Constituent Update - March 7, 2014
New White Paper Released: Use of Molecular Subtyping
FSIS has posted a new resource to its website that explains how it uses molecular subtyping technologies to enhance public health by reducing foodborne illness. Subtyping methodologies improve outbreak response and identification of the source of foodborne infections; help assess sample-specific risk of illness associated with a product process or an establishment; and allow the agency to trace contamination within FSIS-regulated establishments. They can also provide highly specific data for risk assessments and attribution studies to help target strategies to reduce foodborne illness.
This paper outlines how FSIS now performs in-house Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) analyses on all FSIS sample isolates and antimicrobial susceptibility testing on all FSIS Salmonella and Campylobacter isolates. In addition, most FSIS Salmonella serotyping is performed in house using a molecular serotyping assay. Application of these technologies will help industry by providing faster results to use in decisions about their food safety systems, while also allowing for more rapid trend identification by FSIS to target foods that may place the public at risk.
The paper explains how FSIS is working with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in using the latest technology to address foodborne pathogens. The paper is available at http://go.usa.gov/KgB5.
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 organization’s business. The exercise is designed to be completed within an hour’s time.
FSIS is hosting a 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.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
- Canada (Special Imports)
- Japan (Cold Storage)
- People’s Republic of China
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
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 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.
Update: 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. 23, 2014, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 5,144 beef trim samples (4,460 domestic and 684 imported); 1,757 routine follow-up samples (1,643 domestic and 114 imported); and 45 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. Seventy-six samples were found to be positive, 36 were domestic trim samples; one was an imported trim sample; 35 were domestic follow-up samples; and four 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.
To review testing results, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/ec/.
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 12-14, Export of Product with a Country Label Designation Different from the Export Certificate Designation
- Directive 5000.1 Revision 4, Verifying an Establishments Food Safety System
- Directive 5000.6 Revision 1, Performance of the Hazard Analysis Verification (HAV) Task
- Directive 10800.1, Residue Sampling, Testing and Other Verification Procedures under the National Residue Program for Meat and Poultry Products
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.