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USDA Celebrates 150 Years
President Lincoln created USDA in 1862 and, in his last address before Congress, called it the "People's Department." Lincoln established USDA because he understood the importance of agriculture to America's success — and under the Obama Administration, USDA has focused on advancing Lincoln's legacy.

"For 150 years, USDA has supported our nation's economic prosperity and touched the lives of generations of Americans," said Vilsack. "I'm proud of the USDA employees who carry out President Lincoln's legacy throughout the country and around the world, making USDA a truly 'Every Day, Every Way' department. Whether improving domestic and international access to food, promoting nutrition and safety of our food supply, conserving our natural resources, advancing agricultural exports or developing the rural economy, USDA helps Americans to lead better lives."

The turning point for domestic meat inspection really came in 1905 and 1906, after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. The details of the book described unsanitary working conditions in a Chicago meatpacking house, putting meat consumers at risk for disease. This led to the passing of legislation providing for meat inspection. Over the years, Congress passed the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Egg Products Inspection Act, which the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) enforces.

Since then, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) was implemented between January 1997 and January 2000 where inspection changed from a sight, smell and touch approach to a more science-based method. Scientific and technological improvements have allowed our inspection to evolve as well, with the implementation of new policies like testing ready-to-eat meat and poultry products for Listeria monocytogenes, applying stricter Salmonella and new Campylobacter performance standards to raw poultry products, as well as declaring that six additional serogroups of pathogenic E. coli (in addition to E. coli O157:H7) are adulterants in non-intact raw beef.

The Department will remain focused on rebuilding and revitalizing the nation's future while bolstering innovation and supporting economic growth for millions of American families. In the years to come, USDA will continue to address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America, and will continue to help provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world.

For more information about FSIS' history over the years, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/Agency_History/index.asp.

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. Review why OIG recently gave approval to FSIS' humane handling enforcement at http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/05/16/oig-gives-fsis-thumbs-up-for-%e2%80%9chandling%e2%80%9d-appeals/.

Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
  • Mexico
  • Saudi Arabia
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
Export_Information/index.asp
.

FSIS Revises E. coli Methods in Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook
The FSIS laboratory system is announcing that the Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) E. coli Chapter now includes: MLG 5.06, MLG 5B.02, MLG 5B Appendix 1.01 and MLG 5B Appendix 2.01.

Main additions are:
  • The enrichment broth was modified for the E. coli O157 method, MLG 5.06, to allow for a single sample to be used for testing both for E. coli O157:H7 and for the Top-Six non-O157:H7 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
  • MLG 5B Appendix 3.00 was added to describe laboratory equipment and expected method control reactions.
  • The method flowcharts have been labeled as the chapter appendices MLG 5 Appendix 1.00 and MLG 5B Appendix 4.00.
  • Some clarifications and improvements unrelated to analytical procedure changes have been added.

The described documents are available on the FSIS website at
www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
Microbiological_Lab_Guidebook/index.asp
.

Comment Period Closing for Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection Proposed Rule
The comment period for a proposed rule to modernize the way young chickens and turkeys are inspected will close on May 29.

The notice ( www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/
Proposed_Rules/index.asp
) clarifies answers to questions from several groups; the posting of those answers ensures that the groups and the public have access to the same information. The notice also specifies that FSIS is seeking information and data on potential impacts of line speed on worker safety.

Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov, or by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, Docket Clerk, Patriots Plaza III, 355 E St., S.W., 8-163A, Mailstop 3782, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include docket number FSIS 2011-0012.

PHIS Import Inspection Component to Launch May 29
FSIS is preparing to implement the import component of the Public Health Information System (PHIS) on May 29. All FSIS import regions are scheduled to begin using PHIS on this date.

Letters were distributed to foreign governments and import establishments providing information on changes to certification requirements, product categorization and presentation for import reinspection and sampling at official import inspection establishments.

Copies of these letters are posted at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
PHIS_Import_Component/index.asp
and also linked to the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS/index.asp.

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/
Ground_Beef_E.coli_Testing_Results/index.asp
.