[Federal Register: April 28, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 82)]
[Notices]               
[Page 22919]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr28ap08-34]                         


[[Page 22919]]

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2008-0013]

 
Better Communications, Better Public Health Outcomes: Strategies 
for Improved Coordination During Foodborne Outbreaks

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

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SUMMARY: This notice is announcing that the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the 
Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied 
Nutrition (CFSAN), and the National Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention (CDC), will co-sponsor a two-day summit that will include a 
public meeting on May 15, 2008, and an invitation-only simulation 
exercise on May 16, 2008. The purpose of the summit is to have a 
discussion with stakeholders on improved information sharing and 
coordination during multi-jurisdictional foodborne outbreak 
investigations.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 15, 2008, 8 
a.m. to 5 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand 
and Suites Hotel, 800 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63101.
    All documents related to the meeting will be available for public 
inspection in the FSIS Docket Room, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 
2534 South Building, Washington, DC 20250, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, as soon as they become available.
    FSIS will finalize an agenda on or before the meeting date and post 
it and the documents related to the public meeting on the FSIS Web page 
at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/.
    Also, when it becomes available, the official transcript of the 
meeting will be kept in the FSIS Docket Room at the above address and 
will be posted on the Agency Web site, http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bonnie Kissler, Phone: (404) 562-5940, 
FAX: (404) 562-5934, e-mail: Bonnie.Kissler@fsis.usda.gov or at the 
mail address: USDA, FSIS, Office of Public Health Science, 100 Alabama 
Street, SW., 1924 Building, Suite 3R90A, Atlanta, GA 30303.
    Pre-registration for this meeting is recommended. To pre-register 
for the public meeting, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov and complete the 
registration form. Persons requiring a sign language interpreter or 
other special accommodations should notify Ms. Kissler by May 8, 2008.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    According to the CDC, foodborne infections result in approximately 
76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the 
U.S. each year. FSIS collaborates with local, state, and federal public 
health agencies to investigate foodborne illness outbreaks associated 
with FSIS-regulated products.
    Foodborne illness investigations that span multiple agencies and 
jurisdictions are more common today because the U.S. food supply chain 
has become increasingly complex due to a wider distribution of products 
that are produced domestically and internationally. Further, advances 
in epidemiologic and laboratory surveillance have enabled the 
identification of multi-jurisdictional foodborne outbreaks more 
readily. Successful investigations of these multi-jurisdictional 
outbreaks require not only technical competence in epidemiologic and 
laboratory data analysis, but also efficient information sharing and 
coordination among all stakeholders. Mitigation of the impact of a 
foodborne illness outbreak and protection of the public health depends 
on effective and timely communication to consumers regarding symptoms, 
treatment, prevention, rapid identification of contaminated food 
products, and removal of those products from commerce whenever 
possible. The response to an outbreak by public health agencies should 
be consistent, comprehensive, and timely in order to effectively 
protect the public health. Improvements in communications and 
coordination among local, state, and federal public health agencies and 
the regulated industries during these investigations are essential to 
achieving this goal.
    Because FSIS is committed to partnering with all members of the 
food safety and public health communities in an effort to make these 
critical improvements, FSIS will hold a summit to facilitate discussion 
with and among stakeholders on ways to improve communication and 
collaboration during multi-jurisdictional foodborne illness 
investigations.
    A public meeting will be held on May 15, 2008, and an outbreak 
simulation exercise will be conducted on May 16, 2008. Participation in 
the exercise will be by invitation only.
    Topics on the agenda for the public meeting include:

--Stakeholders' perspectives on both successes and challenges to 
effective collaboration during multi-jurisdictional outbreaks, and
--Ongoing projects and initiatives to improve foodborne outbreak 
response.

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/2008_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, and other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and 
stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free 
electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, 
consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals 
who have asked to be included. The Update is also 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 
automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and 
information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/
news_&_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 accounts.

    Done at Washington, DC, on April 22, 2008.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E8-9168 Filed 4-25-08; 8:45 am]

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