| Codex Public Meeting on Food Labeling
FSIS and the FDA are hosting a public meeting to receive comments and draft U.S. positions that are scheduled to be discussed at the 41st session of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL) in Charlottetown, Canada. The public meeting is scheduled for April 17, from 1-3 p.m., at USDA's Jamie L. Whitten Bldg., Rm. 107-A, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250.
Agenda items include: implementation of the World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health; proposed draft revision of the guidelines on nutrition and health claims concerning non-addition of sodium salts; and guidelines for the production, processing, labeling and marketing of organically produced foods.
Documents and agenda items related to the 41st session of the CCFL will be available at www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en. For more information about the public meeting, contact Doreen Chen-Moulec at (202) 205-7760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FSIS Launches Small Plant News Survey
FSIS is conducting a survey on its Small Plant News, the newsletter written especially for small and very small federally inspected establishment owners and operators who produce meat, poultry and processed egg products.
The survey takes only a few minutes and will assist the agency in improving the quality of the Small Plant News to better serve the needs of its stakeholders.
Individuals have until March 31 to complete the survey. To fill out the survey form, go to the Volume 6, No. 4 issue of Small Plant News at www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/
Small_Plant_News/index.asp . Click on the survey button on the first page of the newsletter.
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/
FSIS Begins Industry Implementation of PHIS
This week, FSIS began implementation of the industry functionality of the Public Health Information System (PHIS) to FSIS-inspected domestic establishments and official import inspection establishments. A full implementation schedule for each district is listed below.
This part of the system gives industry the ability to respond and view noncompliance records and file appeals.* It also gives industry the ability to view, export to a PDF, and print reports of sampling results, noncompliance records (NR), and the establishment profile.
Participation in PHIS is voluntary. Implementation for industry will be conducted in phases through a web registration process. Establishments will receive a letter with the implementation schedule, as well as instructions on the web registration process. This information is also available at www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS/index.asp.
Start dates were designated for establishments associated with each FSIS district and regional import field office. Establishments will not be able to access the system before the scheduled start dates.
PHIS users with questions or issues may contact the FSIS Service Desk at 1-800-473-9135. As a reminder, if an establishment elects to use PHIS, a Level 2 USDA eAuthentication (eAuth) account must be obtained to enroll and access the system. Steps for obtaining an eAuth account have been published in the FSIS Constituent Update and are available on the FSIS website.
*NOTE: The appeals functionality is not available for industry use at this time, but will be in the near future.
Learn About Paperless Label Submissions
FSIS is offering a webinar 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.
This session is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on 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 a previous 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 email@example.com.
Get Answers at askFSIS
AskFSIS is a Web-based technology and policy question-and-answer forum on topics such as exporting, labeling, inspection, programs and procedures.
In addition, askFSIS offers Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds that link back to the Q&As.
Visit http://askfsis.custhelp.com/ to view recently posted topics.
FSIS Policy Updates
FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. All notices and directives are available at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/index.asp.
The following policy updates were recently issued:
Updates on FSIS Testing for E. coli
FSIS posts bi-weekly updates for the agency's raw ground beef E. coli sampling program. Included are testing results of raw ground beef component samples for E. coli O157:H7 and STECs from FSIS routine and follow-up sampling programs. Also featured is data for non-O157 STECs by each serogroup.
To review testing results, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
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.