Constituent Update - August 2, 2013
Public Meeting to Address Agenda Items for Codex Committee on Veterinary Drugs in Foods
FSIS, in conjunction with FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, is sponsoring a public meeting to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items, and draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the 21st Session of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF). The 21st Session will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from August 26-30, 2013.
The public meeting will be held on August 5, 2013, from 1-4 p.m. at the Jamie L. Whitten Building, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave, Room 107-A, Washington, D.C., 20250. Documents and agenda items related to the 21st Session of the CCRVDF will be accessible at the Codex website: www.codexalimentarius.org. To join the public meeting by conference call, dial 1 (888) 858-2144 and use participant code: 6208658.
For more information about the public meeting, or to submit written comments about the 21st Session of the CCRVDF, contact: Kenneth Lowery, U.S. Codex Office, Room 4861, 1400 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20250, telephone: (202) 690-4042, fax: (202) 720–3157 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
FSIS Policy Updates
FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. All notices and directives are available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations. The following policy update was recently issued:
Notice 49-13, Conducting Weekly Meetings in Egg Products Plants
Notice 50-13, Eighth Food Defense Plan Survey
Upcoming Publication on Dioxins
The Journal of Food Protection has published an FSIS-authored paper on dioxins. This paper is an analysis of the September 2007-September 2008 dioxins survey conducted by FSIS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Kerry Dearfield and his colleagues in the FSIS Office of Public Health Science compared this data to the reference dose (RfD) established by the EPA and converted these findings to exposure across all populations using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the recommended Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. This paper was published yesterday, August 1, and will be available online on August 5.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following areas:
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
HHS, USDA and the Food Industry Welcomes New Guidelines
Guidelines Provide Tools for Companies Aiding Government Outbreak Responders
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week commended the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) for the new CIFOR Foodborne Illness Response Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Managers of Food Establishments.
These guidelines were developed by an ongoing public/private partnership consisting of experts from all levels of government and the food industry. The purpose of the guidelines is to help outline, clarify and explain the recommended role for retail food establishment owners, operators and managers in a foodborne illness outbreak investigation and what they can expect after being notified of an outbreak. The guidelines also provide a step-by-step approach that companies can take during the different phases of an outbreak investigation, including preparing an establishment to respond should an outbreak occur, identifying signs of a potential outbreak, helping government officials to investigate an outbreak and following up after an outbreak investigation.
“These CIFOR guidelines offer a clear pathway to success in industry’s and government’s efforts to ensure that the foods we produce and regulate are safe to eat,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Both industry and government have a shared responsibility for the safety of our nation’s food supply. By outlining and clarifying specific roles and responsibilities during each outbreak, we develop greater trust and accountability among stakeholders and consumers.”
CIFOR is a multidisciplinary collaboration that includes representatives of local, state and federal agencies with expertise in the fields of epidemiology, environmental health and laboratory science as well as representatives from the food industry who are active members of the standing CIFOR Industry Workgroup. This collaboration, chaired by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the National Association of County and City Health Officials, was organized to improve methods at the local, state and federal levels to detect, investigate, control and prevent foodborne disease outbreaks. The federal agencies represented on CIFOR include USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and HHS’s Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin, said, “Food safety is core to our principles in the food retail industry, and critical to ensuring the efficacy of our businesses. The CIFOR Industry Guidelines demonstrate collaboration between industry and public health professionals to respond more efficiently to the health needs of consumers. FMI is pleased to be part of the partnership.”
To access the guidelines and more information about CIFOR, visit www.cifor.us.
Visit the Food Safety Discovery Zone
Visit the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) at two Maryland Fairs. The FSDZ will be at the Carroll County Fair today, August 2 and at the Howard County Fair August 3-8. For times and more information on upcoming events, go to www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/usda-food-safety-discovery-zone-mobile/event-schedule-by-date/.
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.
FSIS Conducts Food Defense Plan Survey
FSIS will conduct its eight annual Food Defense Plan Survey during the month of August 2013 to determine how many FSIS-regulated processed egg products plants, meat and poultry slaughter and processing establishments, and official import inspection establishments have voluntarily adopted a functional food defense plan.
Results from the 2012 survey indicated that approximately 77 percent of all plants have adopted plans. While this represents an increase from prior years, FSIS has established an agency performance goal for 2015 to have at least 90 percent of establishments with a functional plan.
For information and guidance related to food defense, go to:
For questions and additional assistance, contact the Small Plant Help Desk at (877) FSIS-HELP (877-374-7435). Any policy-related questions can also be addressed through the Policy Development Division at http://askfsis.custhelp.com or (800) 233-3935.
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.
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.