| FSIS Posts Resources for Hold & Test
The agency recently hosted a teleconference to discuss the new hold and test policy requiring importers of record to hold shipments of specific products until they pass agency testing for foodborne adulterants. FSIS posted the Q&A's from the Feb. 7 discussion on its website. To review them, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/FAQ_Hold_&_Test_020713.pdf.
FSIS also posted a compliance guide at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
Compliance_Assistance/index.asp . Instructions issued to inspection program personnel to implement the new policy and procedures are available at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
Learn About Paperless Label Submissions
FSIS is offering webinars on the Labeling Submission and Approval System (LSAS)—a Web-based application for accepting label submissions that launched last May.
The discussion will focus on the steps establishments can take to register and submit label applications. LSAS allows industry to electronically submit the required information to obtain label approval. It also makes it possible to flag application submission errors that could delay the approval process and allows users to track the progress of their submission.
Webinars are scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Feb. 20 and March 20. To access the webinar, go to https://connect16.uc.att.com/usda/meet/?ExEventID=85277207 and follow the on-screen instructions.
Materials from the Jan. 20 session are available on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/LSAS_Industry_Webinar_012313.pdf. For questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at (301) 504-0878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food Safety at Your Fingertips
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), is also available to consumers in English and Spanish and can be reached Monday through Friday from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
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/Regulations_&_Policies/
Register for USDA's 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum
USDA is hosting the 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum, "Managing Risk in the 21st Century," from Feb. 21-22 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.
This year's food safety panel, "The Food Safety Revolution: How Far Have We Come? What's Next?," will be moderated by Elizabeth Weise of USA Today. Panel members include: Craig Wilson, VP for Quality Assurance and Food Safety at Costco; Nancy Donley, STOP Foodborne Illness; and Dr. Rodney Moxley of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
This year also marks 20 years since a major E. coli O157:H7 outbreak led to that strain being declared an adulterant and 15 years of HACCP. The discussion will focus on how food safety evolved; what has been the impact of a HACCP-based system; and the battle against O157:H7 from the perspective of FSIS, establishments and consumers. The panelists will explore what new strategies have recently been deployed and what is the next advancement for food safety.
For the program schedule and registration, go to www.usda.gov/oce/forum.
Updates on FSIS Testing for E. coli
FSIS posts bi-weekly updates for the agency's raw ground beef E. coli sampling program.
Due to a system outage, there will be a delay in results reported by the agency. FSIS is currently working to resolve the issue.
When available, the agency will post results on its website at www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
Industry will soon have the ability to use the Public Health Information System (PHIS) nationwide. The newly deployed functionality enables plant management to review, print and respond to noncompliance records. With this tool, management will now be able to appeal noncompliance records, view industry-specific reports and manage users associated with an establishment. Industry has the option to use PHIS or not. Those who are interested must first establish a USDA eAuthentication (eAuth) Level 2 account. PHIS will not be accessible to anyone without an eAuth account. The steps on obtaining eAuth are:
If you need assistance or have questions about eAuth, contact the USDA eAuth service desk at eAuthHelpDesk@ftc.usda.gov or 1-800-457-3642.
Visit USDA's Blog
Every day, the USDA Blog shares something new about USDA's expansive mission. The blog provides a rich and diverse look at the work within the department, spanning the nation-and even the world-and highlights the breadth of USDA programs and the role they play in the lives of every American.
Go to http://blogs.usda.gov and see what's happening within the agency and across the department.