| USDA Continues Effort to Assist Small Producers and Processors
In a continuing effort to assist small producers and processors, FSIS will hold a red meat mobile slaughter unit information session on Oct. 7 in Fort Collins, Colo. The session is being held as part of USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative.
"This information session will educate small producers and processors on establishing mobile slaughter units and how to ensure the safety of the products so that they can receive the USDA federal mark of inspection," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza.
The Oct. 7 session will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., MT, at Colorado State University's Taylor Conference Center, 4482 East County Rd. 56, Fort Collins, Colo. To register, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/ Meetings_&_Events/index.asp.
FSIS officials will highlight how to apply for the federal grant of inspection and discuss inspection issues unique to mobile slaughter units. The session will also include presentations from other USDA agencies; representatives of the Colorado and Wyoming departments of agriculture; Taos Economic Development, an operator of a mobile slaughter unit; and a review of federal grant and loan options.
For more information about assistance for small and very small plants, contact the Small Plant Help Desk at (877) 374-7435 or InfoSource@fsis.usda.gov. The help desk is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
Joint Public Meeting to Measure Progress on Food Safety
FSIS, in collaboration with FDA and CDC, will host a third joint public meeting on "Measuring Progress on Food Safety: Current Status and Future Directions," on Oct. 20, in Portland, Ore.
Information will be gathered from various stakeholders, including the food industry, state regulators and consumer groups, on measurements they recommend or are using to assess performance in food safety.
Visit www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/ meetings_&_events/index.asp, to register and review agenda items.
Comment on Codex Activities
The Office of Food Safety is inviting comments on standard-setting activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex). Codex activities announced in the June 4, 2010, Federal Register notice include: phytosanitary standard-setting activities, commodity standards, guidelines, codes of practice and revised texts.
For more information, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/ FRPubs/2009-0033.htm. Documents pertaining to Codex standard-setting activities are accessible at http://www.codexalimentarius.net/current.asp.
Comments may be submitted by May 31, 2011, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov or to the Docket Clerk, USDA, FSIS, Mailstop 5272, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705.
All items submitted by mail or e-mail must include the agency's name and docket number FSIS-2009-0033. Comments received in response to the docket will be made available for public review.
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/ Export_Information/index.asp.
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 find the answers to your questions. Recently posted topics include:
Food Safety Tips for Storm and Flood Impacted Areas
To minimize the potential for foodborne illnesses due to power outages and other problems often associated with severe weather, FSIS offers food safety tips.
"Particularly during times of emergency, food safety can be a critical public health risk," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. "In flooded areas, the American public should be aware that information is readily available to help them protect their food supply."
Severe weather events can mean power outages, floods and other problems that can affect the safety of food. Knowing what to do before and after a weather event can help you reduce your risk of illness.
FSIS offers tips to keep food safe, even when the weather isn't. Check them out at www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/ Emergency_Preparedness_Fact_Sheets/index.asp.
Learn about other basic food safety principles by reviewing our fact sheets at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ Fact_Sheets/index.asp.
Recap: PHIS Web Seminars
FSIS recently presented a series of web seminars to introduce PHIS.
The presentations provided an overview of PHIS and how it will impact requirements for import certifications, export certifications and domestic establishments.
To access replays of web seminars and meeting transcripts, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS.
Updates on FSIS Testing for E. coli
FSIS has resumed the reporting of weekly updates on raw beef E. coli verification sampling program testing results.
The temporary suspension of results was due to internal computer upgrades that resulted in some incompatibility in the conversion of data fields.
Go to www.fsis.usda.gov/science/ Ecoli_Positive_Results/index.asp for previous and current year results.