export information to regulations, directives and notices. Customers 
can add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the option to 
password protect their account.

David P. Goldman,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 07-1662 Filed 3-30-07; 3:56 pm]