| Comments Being Received for Proposed Rule Requiring Inspection of Catfish and Catfish Products
Following the announcement on Feb. 18 of the proposed rule requiring the inspection of catfish and catfish products by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), comments are being received. USDA is proposing these regulations to implement provisions as required by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill).
The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act making catfish an amenable species under the act, requiring that all catfish undergo inspection by FSIS. Additionally, the Secretary of Agriculture must take into account the conditions under which catfish are raised and transported to processing establishments as part of the new inspection program.
Comments must be received on or before June 26 through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by mail to USDA, FSIS Docket Clerk, Room 2-2127, Mailstop 5272, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705. Submissions may also be received through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments must identify FSIS and the docket number FSIS-2008-0031.
Comments will be available for viewing on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/
Proposed_Rules/index.asp . In addition to receiving public comments, FSIS intends to hold public meetings which will be announced at a later date. To review a copy of the proposed rule, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/
FSIS to Meet with Industry to Discuss PHIS
FSIS has scheduled a briefing with industry on domestic inspection for March 9 to provide PHIS updates. We have made great progress, and we'd like to share it with our industry stakeholders.
The briefing will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. in Room 327-E in USDA's Jamie L. Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. For those who wish to participate by phone, the call-in number is 1-877-340-4520 and the pass code is 3813794.
A Q&A document on the status of PHIS will be available on the FSIS website prior to the briefing. You will be notified when it is posted. In addition to discussing the document, additional questions will be covered and screenshots will be provided.
PHIS: Domestic Inspection Video Now Online at FSIS' Website
Check out PHIS: Domestic Inspection, a video with screenshots and information on tasks that PHIS users will be able to perform through the automated, web-based system. The video and script can now be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS/index.asp. It is also available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrn7I54YYj0.
FSIS Industry Podcasts
As part of FSIS' continuing outreach efforts, we want to remind owners and operators of small and very small meat, poultry and processed egg product establishments to visit our website and subscribe or listen to podcasts. Find out how FSIS and industry can ensure public health protection through food safety and food defense at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/Podcasts/index.asp.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
USDA Seeks Comments on Positions for Codex Public Meeting on Fish and Fishery Products
The Office of Food Safety and the Food and Drug Administration will co-sponsor a public meeting to receive public comments and draft U.S. positions on issues to be discussed at the 31st Session of the Codex Committee on Fishery and Fishery Products (CCFFP) to be held in Tromso, Norway.
The public meeting is scheduled for March 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the auditorium of the Harvey W. Wiley Building, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, Md. Individuals may participate via teleconference by dialing (866) 692-3158 and enter the pass code 5986642.
Documents and agenda items related to the 31st Session of the CCFFP are available at www.codexalimentarius.net/current.asp. For more information about the public meeting, contact Kenneth Lowery at (202) 690-7760 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 askfsis.custhelp.com/. Recently posted topics include:
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 projecting a final "best-case" possible total and represents no change from last week for both young chickens and young turkeys.
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/