| New Information to be Available for FSIS
E. coli Testing Results
On Jan. 4, 2013, the agency will make available two additional tables for FSIS' routine and follow-up E. coli O157:H7 sampling and testing and for other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Starting Jan. 11, 2013, bi-weekly updates of these tables will also be available at the same link.
These tables track test results for raw veal products separate from those for raw beef products. The agency uses establishments' product labeling to identify whether product is beef or veal.
FSIS issued a notice on Dec. 18, 2012, clarifying how to document the sample source in PHIS when collecting raw beef samples including veal for FSIS' E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC testing.
A link to summary tables for CY 2011 on E. coli O157:H7 and CY 2012 on E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC will be available at the link above on Jan. 4, 2013.
FSIS Updates Several Residue Test Methods
FSIS intends to modify several Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook Methods for additional classes of animal tissue.
The agency updated a method, "Screening and Confirmation of Animal Drug Residues by UHPLC-MS-MS," which will analyze for multiple drug classes extended to poultry muscle and poultry kidney.
In addition, a method titled "Determination and Confirmation of Chloramphenicol" will be updated to include swine muscle.
These methods will be posted to the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook once finalized. The agency intends to begin using the methods after Feb. 1, 2013. To review the revisions to the guidebook, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/
Agency Sets Residue Guidance for States
Today, FSIS posted a new guidance document on residue testing by "at least equal" State meat and poultry inspection programs to its website.
The guidance informs these State programs that, in order to meet "at least equal to" standards, they should discontinue their use of the Fast Antimicrobial Screen Test (FAST) and instead adopt the Kidney Inhibition Swab (KIS) test for in-plant drug residue screening. FSIS discontinued its use of the FAST in August.
The document also provides information on ordering the necessary KIS test supplies, the availability of training materials on CD or in hard-copy format and on the availability of technical assistance through askFSIS. To review this guidance in detail, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/
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/
Visit USDA's Blog
Every day, the USDA Blog shares something new about USDA's expansive mission. The blog provides a rich and diverse look at the work within the department, spanning the nation—and even the world—and highlights the breadth of USDA programs and the role they play in the lives of every American.
Go to http://blogs.usda.gov and see what's happening within the agency and across the department.
Register for National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection Public Meeting
NACMPI will host a 2-day public meeting to review and discuss strengthening agency verification activities pertaining to veal and categorizing FSIS regulations as public health regulations. The meetings will be held on Jan. 16 and 17, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Registration will begin on site at 8:30 a.m. each day.
FSIS test results show that veal trimmings and ground beef produced from veal have a higher percentage of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli than trimmings and ground beef produced from other cattle classes. FSIS is seeking feedback from NACMPI on improvements the agency can make to its verification activities of sanitary dressing and interventions and its compliance guidance in addressing veal slaughter operations. FSIS is also seeking feedback from NACMPI on outreach strategies for communicating with the veal industry.
FSIS has also revised its criteria for identifying regulations that are most closely related to public health outcomes and is seeking input from NACMPI on the criteria and feedback on the proposed approach.
The meetings will take place in the first floor auditorium of the Patriot Plaza III building, located at 355 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20024. The meeting agenda and additional details will be accessible at the NACMPI website at www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/NACMPI. For meeting information, contact Sally Fernandez at (202) 690-6524 or Sally.Fernandez@fsis.usda.gov.
FSIS welcomes comments through Jan. 12, 2013, on the topics discussed at the NACMPI public meeting. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to NACMPI@fsis.usda.gov or by mail to National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection, USDA, FSIS, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mail Stop 3778, Washington, DC 20250. Comments may also be submitted via fax at (202) 690-6519.
FSIS Issues FY 2012 Year in Review Report
Over the past year, FSIS has rolled out a range of innovative planning and performance improvement initiatives. This included progressive planning documents like the FSIS Strategic and Annual Performance Plans, an innovative dashboard to track agency progress against its strategic targets, and forums with leaders and key managers to generate new ideas.
The FY 2012 "Year in Review" report provides FSIS employees and stakeholders with a progress report. It showcases how the agency has performed against its strategic plan performance targets and Annual Performance Plan key results. It also includes a list of accomplishments and obstacles.
In conclusion, the new performance program is transforming the culture of the agency and better focusing managers on food safety priorities.
To review the report in detail, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/
USDA Offers Food Safety Tips as Winter Storm Strikes Central U.S., Moves Eastward
A powerful winter storm system that has brought snow, wind and tornadoes to the central U.S. and the Gulf Coast is moving eastward, threatening more damage and power outages in its path. FSIS is offering guidance to those who have been or expect to be affected by the storm on how to keep frozen and refrigerated foods at safe temperatures and how to determine if food is unsafe to eat. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
"Keeping food at safe storage temperatures is crucial to avoiding foodborne illness, and this can be difficult without electricity," said Under Secretary Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "As the first winter storm of the season hits the U.S., make sure your family has appliance thermometers, coolers, and plenty of ice to keep perishable food below 40° F until power is restored to your refrigerator and freezer. As a last resort for food safety, when in doubt, throw it out."
The publication " Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency" can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. FSIS' YouTube video " Food Safety During Power Outages" also has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe.
FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety. To get tweets about food recalls and weather-related food safety issues affecting just your state, follow @XX_FSISAlert, replacing XX with your state or territory's postal abbreviation.
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:
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
Food safety experts are available year-round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET to answer questions in English and Spanish about safely preparing and cooking foods.
The toll-free number is 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Recorded messages are available 24 hours a day.
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.
Follow Us on Twitter
Find food safety information for at-risk people along with tips and resources to keep consumers and other interested groups informed of the latest agency news and events. Follow FSIS on Twitter at www.twitter.com/USDAFoodSafety.
Also Tweet En Español
The FSIS Spanish language Twitter feed keeps consumers and other interested communities informed of the latest agency news and events and provides useful food safety tips.
Follow FSIS' Spanish Twitter account at www.twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.
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 FSIS Constituent Update will not publish December 28, 2012, or January 4, 2013, but will resume publishing on January 11, 2013. The staff wishes you a happy, safe and healthy holiday season.