[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 248 (Tuesday, December 27, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 80873-80875]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-33018]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2011-0028]


Food Source Attribution; Public Meeting

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), in 
collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is hosting a public 
meeting to discuss Federal efforts to advance tri-agency understanding 
of food source attribution and develop harmonized food source 
attribution estimates useful to informing targeted food safety 
strategies. The public meeting will also introduce the Interagency Food 
Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), which was formed to collaborate 
on analytic projects. The meeting will also serve as a platform to 
introduce IFSAC's draft Strategic Plan. Foodborne illness attribution 
was selected as the initial focus in light of the CDC foodborne illness 
burden estimates released in 2011 and in response to stakeholder input 
to develop a unified approach to attribution. FSIS, FDA, and CDC are 
also interested in input from stakeholders regarding existing data and 
methods for food source attribution in the United States and the 
opportunities and challenges in implementing the IFSAC Strategic Plan.

[[Page 80874]]


DATES: The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held 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 at 12th and C Street SW. Attendees must provide a photo ID to 
enter the building.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about registration, to 
register orally, or to submit a notice of participation by mail, fax, 
or by email: Courtney Treece, Planning Professionals, Ltd., 1210 W. 
McDermott, Suite 111, Allen, TX 75013, telephone: (704) 258-4983, fax: 
(469) 854-6992, email: ctreece@planningprofessionals.com.
    For questions about the meeting, to request an opportunity to make 
public comments, or to submit the full text, comprehensive outline or 
summary of an oral presentation, contact: Juanita Yates, FDA, Center 
for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, telephone: (240) 402-1731, 
email: juanita.yates@fda.hhs.gov. To request special accommodations due 
to a disability, contact Juanita Yates by January 25, 2012.
    For logistical information about the meeting, contact Joan 
Lindenberger, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education, FSIS, 
telephone: (202) 720-6755, or by email at 
joan.lindenberger@fsis.usda.gov.
    For technical information about the meeting, contact Dr. David 
Goldman, Assistant Administrator, Office of Public Health Science, 
USDA, FSIS, telephone: (202) 690-6462, fax: (202) 690-6337, email: 
David.Goldman@fsis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Estimating the number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths 
caused by major foodborne pathogens is an important step in the 
prioritization of disease control programs. Estimating the proportions 
of these illnesses that are caused by specific food sources (food 
source attribution) is a necessary additional step in measuring 
progress toward public health goals resulting from food safety policies 
and interventions. The number of illnesses and their food source 
attribution are used together to inform strategic planning and policy 
decisions to allocate Federal resources towards pressing public health 
concerns.
    Currently, work by Scallan et al (2011) \1\ provides estimates of 
the annual number of foodborne illnesses caused by 31 major pathogens 
and was informed by a variety of data sources. Estimating the most 
common sources of these foodborne illnesses (food source attribution) 
also relies on multiple data sources and analytic methods. Data from 
foodborne outbreak investigations have always been an important source 
of attribution information because many of these investigations 
determine the specific food associated with illnesses. However, most 
foodborne illness is not associated with detected outbreaks, and some 
causes of foodborne illness, such as Toxoplasma and Campylobacter, are 
never or rarely associated with foodborne outbreaks. Consequently, 
additional data sources and analytic methods are needed to enhance food 
source attribution estimates and inform their interpretation. These may 
include studies of laboratory-confirmed illnesses, expert elicitations, 
and risk assessments.
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    \1\ Scallan E, Hoekstra RM, Angulo FJ, Tauxe RV, Widdowson M-A, 
Roy SL, et al. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States--
major pathogens. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2011 Jan 
[cited 11/15/2011]. http://www.cdc.gov/EID/content/17/1/7.htm.
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    In response to President Obama's Food Safety Working Group Key 
Findings on ``Improved Organization of Federal Food Safety 
Responsibilities,'' FSIS, FDA, and CDC formed IFSAC in February 2011 to 
meet the crucial need for strengthening Federal collaboration by 
addressing cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, 
analysis, and use. Additionally, as a part of tri-Agency public 
meetings on the development of feasible and effective food safety 
performance metrics held in March, July, and October 2010, stakeholders 
identified the need for the three Federal food safety agencies to work 
together and harmonize food source attribution efforts. This includes 
working jointly to advance the science and methods available for 
estimating attribution. As a result, IFSAC chose food source 
attribution as its first food safety analytical challenge.
    The initial objective of IFSAC is the estimation of source 
attribution of foodborne infections to specific foods and settings. 
This includes the understanding that continuous improvements to data 
and the analytic methods available for generating attribution estimates 
will provide more accurate assessments of the attribution of foodborne 
illnesses across the broad range of commodities and points in the food 
safety chain. In Summer 2011, the three agencies worked together to 
develop a cohesive description of specific needs related to food source 
attribution, which includes both short-term needs such as developing 
shared attribution estimates for decision-making, as well as long-term 
needs that focus on plans for reducing the uncertainty, improving data 
and analytic methods, and obtaining comprehensive estimates of 
attribution that are informed by multiple data sources and analytic 
approaches. These needs, and the strategy for meeting these needs, were 
captured in the draft IFSAC Strategic Plan for Attribution.
    In October 2011, this plan was reviewed by three food safety 
experts independent of the U.S. government, who did not provide any 
consensus recommendations or advice, and in November 2011, it was 
presented to members of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) 
surveillance workgroup. IFSAC also sought advice from the FDA Risk 
Communication Advisory Committee (RCAC) on August 15-16, 2011, on how 
to best communicate to stakeholders on the evolving methodology and 
complex data sources involved in food source attribution. Meeting 
materials, transcripts and meeting minutes from the RCAC meeting on 
August 15-16, 2011, are available at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/RiskCommunicationAdvisoryCommittee/ucm249108.htm. Based on the feedback 
received on the Strategic Plan and communication challenges, IFSAC is 
developing new strategies and communication materials to meet the needs 
of the three agencies and food safety stakeholders.
    The agencies will present the IFSAC Strategic Plan for Attribution 
and will seek input on the opportunities and challenges to improve food 
source attribution efforts in the United States. An agenda for the 
meeting and the draft IFSAC Strategic Plan will be finalized on or 
before the public meeting date and will be posted at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/meetings_&_events.

II. Registration

    Due to limited space, FSIS encourages all persons who wish to 
attend the meeting to register online at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/meetings_&_events by January 25, 2012.

III. Comments

    Stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide oral comments. 
Interested persons and organizations who desire an opportunity to make 
an oral presentation during the time allotted for

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public comments at the meeting are encouraged to register in advance by 
January 9, 2012. Anyone registering to provide a public comment must 
also provide a brief description of the comment and any material to be 
used during the presentation by January 25, 2012.
    In addition to this meeting, interested persons may submit comments 
on or before March 1, 2012, 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 CD-ROMS: Send to Docket Clerk, USDA, FSIS Docket 
Room, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Patriots Plaza 3, Mailstop 3782, 
Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Hand- or courier-delivered items: Deliver to the Docket Clerk, 
USDA, FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 8-
164, Washington, DC 20250 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2011-0028. 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 Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 8-
164, Washington, DC 20250 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday.

IV. Transcripts

    As soon as the meeting transcripts are available, they will be 
accessible on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news/meetings_&_events. The transcripts may also be viewed at the FSIS 
Docket Room at the address listed above.

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.

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.

    Done at Washington, DC on December 19, 2011.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-33018 Filed 12-23-11; 8:45 am]
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