[Federal Register: August 18, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 159)]


[Page 44232]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]




                                                Federal Register


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[[Page 44232]]




Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. 98-037N]


Risk Assessment for E. coli 0157:H7 in Beef and Ground Beef

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments and public meeting notice.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) plans to conduct 

a farm-to-table risk assessment for E. coli 0157:H7 in beef with a 

focus on ground beef. Contingent on an analysis of available 

epidemiological data concerning outbreaks of E. coli 0157:H7 associated 

with whole cuts of beef (e.g. roast beef), the scope of the risk 

assessment will be confined to ground beef products. This notice also 

announces a public meeting to be held October 28, 1998 and solicits 

from the public scientific information and data that would be relevant 

to conducting the risk assessment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To register for the October 28 

meeting, contact Ms. Traci Phebus at (202) 501-7138 or FAX (202) 501-

7642. For further information about the risk assessment or to arrange 

for a presentation of technical materials at the public meeting, 

contact Mark Powell, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and 

Inspection Service, Office of Public Health and Science, Epidemiology 

and Risk Assessment Division, Room 3718--Franklin Court, 1400 

Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700. Telephone: (202) 

501-7391, FAX (202) 501-6982, E-mail: mark.powell@usda.gov. Persons 

wishing to present technical data at the public meeting are asked to 

bring 100 copies of their data for distribution to participants in the 

meeting and to submit one original and two copies of written comments 

to the FSIS Docket Clerk, Docket #98-037N, Room 102, Cotton Annex 

Building, 300 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700. Participants 

who require a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations 

should contact Ms. Phebus at the above numbers by October 19, 1998.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of this notice is 3-fold: (1) To 

give public notice of FSIS' intent to conduct the risk assessment, (2) 

to solicit from the public scientific information and data that would 

be relevant to conducting the risk assessment, and (3) to announce a 

public meeting to be held October 28, 1998 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 4301 Wilson 

Blvd., Arlington, VA 22203-1860, telephone (703) 907-5500 at which the 

risk assessment team will present and receive comments on the 

scientific evidence available for input to the risk assessment model.

    The goals of the assessment are as follows:

    1. To quantitatively model, with attendant uncertainty, human 

illnesses caused by E. coli 0157:H7 in beef in the United States and to 

compare these results with national estimates of illnesses from 

surveillance (e.g. FoodNet).

    2. To identify the occurrence and levels of the pathogen at points 

along the farm-to-table continuum and the contribution of these points 

to the number of human illnesses (sensitivity analyses).

    3. To quantify the effects of various mitigation strategies on the 

number of human illnesses.

    4. To identify future research needs.

    5. To document methods and evidence for future assessments.

    6. To document changes in the risk assessment model and its inputs.

    7. To effectively communicate the results to all interested 

parties--government, consumer groups, industry, the scientific 

community and the general public.

    The purpose of the October 28 public meeting is to solicit comment 

and input regarding the scope of the risk assessment, the analytical 

framework to be used in conducting the risk assessment, the scientific 

evidence acquired by the risk assessment team to date, and the existing 

data gaps identified by the risk assessment team. No results from the 

risk assessment are expected to be available for this meeting. Major 

topics of discussion are expected to include the strength and 

limitations of the acquired data, critical gaps in the acquired data, 

and the availability and utility of other relevant sources of data and 

scientific information.

    Persons unable to attend the meeting may submit comments to the 

above addresses. Transcripts of this meeting will be available in the 

FSIS Docket Room.

    Done in Washington, DC on: August 11, 1998.

Thomas J. Billy,


[FR Doc. 98-22180 Filed 8-17-98; 8:45 am]