[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 199 (Friday, October 14, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 63901-63902]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office
[FR Doc No: 2011-26541]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 199 / Friday, October 14, 2011 / 
Notices

[[Page 63901]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2011-0023]


Pre-Harvest Food Safety for Cattle; Public Meeting

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

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SUMMARY: This notice is announcing that the Food Safety and Inspection 
Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), 
and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), are hosting a public 
meeting to seek input on pre-harvest pathogen control strategies 
designed to reduce the likelihood that beef will be contaminated with 
pathogens of public health concern, such as Shiga toxin- producing E. 
coli and Salmonella, during the slaughter process.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 
on-site registration is at 8 a.m., the meeting is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the USDA Center at 
Riverside, 4700 River Road, 1st floor--Oklahoma City Memorial 
Conference Center, Riverdale, MD 20737 (parking is $5.00 by cash or 
credit card--see http://www.USDACenteratRiversideFY11_USDACenteratRiverside.pdf for information on the Riverdale, MD 
facility).
    FSIS will finalize an agenda on or before the meeting and post it 
on the FSIS Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/.
    Pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register, visit the FSIS 
Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/.
    FSIS welcomes comments until January 3, 2012, on this meeting. 
Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

--Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the ability to 
type short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or 
attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to Regulations.Gov at http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions at that site 
for submitting comments.
--Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS Docket Room, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, SW., Patriots Plaza 3, Mailstop 3782, Room 163A, Washington, DC 
20250-3700.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2011-0023. 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Engeljohn, PhD, Assistant 
Administrator for Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, USDA, 
Room 349-E, Jamie Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-3700; telephone (202) 205-0495, fax (202) 720-
2025, email daniel.engeljohn@fsis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    During the 1990s, research programs conducted by ARS on pre-harvest 
included projects to evaluate technology and management methods to help 
producers achieve lower contamination levels in animals presented for 
slaughter.\1\
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    \1\ Federal Register/Vol. 61, No. 144. Thursday, July 25, 1996 
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Oa/fr/rule4.pdf.
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    In 2008, FSIS began to promote cattle pre-harvest interventions to 
prevent foodborne illness and improve food safety throughout the farm-
to-table continuum. The condition of the animals entering plants, and 
at slaughter, and the contamination rates on their hides and elsewhere 
affect the ability to mitigate risk at slaughter and through the rest 
of the food system. Pre-harvest food safety interventions can prevent 
foodborne illness by helping to reduce risk in the farm-to-table 
continuum.
    FSIS published cattle pre-harvest guidelines \2\ to inform beef 
slaughter establishments of the interventions that can be applied 
before slaughter, such as on-site farm management controls, to help 
reduce E. coli O157:H7 shedding in cattle. FSIS encourages farmers and 
ranchers, packers and processors, and scientists in academia, industry, 
and government, to collaborate in identifying the best technology and 
practices to reduce contamination before slaughter. Collaboration on 
such food safety efforts benefits beef producers, slaughterers, 
processors, and consumers.
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    \2\ Pre-Harvest Management Controls and Intervention Options for 
Reducing Escherichia Coli O157:H7 Shedding in Cattle May 2010 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Reducing_Ecoli_Shedding_In_Cattle_0510.pdf.
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Pre-Harvest Guideline Recommendations

    FSIS recommends that slaughter establishments procure their cattle 
from beef producers that implement one or more documented pre-harvest 
management practices to reduce fecal shedding of enteric pathogens. 
Research on pre-harvest interventions is ongoing. Pre-harvest 
interventions that can eliminate fecal shedding of enteric pathogens 
have yet to be discovered; however, current research suggests that at 
least two pre-harvest interventions, certain probiotics and vaccines, 
have the potential to be effective in reducing fecal shedding in 
cattle. FSIS encourages slaughter establishments to share this 
information with their suppliers and to use it in designing their food 
safety systems.
    The goals for this meeting on pre-harvest food safety for cattle 
are:
    1. Food safety improvement through identification and development 
of effective pre-harvest practices.
    2. Creating an increased focus on pre-harvest food safety and the 
identification and development of incentives for producers and 
processors to adopt effective pre-harvest practices.
    3. Increased producer engagement to emphasize their importance in 
the overall food safety system.
    4. Finding effective solutions through discrete projects, including 
demonstration projects of new technologies and implementation of best 
practices.
    The end product of this meeting would be the identification of 
effective

[[Page 63902]]

and practical pre-harvest practices, the identification of incentives 
for producers and processors to adopt such measures, and the 
establishment of an ongoing dialogue regarding pre-harvest food safety. 
Also, FSIS will present a summary of the recent input from the National 
Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection on pre-harvest 
issues.
    FSIS, APHIS, and ARS have developed the following questions for 
discussion at the meeting:
    What factors influence shedding of Salmonella and Escherichia coli 
(E. coli) O157:H7 and other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) (e.g., 
age of cattle, stress conditions)?
    What effective and practical treatments or mitigation measures are 
available to reduce the pathogen load in general, and Salmonella and 
STECs specifically?
    How can producers, processors, and government work together to 
incentivize pre-harvest food safety practices and interventions?
    A key outcome of this meeting will be to provide the agencies with 
the information to develop a ``best practice'' guidance document. The 
draft guidance document would be made available for comment-and 
ultimately for use by all stakeholders.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on 
the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, 
disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or 
family status (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs).
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication of program information (Braille, large print, and 
audiotape) should contact USDA's Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice 
and TTY).
    To file a written complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office 
of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TTY). 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this notice 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: October 6, 2011.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-26541 Filed 10-13-11; 8:45 am]
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