| Janell Kause Named FSIS Scientific Advisor for Risk Assessment
FSIS has named Janell Kause as the Scientific Advisor for Risk Assessment in the Office of Public Health Science (OPHS). Kause will serve as the key scientific advisor on food safety matters affecting the mission of OPHS and the agency. Her primary responsibility is to provide scientific leadership, as well as direction and guidance, on the development, adaptation and application of microbial and non-microbial risk assessments to address FSIS public health and food safety goals. In this capacity, she will also assume the role of co-chair of the Interagency Risk Assessment Consortium.
Kause joined OPHS in 1998, and has served as the Director of the Risk Assessment Division since 2004. She successfully led several efforts advancing the use of food safety risk assessments and related analytics to guide agency food safety policies and inspection. She has served on numerous national and international committees advancing the science of risk assessment to improve food safety policies and operations. Most notably, she has served on several scientific panels for the International Life Sciences Institute, Resources for the Future, the European Food Safety Authority, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Food Safety Cooperation Forum. She led partnerships with the CDC, APHIS and FDA to conduct several interagency risk assessments. She represented the Office of Food Safety to develop the USDA Scientific Integrity Policy. Kause holds a dual Masters of Public Health and Masters in Public Policy in the area of risk policy from the University of Michigan.
FSIS Solicits Feedback on askFSIS
Today, FSIS launched a survey designed to enhance the usability and efficiency of askFSIS—a Web-based question-and-answer forum. The purpose of the survey is to ensure all customers have the most helpful experience possible when accessing the application. Survey responses will be used to enhance customer service in the future. This survey is available through April 12, 2013.
To access the survey, go to http://bit.ly/165iO2Q. For questions regarding the survey, contact Brittini Brown at Brittini.Brown@fsis.usda.gov. For technical issues with accessing the survey, contact Yolanda Kennedy-Edwards at Yolanda.Kennedy@fsis.usda.gov. Note that responses are voluntary and will remain confidential.
In addition, as the agency looks for ways to improve askFSIS, a new feature called the "Help" tab has been added. This tool allows customers to better interact with the application and manage their own askFSIS accounts.
Export Requirement Updates
There were no updates reflected in this week's Export Library Requirements.
Complete information can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
Public Comment Period Extended for E. coli (STEC) Survey
The original deadline to submit comments on the draft STEC Survey questions was March 10. FSIS announced through a Constituent Update Special Alert last week that it has extended the opportunity for comment in response to a request from three industry groups. The new deadline to receive comments is March 25. The industry associations stated that the additional time was needed to provide meaningful feedback on the survey questions.
FSIS is particularly interested in receiving feedback concerning the clarity of the questions. Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal online at http://1.usa.gov/WEPeyM to view the survey and provide comment.
Industry Implementation of PHIS Underway
Last month, FSIS began rolling out 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 are 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.
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 non-O157 STEC serogroup.
To review testing results, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
FSIS Updates Sulfonamides Test
FSIS is announcing that it intends to modify the Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook Method for Quantitation and Confirmation of Sulfonamides by Liquid Chromatography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). The new method will be used to analyze for sulfonamide residues in liver and muscle of both sheep and goats.
The method will be posted to the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook at www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
Chemistry_Lab_Guidebook/index.asp , once finalized. The agency intends to begin using the method on April 22.
Fourth Quarter Salmonella and Campylobacter Report Posted
Today, the agency posted to its website the fourth quarter progress report of calendar year (CY) 2012 on Salmonella and Campylobacter testing of selected raw meat and poultry products.
This report provides preliminary data from October to December 2012 on all establishments eligible for Salmonella testing that have completed at least two sampling verification sets since June 2006.
As of December 2012, of all establishments in all product classes, 79.8 percent are in category 1, which illustrates a decrease from third quarter CY12.
From 175 broiler establishments, 3222 samples were analyzed with a 4.6 percent positive rate, representing an increase from the 4.2 percent positive rate for third quarter CY12. This table lists percentages of broiler establishments by category as of December 2012.
FSIS continues to post monthly the names of broiler establishments demonstrating variable or inconsistent process control. The agency highlights performance for the broiler class because of its negative impact on foodborne illness. Since April 2008, FSIS has been posting category 3 broiler carcass establishment names.
FSIS will continue to post monthly the names of poultry establishments demonstrating variable or inconsistent process control.
The complete report and program details are at www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
Note: This is also the sixth quarter to include Campylobacter sampling results for young chicken and turkey carcasses. A follow-up article will be published in Constituent Update to discuss these results in greater detail as more data becomes available.
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 Launches Small Plant News Survey
FSIS is conducting a survey through 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 Small Plant News to better serve the needs of its stakeholders.
The deadline to complete the survey is March 31. To do so, go to the Volume 6, No. 4 issue of Small Plant News at http://1.usa.gov/1dSIBs. Click on the survey button on the first page.