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Constituent Update - April 25, 2014

FSIS to Launch International Trade Data System Pilot

On April 27, 2014, FSIS will begin a pilot of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Partner 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, enabling a seamless transfer of the data required for the application for FSIS import inspection, in advance of a shipment’s arrival. The pilot will involve two brokers and three ports — Philadelphia, Champlain and Houston.  

Ultimately, the pilot will remove paper-based entry forms from the process and save agency resources by avoiding manual data entry. Inspection and enforcement will be more efficient by having the required data available prior to the shipment’s arrival at the official import inspection facility, benefitting FSIS, industry, trading partners and U.S. citizens. 

The pilot will lay the groundwork for FSIS to fully implement the International Trade Data System, or “single window,” mandated for all federal agencies by the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006. Executive Order 13659 on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses, signed on Feb. 19, 2014, sets timelines for single window implementation.

To read the executive order, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/19/executive-order-streamlining-exportimport-process-america-s-businesses.

About FSIS

FSIS is the public health agency in the USDA responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged.

Structure and Organization

Numerous offices make up the agency, each playing a key role in protecting America’s food supply. To learn more, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis/structure-and-organization/structure-and-organization.

Leadership

Agency leadership information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis/agency-leadership.

Export Requirement Updates

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

  • Canada
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • French Polynesia
  • Hong Kong (Egg Products)
  • Japan (Egg Products)
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Taiwan
  • Uruguay

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

FSIS Responds to Comments Received on the Federal Register Notice, “HACCP Plan Reassessment for Not-Ready-to-Eat Comminuted Poultry Products and Related Agency Verification Procedures”

On April 21, 2014, FSIS published a Federal Register notice responding to comments received on “HACCP Plan Reassessment for Not-Ready-to-Eat (NRTE) Comminuted Poultry Products and Related Agency Verification Procedures” -- a Federal Register notice the Agency had published on Dec. 6, 2012.  

The 22 comments that FSIS received in response to the December 2012 notice addressed  the required reassessment, FSIS’ planned sampling procedures, and how best to establish pathogen reduction performance standards for NRTE comminuted chicken and turkey products. FSIS responded to all relevant comments in this recent notice. As the notice explains, after carefully considering all of the comments, FSIS decided that it would proceed as announced with analyzing the testing data to establish pathogen reduction performance standards for NRTE comminuted chicken and turkey as originally planned. FSIS will announce any new standards in the Federal Register and request comment on them before implementing them. The notice also provides other updates, including the status of HACCP plan reassessments, information on food safety assessments in establishments producing comminuted poultry product, and details on how FSIS intends to evaluate the exploratory testing data and information gathered from surveying its poultry inspection program personnel.

Both Federal Register notices are available on FSIS’ websites at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Frame/FrameRedirect.asp?main=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2012-0007.htm and http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/96d5b060-ca2e-4480-9210-466fef95dcb3/2012-0007.htm?MOD=AJPERES, respectively. 

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 April 20, 2014, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 5,637 beef trim samples (4,848 domestic and 789 imported); 1,879 routine follow-up samples (1,765 domestic and 114 imported); and 64 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. Eighty-two samples were found to be positive; 36 were domestic trim samples; three were imported trim samples; 39 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 six samples have been positive for two different non-O157 O-groups.

To review testing results, visit the E. coli data tables by clicking on Topics/Data Collection and Reports/Microbiology/E. coli tabs.

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.

Notice of Availability and Guidance Document on Allergens

On April 21, 2014, FSIS posted new guidelines on allergens and other ingredients of public health concern on its website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index. FSIS also published a Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the guidelines at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.

These guidelines provide recommendations for identifying hazards when conducting a hazard analysis and to prevent and control hazards through hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), or other prerequisite programs with respect to these substances. The emphasis of the guidelines is on meat and poultry products, and they represent the best practice recommendations of FSIS, based on scientific and practical considerations. By following these guidelines, establishments are likely to ensure that product labels declare all ingredients, as required in the regulations, and the product does not contain undeclared allergens or other undeclared ingredients. FSIS encourages establishments to use the guidelines.

FSIS is providing 60 days for public comment and may update the guidance document in response to comments. Comments on the guidance may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal via e-mail: http://www.regulations.gov
  • Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Room Manager, USDA, FSIS, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700
  • Hand- or courier-deliver submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. St., SW, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700

FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens Now Posted

On April 21, 2014, FSIS posted new guidance for controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in retail delicatessens (delis) on its website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index. FSIS also published a Federal Register notice (76 FR 22082; April 21, 2104) announcing the availability of the guidance.

This guidance document advises retailers of specific actions they can take to decrease the potential for Lm growth or cross-contamination in the deli area. In particular, the guidance covers: actions identified by the Interagency Retail Lm Risk Assessment that can decrease the predicted risk of listeriosis from deli products; information from the FDA Food Code, scientific literature, other guidance documents, and lessons learned from meat and poultry establishments that retailers can use to control Lm; steps retailers can take to help maintain deli products under sanitary conditions that do not allow Lm adulteration of the product; and a self-assessment tool that retailers can use to determine the practices they are using or can adopt to control Lm.

This guidance represents the agency's current thinking. FSIS encourages retailers to begin using it. FSIS is providing 60 days for public comment, and may update the guidance document in response to comments. Comments on the guidance may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal via e-mail: http://www.regulations.gov
  • Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Room Manager, USDA, FSIS, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700 
  • Hand- or courier-deliver submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. St., SW, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700

Proposed Rule: Change in Accredited Laboratory Fees

On April 21, 2014, FSIS proposed to amend its regulations to change the fees it charges for the accreditation and the maintenance of accreditation of non-Federal laboratories for the FSIS Accredited Lab Program (ALP).

Laboratories that participate in FSIS’ ALP can receive accreditation in one to six analyte classes. FSIS is proposing to charge laboratories $5,000 per year for the first analyte class accreditation or maintenance (as it currently does), but reduce the charges to $2,900 per year for the second and $2,100 per year for each additional analyte class accreditation or maintenance of accreditation. 

The proposed rule is posted on the FSIS’ website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/proposed-rules. Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal via e-mail: http://www.regulations.gov
  • Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Room Manager, USDA, FSIS, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700
  • Hand- or courier-deliver submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. St. SW, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700

Food Safety Discovery Zone!

The USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) is back on the road! Its first event will be at the USA Science and Engineering Festival on April 25-27, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. On May 4, the FSDZ will be on the National Mall for the Latinos Living Healthy Festival.

The FSIS FSDZ is a 40-foot interactive vehicle that educates consumers about the four food safety messages --Clean, Cook, Separate and Chill — from the Food Safe Families campaign. Some of the features in the vehicle include a Hand Washing Station where visitors can learn the proper techniques to washing hands and the Microscope Station that magnifies harmful bacteria. 

Watch for announcements of upcoming events. For dates, times and more information, 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

Follow Us on Twitter

To 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.