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Constituent Update - August 9, 2013

FSIS Exploratory Residue Sampling Project Begins

FSIS will begin an exploratory residue sampling project as part of the National Residue Program (NRP). Under this project, FSIS will sample 300 dairy cows presented for slaughter at official establishments that exhibit signs of mastitis and test negative on Kidney Inhibition Swab (KIS™) testing.  This exploratory sampling project is to identify the possible presence of any chemical residue that may not inhibit microbial growth and may not be detectable with the KIS™ test.

As described in the July 6, 2012, Federal Register Notice, (77 FR 39897), FSIS periodically conducts targeted sampling at the production or compound level as part of the NRP. Sampling will begin September 1, 2013.

FSIS Conducts Food Defense Plan Survey

FSIS will conduct its eighth annual Food Defense Plan Survey during the month of August 2013, to determine how many FSIS-regulated processed egg product 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: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-defense-and-emergency-response.

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.

Visit the Food Safety Discovery Zone

Visit the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone at the Montgomery County Fair August 9-17, 2013. 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.

Export Requirement Updates

The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following areas:

  • Cuba
  • Kazakhstan
  • People’s Republic of China

Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products

Mechanically Tenderized Beef Comment Period Extended

FSIS is extending the comment period for the Federal Register proposed rule, “Descriptive Designation for Needle- or Blade-tenderized (Mechanically Tenderized) Beef Products” until October 8, 2013. The agency is taking this action in response to a request made by a coalition of trade associations.

FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this notice. Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this webpage or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments.

Mail, including CD-ROMs: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

All items submitted by mail or e-mail must include the agency name and docket number FSIS-2007-0017. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov.

For access to background documents or to comments received, go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW, Room 8-164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Update on FSIS Testing for Chloramphenicol

The FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook method, “Determination and Confirmation of Chloramphenicol,” has been updated. This method has been extended to allow for testing of equine muscle. When implemented, this method will further enhance consumer protection by preventing residue from this antimicrobial compound into the food supply.

This method will be posted to the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook once finalized. The agency intends to begin using this method after September 9, 2013.

To review the revisions to the guidebook, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/science/laboratories-and-procedures/guidebooks-and-methods/chemistry-laboratory-guidebook/chemistry-laboratory-guidebook.

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.

Follow-up Materials for IFSAC Webinar

In 2011, FSIS, the CDC, and the FDA partnered together to form the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC). This tri-agency collaboration focuses on projects related to foodborne illness source attribution.

One of IFSAC’s top priorities involves improving the classification of foods implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks. On June 18, 2013, IFSAC hosted its first webinar entitled, “Improving the Categories Used to Classify Foods Implicated in Outbreaks”. Key points from the webinar included:

Changes to the food categorization scheme increase the accuracy and specificity of food commodities for generating foodborne illness source attribution estimates that federal agencies use. These improvements include:

  •      a better reflection of FDA’s and FSIS’ regulatory classifications of food,
  •      more botanically correct categories, and
  •      closer alignment with production practices and postharvest handling systems.

The new food categorization scheme increased from 17 to 40 terminal food commodities to provide more specific assignments for food vehicles.

Moving forward, IFSAC team members will:

  •      continue to categorize the more than 2,000 foods in the outbreak database using the new scheme, and
  •      finalize the new methods designed to obtain improved food information in outbreak reports.

To listen to the recorded webinar and view slides and the transcript of the meeting, please visit the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/attribution.html. Scroll down to the “IFSAC webinar” section. Questions about the webinar or other projects IFSAC is working on should be e-mailed to: IFSAC@fda.hhs.gov

Compliance Guide Now Available

In response to comments received, FSIS has revised the compliance guide for U.S. importers and brokers on the electronic filing of import inspection applications for certain meat, poultry and egg products through the Automated Commercial Environment. The Participating Government Agency Message Set is the data that Customs and Border Protection will collect electronically from U.S. importers and brokers on behalf of FSIS. When implemented, these additional data will complete the FSIS import inspection application, thereby eliminating the need to submit a paper form to FSIS. 

The revised compliance guide is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/98c45f3c-8a5b-47d7-9907-2fdc7352547f/Data_Samples_Guidelines_PGA_Message_Set.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

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 feeds that link back to the Q&As. Visit http://askfsis.custhelp.com/ to view recently posted topics.