Constituent Update - February 21, 2014
New Executive Order Designed to Streamline Export/Import Process
On Feb. 19, 2014, President Obama signed a new Executive Order (EO) that mandates the completion of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016. The ITDS will allow businesses to transmit, through an electronic “single-window,” the data required by the U.S. Government – including FSIS – to import or export cargo. The EO can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/19/executive-order-streamlining-exportimport-process-america-s-businesses.
Currently, businesses must submit data to multiple agencies through various channels, often in paper form. The ITDS will reduce the number of forms a business has to fill out to import or export, and allow more efficient government decision-making associated with goods arriving at the border, reducing the time for clearing goods. Coordinated and automated messaging about these decisions will increase predictability and allow better-planned supply chain movements.
Under the ITDS initiative, in April, FSIS will begin a pilot of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Participating Government Agency (PGA) Message Set, which will allow a harmonized set of entry data that FSIS will collect electronically. FSIS’ Public Health Information System currently interfaces with CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), enabling seamless transfer of data required for the application for FSIS import inspection in advance of the shipment arrival. The PGA Message Set pilot, which will involve two brokers, will remove tens of thousands of paper-based entry forms from the process and will save agency resources by avoiding manual data entry. Meat, poultry and processed egg product inspection and enforcement will be more efficient by having the required data available when the shipments arrive at the official import inspection facility, benefitting FSIS, industry, trading partners and U.S. citizens.
The new EO calls for enhanced transparency by requiring public posting of agency implementation plans and schedules and directs the government to partner with non-government stakeholders to build more efficient business processes and improve border management policies. A newly expanded group, the Border Interagency Executive Council (BIEC), in which FSIS participates, will be responsible for improving coordination among the dozens of agencies with import and export requirements and with stakeholders.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
- Japan (Cold Storage)
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
Keep Your Food Safe During an Emergency
Did you know that a flood, fire, natural disaster or the loss of power from high winds, rushing water, snow or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food? Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Check out FSIS’ fact sheet at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/keeping-food-safe-during-an-emergency/ct_index to get tips on making the right decisions for keeping your family safe during a weather emergency.
Consumers with food safety questions can Ask Karen, the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. Ask Karen live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), is also available to consumers in English and Spanish and can be reached Monday through Friday from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
FSIS’ Public Meetings and Events
View upcoming meetings and associated meeting materials listed by date on FSIS’ Public Meeting and Events website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings. (Meetings that have concluded are listed on the Past Meetings page.) For meetings between agency officials and outside groups, see the Officials' Calendar of Meetings.
The following meetings/events are upcoming:
National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods: Subcommittees
- March 25-27, 2014: Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions
- March 18-20, 2014: Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infections
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.
Between June 4, 2012 and Feb. 9, 2014, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 5,064 beef trim samples (4,391 domestic and 673 imported); 1,731 routine follow-up samples (1,617 domestic and 114 imported); and 38 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. Seventy-four samples were found to be positive; 36 were domestic trim samples; one was an imported trim sample; 34 were domestic follow-up samples; and three were non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. To date, two samples have been positive for both O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC and five samples have been positive for two different non-O157 O-groups.
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.
Webinar Scheduled: Scenario-Based Exercise Tool
FSIS has developed a new tool for use by the FSIS-regulated industry known as the Food Defense and Recall Preparedness: A Scenario-Based Exercise Tool. This scenario-based tool highlights the importance of having a voluntary functional food-defense plan and written recall procedures. The tool identifies key components of a food-defense plan and recall procedures that are relevant to an organizations’ business. The exercise is designed to be completed within an hour’s time.
FSIS is will hosting webinar for industry to explain the purpose of the tool and to demonstrate how to use it on March 14, 2014, at 11 a.m. ET.
The tool is available for free download at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-defense-and-emergency-response. It is also located in FSIS’ Guidance Documents at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-and-emergency-response/preparation-and-prevention/guidance-documents.
Webinars Scheduled: Final Rule on New Generic Labeling
Effective Jan. 6, 2014, FSIS expanded the circumstances in which labels may be considered “generically approved.” This new rule will allow establishments to label a broader range of products without first submitting the label to the agency for approval. Companies will still need to submit labels bearing certain claims, such as organic, natural or animal-raising, as well as labels for temporary approval; products produced under religious exemption; and export-only that bear labeling deviations. FSIS will continue to verify that labels are accurate, not misleading and in compliance with all labeling features.
FSIS will host webinars on this subject on Feb. 25, March 11, and March 25, 2014, all at 2 p.m. ET. To access the webinar, go to https://connect16.uc.att.com/usda/meet/?ExEventID=85277207 and follow the on-screen instructions. Please be sure to log on as a participant. For registration questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at (301) 504-0878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FSIS Policy Updates
On 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 10-14, Cutoff Dates for Yearend Purchases
- Notice 11-14, Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle
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.
Report a Problem with Food
Separate government agencies are responsible for protecting different segments of the food supply. If you have experienced a problem with a food product, be sure to contact the appropriate public health organization.
Visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/report-a-problem-with-food for more information.