| USDA and HHS Announce New Dietary Guidelines to Help Americans Make Healthier Food Choices and Confront Obesity Epidemic
Secretary Vilsack and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced this week the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and reduce the prevalence of obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.
Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity. The new guidelines focus on balancing calories with physical activity and encouraging Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars and refined grains.
Key recommendations within the guidelines include important messages in terms of their implications for improving public health and are intended as an integrated set of advice to achieve an overall healthy eating pattern. Go to the related USDA release (www.usda.gov/2011/01/0040.xml) to review guideline recommendations.
For additional information on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, go to www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines and www.healthfinder.gov/prevention.
FSIS Offers Instructions and Procedures for Label Appeals
When establishments submit appeals for labeling policy decisions, plant owners and operators can adhere to the following to expedite the process.
In a separate envelope or facsimile marked "appeal," establishments may forward a completed appeal form, the label application (including FSIS form 7234-1 and a sketch label), as well as any comments from the Labeling and Program Delivery Division (LPDD) staff member who rejected the label. Written arguments supporting the basis for an appeal must also be enclosed as supporting documentation.
If applicable, provide complete and legible copies of any prior approvals (or a list of the approval numbers and a few examples of approved labels if multiple prior approvals are involved). Do not fax an appeal longer than seven pages. Submissions longer than seven pages should be sent by mail to the Labeling and Program Delivery Division USDA-FSIS-OPPD, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Rm. 2-2124, GWCC, Beltsville, MD 20705-5000.
For additional questions about the appeal process, contact LPDD at (301) 504-0878.
Food Safety Tips for Storm-Impacted Areas
To minimize the potential for foodborne illnesses due to power outages and other problems often associated with severe weather, FSIS offers food safety tips.
"Particularly during times of emergency, food safety can be a critical public health risk," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. "In areas impacted by severe weather, the American public should be aware that information is readily available to help them protect their food supply."
Severe weather events can mean power outages, floods and other problems that can affect the safety of food. Knowing what to do before and after a weather event can help you reduce your risk of illness.
FSIS offers tips to keep food safe, even when the weather isn't. Check them out at www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/
Learn about other basic food safety principles by reviewing our fact sheets at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/index.asp.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
Complete information can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/
Referee a Safe Super Bowl Party
When it comes to the Super Bowl, defense matters. However, when it comes to planning a Super Bowl XLV party, a good defense against foodborne illnesses matters even more.
With foodborne illnesses, there are no opportunities for an instant replay. To pass up these infractions, make sure to completely understand and avoid the following: illegal use of hands, offsides, equipment violations and holding and a false start. Go to, www.usda.gov/2011/01/0034.xml and review the FSIS play book.
One of the best resources available before kickoff is USDA's virtual representative, Ask Karen, available at AskKaren.gov. Food safety coaches are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on the AskKaren Chat and by phone at the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Recorded messages are available 24 hours a day.
FSIS and Twitter: Over 100K and Counting
As of this week, FSIS' Twitter handle, @USDAFoodSafety, now has over 100,000 followers.
Are you one of them? If not, sign up to find food safety information, along with tips and resources to keep consumers and other interested groups informed of the latest agency news and events.
Receive recall notifications and updates, seasonal food safety advice and FSIS news at Twitter.com/USDAFoodSafety. Tweets are also available in Spanish at Twitter.com/USDAFoodSafe_es.
Register for the 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum
USDA is hosting the 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum Today's Strategies and Tomorrow's Opportunities from Feb. 24-25 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.
The forum features 25 breakout sessions spotlighting a range of issues related to risk management, renewable energy, sustainability, conservation and the environment, as well as nutrition and USDA Dietary Guidelines.
Go to www.usda.gov/oce/forum or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and registration details.
New Salmonella Standards: A Weekly Industry Progress Update
FSIS recently announced that it is tracking industry performance to see if 90 percent of poultry slaughter establishments would have met updated and tightened Salmonella standards for 2010 if they had been in effect. (See the Dec. 17, 2010, issue of the Constituent Update at www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/
The table above shows progress as of this week projects a final "best-case" possible total and represents no change from last week for both young chickens and young turkeys.
Register for Codex Public Meeting to Seek Comments on Food Additives
The Office of Food Safety and the Food and Drug Administration are co-sponsoring a public meeting to receive public comments and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the 43rd Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA), to be held in Xiamen, China.
The public meeting will be held on Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the auditorium of the Harvey Wiley Bldg., 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD. Interested parties may submit written comments and register electronically at email@example.com.
Documents and agenda items related to the 43rd Session of the CCFA are available at www.codexalimentarius.net/current.asp. For more information about the public meeting, contact Dr. Jannavi Srinivasan at (301) 436-1199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA Announces Codex Public Meeting on Pesticide Residues
The Office of Food Safety will sponsor a public meeting to receive public comments and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the 43rd Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR), to be held in Beijing, China.
The public meeting is scheduled for Feb. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Potomac Yard offices located at 2777 South Crystal Drive in Arlington, VA.
Documents and agenda items related to the 43rd Session of the CCPR will be accessible on the Codex website at www.codexalimentarius.net/current.asp. For more information, contact Doreen Chen-Moulec at (202) 205-7760 or email@example.com. Individuals are invited to submit comments at the meeting or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates on FSIS Testing for E. coli
Weekly updates for the agency's raw beef E. coli sampling program are posted to the FSIS website.
For comparative previous and current year results, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
FSIS Policy Update
FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. The following policy update was recently issued:
All notices and directives are available at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/index.asp.
Check Out the PHIS Resource Page
Information about the dynamic, user-friendly data analytics system, called the Public Health Information System, is available on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS. Read a backgrounder and learn more about it.
FSIS is developing PHIS as an effort to collect, consolidate and analyze data. This public health based approach is in line with the core principles of the President's Food Safety Working Group.
FSIS also developed a video, available on YouTube, PHIS 101: The Basics. It provides a comprehensive overview of the system and the advantages it will deliver. Check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYPO3MHDHRs.