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Constituent Update - August 30, 2013

FSIS Posts First Quarter Salmonella and Campylobacter Report

Today, the agency posted to its website the quarterly progress report on Salmonella and Campylobacter testing of selected raw meat and poultry products. This report provides preliminary data from January to March 2013, on all establishments eligible for Salmonella testing that have completed at least two sampling verification sets since June 2006. The report shows that all establishments in all product classes (broiler, ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey and turkey), 78.1 percent are in Category 1, which illustrates a decrease from fourth quarter CY12. The table below lists the percentages of broiler establishments by category as of March 2013.
 

Plant
Category

Category
1

Category
2T

Category
2

Category
3

Percentage
of Broiler
Est.

67.6

10.2

13.6

8.5


In 2010, FSIS set performance standards for Campylobacter and tightened performance standards for Salmonella for broiler and turkey establishments. FSIS is aware that the Category 1 percentage is down compared to prior years and believes this is largely related to the tighter standard. Despite the decline in the Category 1 percentage, the rate of Salmonella in samples from broiler establishments showed progress compared to the prior quarter.  From 176 broiler establishments, 3,786 samples were analyzed with a 3.5 percent positive rate, representing a decrease from the 4.6 percent positive rate for fourth quarter CY12.

The agency highlights performance for the broiler class because of its negative impact on foodborne illness. Since April 2008, FSIS has been posting Category 3 broiler carcass establishment names. FSIS will continue to post monthly the names of broiler establishments demonstrating variable or inconsistent process control.

The complete report and program details are at www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/quarterly-reports-salmonella/. Note: This is the eighth quarter to include Campylobacter sampling results for young chicken and turkey carcasses. A follow-up Constituent Update will be issued to discuss these results in greater detail as more data becomes available.

Visit the Food Safety Discovery Zone

Visit the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone’s upcoming events in September. Announcements with dates, times and locations are available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/usda-food-safety-discovery-zone-mobile/event-schedule-by-date.

FSIS Announces Changes to its Salmonella Sampling Program

On August 28, 2013, FSIS published in the Federal Register a notice announcing future changes in its Salmonella sampling program for raw beef products. The notice states that FSIS will discontinue Salmonella sampling sets for ground beef products, except in establishments with results that exceeded the standard for Salmonella in that establishment’s most recently completed set (i.e., establishments in Category 3), on a date that FSIS will announce later in the Federal Register. At the same time, FSIS will begin analyzing for Salmonella all samples of raw ground beef, beef manufacturing trimmings, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components that it collects for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) testing. Once the co-analysis begins, FSIS laboratories will increase the raw ground beef analytic sample portion for Salmonella analysis from 25 grams to 325 grams.

The notice also discusses the agency’s intention to use the results from the new sampling program to develop new Salmonella performance standards for ground beef products and to estimate Salmonella prevalence in raw ground beef and beef manufacturing trimmings products.

FSIS will announce any new standards in the Federal Register and request comment on them before finalizing. Finally, the notice discusses changes that the agency is considering in the sampling and testing of other products for Salmonella.

FSIS encourages all interested parties to submit comments on the notice on or before September 27, 2013. The agency is accepting comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulation.gov or by e-mail at FSIS.RegulationsComments@usda.gov.

The notice is available on FSIS’s website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.

Export Requirement

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

  • Philippines

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

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.

Changes Underway for FSIS Laboratory Methods

The FSIS laboratory system has validated a single enrichment broth for the analysis of Salmonella, Escherichia coli  (E. coli) O157 and select Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains (STEC) in raw beef/veal products and carcass and environmental sponge samples. Additional method improvements include use of a single plating medium and new screen tests for the E. coli analyses.

The Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) media chapter, MLG Appendix 1.08, the Salmonella method chapters MLG 4.07, MLG 4C.05 and associated method flow chart MLG 4 Appendix 2.0, the E. coli O157 method chapters MLG 5.07, MLG 5A.03, and associated flow chart MLG 5 Appendix 1.01, and the STEC method chapters MLG 5B.04, MLG 5B Appendix 3.01 and associated flow chart MLG 5B Appendix 4.02 will be posted to the MLG. FSIS intends to begin using the revised chapters on October 1, 2013.

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

Upcoming NACMCF Subcommittee

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) Subcommittee on the Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions will hold public meetings on Tuesday - Thursday, September 17-19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Patriots Plaza III, 355 E St., S.W., First Floor (Conference Room), Washington, DC.

The purpose of this meeting is to develop guidance to assist the Department of Defense (DOD) in refining its microbiological criteria and other criteria for evaluating process control and insanitary conditions at the point of production. The NACMCF will focus on both raw and ready-to-eat food products and will evaluate both pathogens and other indicators of insanitary conditions. Updated standards will assist DOD in their evaluation on whether products that are destined for U.S. military personnel and produced under certain circumstances are safe and wholesome. The information gleaned from this project will assist all U.S. food safety agencies.

If you would like to attend these meetings, please contact Advisory Committee Specialist Karen Thomas at 202-690-6620 or email karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov.

Please note that due to increased security measures at Patriots Plaza III, all persons wishing to attend must RSVP in advance.

Update: on FSIS Testing for Metals

The FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook method, “Determination of Metals by ICP-MS and ICP-OES (Optical Emission Spectrometry),” has been updated. This method has been extended to several additional metals. With this update, the following 17 metals can be assessed in products of interest:  aluminum, barium, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, strontium, thallium, vanadium and zinc. This method will be posted to the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook once finalized. The agency intends to begin using this method after October 1, 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.

FSIS Policy Update

Notice 59-13, Time and Attendance (T&A) Reporting Procedures for Pay Period 19
Notice 60-13, Fiscal Year 2014 Pay Periods and Official Payday Dates
Notice 61-13, Submitting FSIS Form 5110-1, Services Rendered

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. 

Mechanically Tenderized Beef Comment Period Extended

FSIS is extending the comment period for the 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 St., 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 St., SW, Room 8-164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

China’s Poultry Processing System

FSIS announced today that it is reaffirming China’s equivalency status for processed poultry, which was originally established in 2006. FSIS made this determination after conducting an audit of the country’s food safety system for processed poultry. This action is limited to China’s processed poultry system and does not include slaughter or production.

Poultry processed in China must originate from an approved source, currently the U.S. or Canada. FAQ and the full audit report is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/resources.

Update: 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 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/ec/testing-program-for-e-coli-o157h7-and-non-o157-stec/.

Food Safety Information Available During Severe Weather

It is always best to practice basic safe food handling in our daily lives, but obtaining and storing food safely becomes more challenging during a power outage or natural disasters.

Consumers with questions about the safety of their food as a result of weather damage and power outages are encouraged to call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (888-MPHotline or 888-674-6854), available in English and Spanish, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

AskKaren, FSIS’ virtual food safety expert, is available in English and Spanish 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions. AskKaren can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android devices.