| FSIS Issues Directive on Donning and Doffing Time Measurement
On Sept. 27, Docket No. FSIS-2011-0032, FSIS made additional changes to 9 CFR 307.4(c) and 381.37(c) to define the 8-hour workday as including time that inspection program personnel need to prepare the inspection station, if necessary, or retrieve and return lot tally sheets; the time necessary for FSIS inspection program personnel to sharpen knives, if necessary; and the time necessary to conduct duties scheduled by FSIS, including administrative activities. The activities are integral and indispensable to inspectors' work and are part of the continuous workday as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, they are activities that need to be part of the agency's regulatory definition for the 8-hour workday.
In addition, FSIS issued Directive 5090.1 today, providing Supervisory Public Health Veterinarians (SPHVs), Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspectors (SCSIs) and Frontline Supervisors (FLSs) instructions on how to measure the time it takes them to retrieve and don required gear, walk to an on-line station, set up the inspection station (if applicable), retrieve and return lot tally sheets (if applicable), walk back from the on-line station, and clean and doff required gear. These personnel will measure these times primarily for on-line personnel.
Current time measurements at meat slaughter establishments may not have to be re-done as a result of this directive. The instructions apply for when an establishment makes changes that would change the donning, doffing and walk time, to establishments receiving their first grant of inspection, and, as a result of the new regulation discussed in Section II B, to poultry slaughter establishments so that time to pick up required forms and drop off required forms is included in the time measurement.
As detailed in the directive, any time the SPHV, SCSI or FLS plans to conduct a time measurement, they are to inform the establishment management at a weekly meeting. Establishment personnel and union representatives may observe the time measurement.
In addition, the directive states that knife sharpening and administrative duties are now part of the 8 hour workday. The directive provides instructions on the amount of time for the inspector to perform knife sharpening duties (when necessary) and if the establishment does not offer a knife-sharpening service. The directive also provides instructions regarding the performance of administrative duties (such as time and attendance preparation).
Implementation of Listeria monocytogenes ( Lm) Sampling Program Changes
After reviewing current ready-to-eat (RTE) product policies and procedures, FSIS has decided to delay the implementation of the Routine Risk-based Listeria monocytogenes (RLm) Sampling Program and its Intensified Verification Testing (IVT) protocol changes until Jan. 2, 2013.
FSIS announced in the Federal Register ( Docket No. FSIS-2012-0032) that the agency will increase the number of product samples it collects from three to five samples per sampling unit for the RLm and IVT sampling programs. In addition, agency laboratories will composite the five 25-g product samples from each RLm sampling unit, which will increase the sample size of the analyzed test portion from 25 g to 125 g.
The delay in implementing the sampling program changes is necessary in order to issue updated instructions to the field, and to update sample scheduling in PHIS. Delaying the implementation of the program until Jan. 2, 2013, also allows FSIS to better analyze the impact of the sampling program changes on an annual basis, and allows industry more time to make changes in establishment sampling programs in response to the agency's changes.
For questions on the RLm and IVT sampling program changes or the implementation date, submit questions through askFSIS at http://askfsis.custhelp.com/.
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/
Proposed Rule: Eligibility of the Republic of Korea
On Nov. 27, 2012, FSIS published a proposed rule to add the Republic of Korea to the list of countries eligible to export poultry products to the United States. FSIS' reviews of Korea's laws, regulations and inspection implementation show that its poultry inspection system requirements are equivalent to those of the Poultry Products Inspection Act and its implementing regulations.
Under this proposal, slaughtered poultry or parts or other products thereof processed in certified Korean establishments would be eligible for export to the United States. All such products would be subject to re-inspection at United States ports-of-entry by FSIS inspectors. The proposed rule is available on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2012-0019.pdf.
Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before Jan. 28, 2013, and may be made through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. They may also be submitted by mail to the Docket Clerk, USDA, FSIS, Patriots Plaza III, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Rm 8-163A, Mailstop 3782, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments submitted must include docket number FSIS-2012-0019.
Proposed Rule: PHIS Import Component
This week, FSIS published a proposed rule that will amend its regulations to provide for the Import Component of the Public Health Information System (PHIS). The proposed rule was published on Nov. 27, 2012, and is posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2009-0022.pdf.
The PHIS Import Component, launched on May 29, 2012, provides an electronic alternative to the paper-based import inspection application, foreign inspection and foreign establishment certification processes. Information on the implementation of the PHIS Import Component can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/
The comment period for the proposed rule closes on Jan. 28, 2013. Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. They may also be submitted by mail to the Docket Clerk, USDA, FSIS, Patriots Plaza III, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Rm 8-163A, Mailstop 3782, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments submitted must include docket number FSIS-2009-0022.
Updates on FSIS Testing for E. coli
FSIS posts bi-weekly updates for the agency's raw ground beef E. coli sampling program. Included are testing results of raw ground beef component samples for E. coli O157:H7 and STECs from FSIS routine and follow-up sampling programs. Also featured is data for non-O157 STECs by each non-O157 STEC serogroup.
To review testing results, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
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:
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 1-800-457-3642.
FSIS Updates Aminoglycosides Test
FSIS is announcing that it intends to modify the Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook Method for Screening and Confirmation of Aminoglycosides by LC/MS/MS. The new method will be used to analyze for aminoglycoside residues in poultry kidney and muscle.
The method will be posted to the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook once finalized. The agency intends to begin using the method on Dec. 21. To review the revisions to the guidebook, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
FSIS is Here to Help
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is also available to consumers in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
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.