[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 46 (Thursday, March 8, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13999-14000]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5664]


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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. 77, No. 46 / Thursday, March 8, 2012 / 
Notices

[[Page 13999]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2011-0033]


Notice of Availability and Opportunity for Comments 
(Establishment Guidance for the Selection of a Commercial or Private 
Microbiological Testing Laboratory)

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and opportunity for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
the availability of policy guidance for federally inspected 
establishments in the selection of commercial and private 
microbiological testing laboratories. FSIS has posted this policy 
guidance on its Web page http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/Compliance_Guides_Index/index.asp#Micro.
    FSIS encourages establishments that prepare meat, poultry, or 
processed egg products to follow the criteria in the guidelines in 
selecting commercial or private microbiological testing laboratories 
and in determining their capability to provide accurate and reliable 
results. Regulated establishments are required to enter into commerce 
food products that are safe and not adulterated or misbranded. 
Establishments that select laboratories that do not apply appropriate 
testing methods or maintain effective Quality Control or Quality 
Assurance (QC/QA) practices may not receive reliable or useful test 
results from the laboratory and run the risk of producing food that is 
unsafe.

DATES: Written comments may be submitted until May 7, 2012.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments regarding 
any aspect of this document, including but not limited to: Content, 
readability, applicability, and accessibility, and will revise the 
guidance document as warranted. Comments may be submitted by either 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 http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.
    Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs, and hand- or courier-
delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture 
(USDA), FSIS, OPPD, RIMD, Docket Unit, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., Mail Stop 3782, 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-
3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2011-0033. 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: Evelyne Mbandi, Deputy Director, Risk, 
Innovations, and Management Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street 
SW., Mail Stop 3782, Washington, DC 20250-3700; email: 
evelyne.mbandi@fsis.usda.gov; phone: (301) 504-0897.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    FSIS is issuing a guidance document to provide criteria to 
establishments producing meat, poultry, and processed egg products for 
selecting a commercial or private laboratory to analyze establishments' 
samples. Regulated establishments are ultimately responsible for the 
laboratory's testing methodologies and practices performed on their 
behalf.
    An FSIS-regulated establishment may perform microbiological testing 
for various reasons, including, but not limited to the following: 
Fulfilling regulatory requirements, supporting on-going verification of 
the establishment's HACCP plan, supporting decisions made in the 
establishment's hazard analysis, evaluating the effectiveness of the 
establishment's sanitation program, or complying with purchase 
specifications or requirements.
    FSIS encourages establishments to use this guidance for selecting 
commercial or private laboratories and for ensuring that 
microbiological testing performed on their behalf meets their food 
safety needs. FSIS also welcomes comment on this compliance guideline, 
which will be revised as needed.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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, audiotape, etc.) 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

[[Page 14000]]

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: March 5, 2012.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-5664 Filed 3-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P