| USDA Announces Proposed Rule to Better Label Raw Meat and Poultry Containing Added Solutions
FSIS is proposing a new rule to establish common names for raw meat and poultry products that include injections, marinades or have otherwise incorporated added solutions that may not be visible to the consumer.
The agency has determined that some labels do not clearly identify if a solution has been added to a raw product to enhance flavor or texture. As a result, consumers may be purchasing raw meat and poultry products with a higher sodium content than they realize.
Currently, raw meat and poultry products that contain added solutions, such as water, teriyaki sauce, salt or a mixture thereof, may have the same name on their labels as products that do not contain added solutions. The agency has tentatively concluded that, without specific, clear and conspicuous information about the percentage of added solution incorporated into the product, the labeling of these raw meat or poultry products is likely to mislead consumers.
The proposed rule would require that the common or usual name of these products include an accurate description of the raw meat or poultry component, the percentage of added solution and the individual or multi-ingredient components in the added solution. The print for such labels would be presented in a font, size and color that are easily visible to consumers.
The agency invites comments on the proposed rule, which is intended to clarify these products' labels so consumers can easily distinguish them from raw meat and poultry that do not contain added solutions.
A copy of the proposed rule was posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/
Proposed_Rules/index.asp and soon will publish in the Federal Register.
Comments must be received on or before 60 days from publication in the Federal Register and may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Individuals may also mail the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS Docket Clerk, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Mailstop 5272, Beltsville, M.D. 20705. All comments must identify FSIS and docket number FSIS-2010-0012.
FSIS recently posted on its website, PowerPoint slides related to a July 14 meeting with industry representatives.
Topics include establishment profile policy and features ( www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/PHIS_Establishment_Profile_
Policy_and_features.pdf ; HACCP verification ( www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/PHIS_HACCP_Verification.pdf) and inspection verification features ( www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/
Also check out additional resources and information on the PHIS Resource Page at www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS.
FSIS Expands Antibiotic Testing
Effective July 2, 2011, the agency expanded the analytical methods of testing for antibiotics by extending the "Screening and Confirmation of ß-Lactam Antibiotics by HPLC-MS/MS" method ( www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/CLG_BLAC_03.pdf) to include bovine and porcine muscle and kidney.
FSIS Conducts Food Defense Plan Survey
The agency is conducting its annual Food Defense Plan Survey through July 31, 2011, to determine how many FSIS-regulated establishments have voluntarily adopted a functional food defense plan. Similar to 2010, this year's survey covers meat and poultry slaughter and processing establishments, processed egg products plants and official import inspection establishments.
Results from the August 2010 survey indicated that approximately 74 percent of all plants have voluntarily implemented functional food defense plans. While this represents a significant increase from prior years, FSIS has established an agency performance goal for 2015 to have at least 90 percent of establishments with a functional plan.
For guidance and documents related to food defense, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Defense_&_Emergency_Response/
For questions and additional assistance, contact the Small Plant Help Desk at (877) FSIS-HELP (877-374-7435). Any policy-related questions can also be addressed through the Policy Development Division at http://askfsis.custhelp.com or (800) 233-3935.
FSIS Policy Updates
FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
All notices and directives are available at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/index.asp.
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 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
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 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
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. To view recently posted topics, visit http://askfsis.custhelp.com/.