| Agency Issues Draft Guidelines on In-Plant Video Monitoring Technology
FSIS has issued draft guidelines to assist meat and poultry establishments that want to improve operations by using in-plant video monitoring.
The purpose of the draft guidance is to make firms aware that video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may be used in federally inspected establishments where meat and poultry are processed. Establishments may choose to use video or other electronic recording equipment for various purposes including ensuring that livestock are handled humanely, that good commercial practices are followed, monitoring product inventory or conducting establishment security. Records from video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may also be used to meet FSIS' record-keeping requirements.
"This action fulfills a recommendation from the November 2008 USDA Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) report that called for FSIS to determine whether video monitoring would be beneficial in slaughter establishments," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. "In agreeing to this OIG recommendation, FSIS committed to issuing compliance guidelines for using video records and a directive clarifying FSIS' authority to access establishment video records. FSIS recognizes the importance of this resource."
FSIS is publishing the draft guide while pursuing Office of Management and Budget approval of its use under the federal Paperwork Reduction Act. Once FSIS receives OMB approval, it will issue the final guidelines. At that time, FSIS may also make changes to the guidelines based on comments received on this draft guideline. The draft guidance can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/ Significant_Guidance/index.asp.
FSIS is seeking comments on or before Dec. 14, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be mailed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS Docket Clerk, Room 2-2127. George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5474, Beltsville, MD 20705. All comments submitted must identify FSIS and the docket number FSIS-2010-0016.
FSIS to Post Category 2 Turkey Carcass Establishments Within Salmonella Verification Testing Program
Information regarding Salmonella compliance for turkey carcass establishments will be posted for the first time on the FSIS website today.
Since April 2008, FSIS has been posting category 2 and category 3 broiler carcass establishment names. FSIS has not been posting names for turkey carcass establishments because, until now, 90 percent of establishments met the current performance standard, and no establishments were in Category 3.
As there has been a progressive drop below the 90 percent mark, information concerning the establishments that failed to meet the performance standard will now be posted at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/ Salmonella_Verification_Testing_Program/index.asp.
Scheduling of testing at turkey establishments not meeting the current standard has been prioritized. FSIS will continue to post monthly the names of poultry establishments demonstrating variable or inconsistent process control.
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.
Export Requirement Updates
There are no updates reflected in this week's Export Library Requirements.
Complete information can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/ Export_Information/index.asp.
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 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 www.codexalimentarius.net/current.asp.
Comments must be submitted by May 31, 2011, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or to the FSIS Docket Clerk, USDA, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Mailstop 5474, 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.
PHIS Updates: Refinements
Based on user and performance testing feedback, the PHIS development team is refining some of the areas that weren't working as well as they could. Therefore, it is anticipated the system will be completed by Spring 2011.
FSIS is doing everything it can to make PHIS the best possible tool for protecting public health.
For more information on PHIS, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/PHIS.
FSIS Policy Updates
FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued: