Constituent Update - September 13, 2013
LIMS-Direct to Replace LEARN
FSIS Notice 46-13, issued July 11, 2013, is announcing the Laboratory Information Management System-Direct (LIMS-Direct) reporting application that is replacing Laboratory Electronic Application for Results Notification (LEARN) for reporting FSIS’ laboratory sample status and testing results.
On Sept. 16, 2013, “Welcome to LIMS-Direct” letters will be sent to establishments’ e-mails that have a PHIS profile marked for receiving lab sample results. This will enable establishments to receive laboratory sample results. For two consecutive weeks, management will receive an e-mail from LIMS-Direct and one from LEARN that contains duplicate sampling results information. These e-mails will be used as “tests” to ensure that LIMS-Direct is properly sending notifications. LEARN will be available to FSIS personnel until Oct. 1, 2013.
The LIMS-Direct User Guide can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/77c3f296-5357-4625-81fc-a564a3a3f04a/LIMS-Direct-UserManual-0713.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
FSIS will launch a 12-month Nationwide Beef and Veal Carcass Baseline Survey (B-VCBS) to sample establishments that slaughter and process beef and veal carcasses. During this survey, FSIS will collect samples from the carcasses of steers, heifers, cows, bulls, stag, dairy cows, and veal at two locations in the slaughter process, immediately after hide removal (pre-evisceration) and at pre-chill (after all anti-microbial interventions). This study will provide FSIS the data on percent positives and quantitative levels of select foodborne bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella sp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) and levels of indicator bacteria, including total bacteria (aerobic plate count), generic E. coli, coliforms and Enterobacteriaceae. Data obtained from B-VCBS will be used for the estimation of the national prevalence of select pathogens, assessment of slaughter dressing procedures and process control, development of performance guidelines and for other policy considerations.
The study design and sampling plan for B-VCBS has been posted at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/5057f4ef-f924-422c-bafe-771b1ead78e4/Beef-Veal-Carcass-Baseline-Study-Design.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
During the shakedown phase of this study, FSIS will accept comments from all stakeholders. Based on stakeholder input, FSIS may consider adjustments to the final study design and sampling plan, within the confines of feasibility and time. FSIS will initiate the shakedown phase (training period) of the B-VCBS in October 2013. During this phase, FSIS will prepare its personnel for the actual study, further refine the eligibility of the beef and veal carcass slaughter plants for inclusion in the study, and identify necessary modifications to the survey and design before conducting the actual 12-month survey.
NACMCF Subcommittee to Meet
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, Sept. 17-19, 2013, 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 these meetings 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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that due to increased security measures at Patriots Plaza III, all persons wishing to attend must RSVP in advance.
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
Food Safety Information Available During Severe Weather
We 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. Residents 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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
Ask Karen, FSIS’ virtual food safety representative, is available in English and Spanish 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions. Ask Karen app can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android devices.
Visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/keep-your-food-safe-during-emergencies/ct_index for more information.
Visit the Food Safety Discovery Zone
Visit the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone today and tomorrow at the Hartwood Days Festival in Fredericksburg, Va., and at The Great Frederick Fair in Frederick, Md., Sept. 15-21, 2013. For times and more information on upcoming events, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/usda-food-safety-discovery-zone-mobile/event-schedule-by-date/fsdz-events-by-date.
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.
HIKE Pre-scenario Available Online
FSIS has made available the Humane Interactive Knowledge Exchange (HIKE) scenario, “A Corrective Action Stun” DH 02-13 for comment through September 2013. The HIKE addresses the actions taken by FSIS for a failed stunning attempt by the establishment who immediately performs a corrective action stun.
The reason for posting this HIKE for comment is to provide inspection personnel, industry, consumers and others the opportunity to review and comment on the HIKE prior to its posting as a final document.
The scenario can be viewed on FSIS’ website at the followings links:
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 updates were recently issued:
Notice 63-13, Public Health Regulations for Use in Scheduling Food Safety Assessments
Notice 64-13, Inspection Responsibilities and Authorities for Reducing Slaughter or Evisceration Line Speed
Notice 65-13, Verification Testing for Non-O157 Shiga-Toxin Producing Escherichia Coli (Non-O157 STEC) in Imported Product under the MT51 Sampling Program
Directive 8080-1, Recall of Meat and Poultry Products
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.
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.
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