[Federal Register: August 18, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 160)]
[Notices]               
[Page 48190-48191]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr18au08-24]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2008-0029]

 
National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing, 
pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, that 
the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) 
will hold a public meeting on August 27-28, 2008, to review and discuss 
international equivalence and the approach to verifying the equivalence 
of foreign food regulatory systems as the means of ensuring the safety 
of imported food products. The meeting will include discussion of four 
major perspectives. First, a U.S. government perspective will be 
presented on the FSIS strategy and the Food and Drug Administration 
(FDA) approach. Second, an industry perspective will be presented. 
Third, a consumer approach will be presented, and finally, the 
approaches by several foreign governments will be presented and 
discussed.
    All issues will be presented to the full Committee. The Committee 
will then divide into two subcommittees to discuss the issues. Each 
subcommittee will provide a report of their comments and 
recommendations to the full Committee before the meeting concludes on 
August 28, 2008.

DATES: The Committee will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, August 
27, 2008, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday, August 28, 2008, from 
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The subcommittees will hold open meetings during 
their deliberations and report preparation.

ADDRESSES: The meetings will take place at the South Building 
Cafeteria, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 14th & Independence 
Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250. Non-USDA employees must enter 
through wing 2, located on 12th and C Street, SW. The meeting agenda is 
available on the Internet at the NACMPI Web site, http://
www.fsis.usda.gov/about_fsis/nacmpi/index.asp.
    The NACMPI meeting agenda, together with information and resource 
materials on public health-based inspection, is also available on the 
Internet at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Public_Health_Based_Inspection/index.asp.
    FSIS welcomes comments through September 29 on the topics discussed 
at the NACMPI public meeting. Comments may be submitted by any of the 
following methods:
     Electronic mail: NACMPI@fsis.usda.gov.
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs: Send to National 
Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection, USDA, FSIS, 14th & 
Independence Avenue, SW., Room 1180, South Building, Washington, DC 
20250.
     Hand- or courier-delivered items: Deliver to Faye Smith at 
14th & Independence Avenue, SW., Room 1180-S, Washington, DC. To 
deliver these items, the building security guard must first call (202) 
720-9113.
     Facsimile: Send to Faye Smith, (202) 720-5704. All 
submissions received must include the Agency name and docket number 
FSIS-2008-0029.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Keith Payne for technical information 
at (202) 690-6522, or e-mail keith.payne@fsis.usda.gov, and Faye Smith 
for meeting information at (202) 720-9113, Fax (202) 720-5704, or e-
mail faye.smith@fsis.usda.gov. Persons requiring a sign language 
interpreter or other special accommodations should notify Faye Smith at 
the numbers above or by e-mail.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The NACMPI provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of 
Agriculture pertaining to the Federal and State meat and poultry 
inspection programs, pursuant to sections 7(c), 24, 205, 301(a)(3), 
301(a)(4), and 301(c) of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 
607(c), 624, 645, 661(a)(3), 661(a)(4), and 661(c)) and sections 
5(a)(3), 5(a)(4), 5(c), 8(b), and 11(e) of the Poultry Products 
Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 454(a)(3), 454(a)(4), 454(c), 457(b), and 
460(e)).
    The Administrator of FSIS is the chairperson of the Committee. 
Membership of the Committee is drawn from representatives of consumer 
groups; producers, processors, and marketers from the meat, poultry and 
egg product industries; State and local government officials; and 
academia. The current members of the NACMPI are: Ms. Kibbe M. Conti, 
Northern Plains Nutrition Consulting, Rapid City, SD; Mr. Brian R. 
Covington, Keystone Foods LLC, West Conshohocken, PA; Dr. Catherine N. 
Cutter, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Dr. James 
S. Dickson, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; Mr. Kevin M. Elfering, 
Albuquerque, NM; Mr. Mike W. Finnegan, Montana Meat & Poultry 
Inspection Bureau, Helena, MT; Ms. Carol Tucker Foreman, Consumer 
Federation of America, Chevy Chase, MD; Dr. Andrea L. Grondahl, North 
Dakota Department of Agriculture, Bismarck, ND; Dr. Joseph J. Harris, 
Southwest Meat Association, Bryan, TX; Dr. Craig W. Henry, Food 
Products Association, Washington, DC; Ms. Cheryl D. Jones, Morehouse 
School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA; Mr. Michael E. Kowalcyk, DunnhumbyUSA 
LLC, Cincinnati, OH; Dr. Shelton E. Murinda, California State 
Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA; Dr. Edna Negron-Bravo, University 
of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR; Dr. Michael L. Rybolt, National Turkey 
Federation, Washington, DC; Mr. Mark P. Schad, Schad Meats, Inc., 
Cincinnati, OH; and Dr. Stanley A.

[[Page 48191]]

Stromberg, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, 
Oklahoma City, OK.
    The Committee will review materials and provide comments and 
recommendations concerning FSIS's approach for verifying equivalence of 
foreign inspection systems. This system consists of (1) determining 
equivalence of laws, regulations, and government controls, (2) audits 
of foreign inspection systems, and (3) port-of-entry (POE) reinspection 
of imported product.
    Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products 
Inspection Act, equivalence is the foundation for imports and has 
become a condition of trade between two countries. Equivalence 
recognizes that an exporting country can provide an appropriate level 
of food safety and public health protection, even if their sanitary 
measures are different from those applied by the U.S. Once a country is 
determined to have a system equivalent to the U.S., that country is 
then responsible for maintaining the entire system's equivalence while 
exporting to the U.S. FSIS verifies that the country maintains 
equivalence through audits of foreign inspection systems. These audits 
include on-site visits by FSIS personnel of certified establishments 
and approved laboratories, and FSIS review of government controls. The 
final audit reports of these countries are posted on the FSIS Web site.
    Finally, the last part of verifying the continuing equivalence of 
foreign systems is through re-inspection of products at the U.S. 
border. Every shipment of meat, poultry, or egg products that enters 
the U.S. must be presented to an FSIS inspector at one of the 
approximately 140 official FSIS import establishments strategically 
located at major ocean ports of entry and land border crossings. It is 
here that the initial checks for proper documentation, transportation 
damage, and proper labeling are conducted. In addition to the initial 
re-inspection of product entering the U.S., FSIS performs random re-
inspection on approximately 10 percent of the shipments of meat, 
poultry, and egg products. These re-inspection tasks include, for 
example, product examinations, microbiological analysis for pathogens, 
and/or a test for chemical residues. Acceptable products or the 
documents are marked as ``Inspected and Passed'' and the product is 
released into commerce. Non-compliant products are rejected, marked as 
``Refused Entry,'' and either destroyed or exported from the U.S. More 
intensive re-inspection is automatically applied to future shipments of 
product from the foreign establishment that produced the product that 
failed re-inspection.
    If a country does not implement an FSIS requirement or equivalent 
sanitary measure, or fails an audit, or POE re-inspection identifies 
serious problems, FSIS can, and has in the past, suspend imports from 
that country or individual plants within the country, or suspend 
specific products from the country.
    All interested parties are welcome to attend the meetings and to 
submit written comments and suggestions concerning issues the Committee 
will review and discuss. The comments and the official transcript of 
the meeting, when they become available, will be kept in the FSIS 
Docket Room, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection 
Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 2534, South Building, 
Washington, DC 20250, and posted on the Agency's NACMPI Web site, 
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/about_fsis/nacmpi/index.asp.
    Members of the public will be required to register before entering 
the meeting.

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/2008_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 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 e-mail 
subscription service consisting of industry, trade, and farm groups, 
consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, scientific 
professionals, and other individuals who have requested to be included. 
The Update also is available on the FSIS Web page. Through Listserv and 
the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, 
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, 
export information, 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 August 12, 2008.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E8-19041 Filed 8-13-08; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P