[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 226 (Wednesday, November 23, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 72331-72332]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-30271]


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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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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 226 / Wednesday, November 23, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 72331]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 416, 417, and 430

[Docket No. FSIS-2010-0023]


Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli in Certain Raw Beef 
Products

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Public meeting; extension of comment period.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that it will hold a public meeting on the Agency's implementation plans 
and methods for controlling non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia 
coli in raw, intact and non-intact beef products and product 
components. To provide stakeholders with ready access to the public 
meeting, FSIS will conduct the meeting by teleconference. This document 
provides information on the meeting.
    In the Agency's September 20, 2011, document announcing these plans 
and methods (76 FR 58157), FSIS asked for comments on a variety of 
issues (76 FR 58164). That comment period, which was originally 
scheduled to end on November 21, 2011, is now being extended and will 
end on December 21, 2011.

DATES: The teleconference will be held on December 1, 2011, from 1 p.m. 
to 3 p.m. EST. Submit comments on or before December 21, 2011.

ADDRESSES: 
    Registration: Pre-registration for this meeting is required. To 
pre-register, access the FSIS Web site, at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/. We are asking that anyone interested in 
making a public comment during the teleconference indicate so on the 
registration form. Call-in information for the teleconference will be 
provided and will be available on the FSIS Web site at the link listed 
above.
    Public Comment: In addition to this teleconference, interested 
persons may submit comments on the Agency's implementation plans and 
methods for controlling non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 
in raw, intact and non-intact beef products and product components on 
or before December 21, 2011, using either of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments. 
Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs, and hand- or courier-delivered 
items: Send to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, OPPD, RIMD, 
Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza III, 8-164, 355 E Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20024-3221.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2010-0023. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to: http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go 
to the FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 8:30 a.m. 
and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information: Contact 
Daniel Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program 
Development, at (202) 205-0495, or by fax at (202) 720-2025.
    For teleconference information: Contact Joan Lindenberger, Public 
Affairs Specialist, Congressional and Public Affairs Office, by 
telephone at (202) 720-6755, or by email to 
Joan.lindenberger@fsis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On September 20, 2011, FSIS published a document regarding non-O157 
Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) Escherichia coli (E. coli). The document 
also requested comments regarding the Agency's implementation plans and 
methods for controlling these pathogens in raw, non-intact beef 
products and product components (76 FR 58157). The comment period was 
set to end on November 21, 2011.
    In the September document, FSIS announced that it intends to carry 
out verification procedures, including sampling and testing of 
manufacturing trim and other raw ground beef components, to ensure 
control of both E. coli O157:H7 and six other serogroups of STEC E. 
coli (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145). FSIS has determined that 
they, as well as O157:H7, are adulterants of non-intact raw beef 
products and product components within the meaning of the Federal Meat 
Inspection Act. The Agency also announced that it is publishing 
guidance for use in validating commercial pathogen detection test kits 
that may be capable of detecting the STEC of concern.
    Finally, FSIS stated that it is planning a survey of its field 
personnel who are stationed in beef slaughtering and processing 
establishments, similar to the 2007 ``checklist'' survey, to determine 
the processing practices that are employed to reduce the likelihood of 
contamination of intact and non-intact beef product with these STEC.
    In October 2011, the Agency announced its planned revision to the 
FSIS Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) 5B, ``Detection and 
Isolation of Non-O157 Shiga-Toxin Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) 
from Meat Products,'' to expand laboratory testing for the detection of 
the six targeted serogroups. Chapters MLG 5B.01, MLG 5B Appendix 1.00, 
MLG 5B Appendix 2.00 and MLG Appendix 1.06 are now available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Microbiological_lab_guidebook/index.asp.
    FSIS intends to use these methods, beginning March 5, 2012, in 
testing raw ground beef or in source material used to make ground beef, 
as well as mechanically tenderized steaks and roasts, for E. coli 
serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145. If the Agency finds any 
of those serogroups in these types of products, it will prohibit the 
product from entering commerce. Like E. coli O157:H7, these serogroups 
can cause severe illness and even death; young children and the elderly 
are at highest risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
also identifies these particular serogroups as those responsible for 
the greatest numbers of non-O157 STEC illnesses,

[[Page 72332]]

hospitalizations and deaths in the United States.
    Beef slaughter and further processing plants should now begin to 
assess their food safety systems to ensure that they are capable of 
controlling these pathogens. Given FSIS's planned course of action, 
establishments that produce the listed products should take steps to 
ensure that the laboratory test they use to verify the controls they 
employ is effective in reliably detecting the presence of these 
pathogens. Establishments can rely upon the FSIS laboratory methodology 
released in October and updated on November 4, 2011, which has been 
demonstrated to reliably identify these pathogens, or they can use an 
equivalent methodology of their choice.

II. Purpose of the Meeting and Agenda

    To provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the 
Agency's implementation plans and methods for controlling non-O157 STEC 
in raw, intact and non-intact beef products and product components, 
FSIS will hold a public meeting by teleconference. The meeting will be 
held on December 1, 2011. Submit comments on or before December 21, 
2011. The teleconference format is being used to provide individuals 
with easier access to the meeting, particularly those who may lack the 
resources or time to attend a meeting in person. Access to the 800 
number for the teleconference number should be toll free for both 
domestic and international callers.
    Interested persons are encouraged to join the teleconference at or 
near the start time. FSIS may end the teleconference early if 
participants are no longer calling in to make comments.

III. Transcripts

    As soon as the meeting transcripts are available, they will be 
accessible at http://www.regulations.gov. The transcripts may be viewed 
at the FSIS Docket Room, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety 
and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza III, 8-164, 355 E Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20024-3221.

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this document online through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Federal_Register_Notices/index.asp.
    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. 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 November 18, 2011.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator, FSIS.
[FR Doc. 2011-30271 Filed 11-18-11; 4:15 pm]
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