| USDA Offers Food Assistance to Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy
The department is coordinating with other federal agencies, states and community organizations to provide disaster nutrition assistance in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.
USDA approved mass replacements of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP) benefits, sponsored by the Food and Nutrition Service, to households in certain areas affected by the hurricane. Requests were approved for the states of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia to extend the time SNAP recipients have to report loss of food.
USDA also collaborated with the Department of Education to help families by utilizing USDA food stockpiles purchased for the National School Lunch Program to prepare meals at schools, shelters or other feeding sites to help feed local residents.
For more information about USDA's disaster assistance, visit www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=HurricaneInfo.xml. Also visit www.usa.gov/sandy for the latest Hurricane Sandy response information and resources available from other government agencies.
FSIS is gearing up to launch the industry functionality of the Public Health Information System (PHIS) to establishments nationwide. This will include the "plant management" role to review and print noncompliance records, respond to noncompliance records and appeal noncompliance records, view industry-specific reports and manage users associated with an establishment. The use of PHIS by industry is optional. For those who are interested in accessing PHIS, you must first establish a USDA eAuthentication (eAuth) Level 2 account. PHIS will not be accessible to anyone without an eAuth account. The steps on obtaining eAuth are:
If you need assistance or have questions about eAuth, contact the USDA eAuth service desk at eAuthHelpDesk@ftc.usda.gov or (800) 457-3642.
Dr. Kerry Dearfield Named FSIS Chief Scientist
FSIS has named Dr. Kerry Dearfield the Chief Scientist for FSIS. As a member of OPHS, Dr. Dearfield will serve as the key scientific advisor on matters of public health and food safety that affect the mission of OPHS and the agency. His primary responsibility is to ensure sound science underpinnings for the scientific initiatives within OPHS and FSIS. He will also represent the agency in its dealings with external scientific bodies and regulatory organizations.
Dr. Dearfield joined OPHS in 2005 in the role of scientific advisor for Risk Assessment. He developed policies, guidance and directions for risk assessments and advised on environmental and microbial risk assessments for food safety. His scientific interests include the development of science policy and guidance (e.g., microbial risk assessment guidelines); health risk assessments of environmental and microbial food contaminants; modes of action for toxicity; health effects testing guidelines (e.g., carcinogenicity); and risk assessment, risk management and risk communication issues. Dr. Dearfield has published in numerous peer-reviewed publications on genetic toxicology of chemicals, genotoxicity in regulatory decisions and guidelines, peer review and risk assessment practices and science policy issues.
Prior to his USDA positions, Dr. Dearfield worked at EPA as a risk assessor and senior scientist for Science Policy.
He has a bachelor's degree in biology from the College of William and Mary, a master's in cell biology from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in pharmacology from the George Washington University Medical Center.
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/
This week, the agency hosted webinar trainings on Nov. 7 and 8 that focused on verification of poultry sanitary dressing.
The training discussed a "system" as it relates to sanitary dressing and process control, the role of sanitary dressing and process control as part of an establishment's food safety system. In addition, details were provided as to how inspectors verify poultry sanitary dressing and process control procedures as outlined in Directive 6410.3 ( www.fsis.usda.gov/oppde/rdad/FSISDirectives/6410.3.pdf).
Follow-up information is available on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/
FSIS Policy Updates
FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. All notices and directives are available at www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/index.asp.
The following policy updates were recently issued:
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.
The following topic was recently updated: