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Constituent Update - May 16, 2014

FSIS Implements Changes to the Salmonella Verification Sampling Program: Analysis of Raw Beef

FSIS is publishing a Federal Register notice responding to comments from an August 2013 notice announcing the agency’s plans to begin analyzing for Salmonella all beef product it analyzes for Shiga toxin- producing E. coli (STEC). The agency will also begin analyzing for Salmonella in the follow-up samples it collects in response to STEC positive results. FSIS is not making any changes to the STEC sampling and testing programs at this time. After reviewing the comments, FSIS is affirming its plans for addressing Salmonella in raw beef products and announcing that it will implement them beginning on June 29, 2014.

On that date, FSIS will discontinue its previous Salmonella sampling procedures for raw ground beef products, except in establishments with results that exceeded the standard for Salmonella in that establishment’s most recent completed set. At the same time, FSIS will begin analyzing for Salmonella all raw beef samples it collects for STEC analysis and will increase the raw ground beef sample portion for Salmonella analysis from 25 grams to 325 grams. FSIS expects that the increased analytical portion size will have at least the same, but likely more of a positive impact on public health because the likelihood of positive-testing samples increases with the analytical portion size.

To support an increase in the sample size it analyzes, FSIS evaluated its Salmonella detection method (FSIS Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) Chapter 4) using 325-gram samples. The MLG methods for E. coli and Salmonella methods in MLG 4.08, MLG 4C.06, MLG 5.08, MLG 5A.04 and MLG 5B.05 have been extended to cover the analysis of product containing raw beef mixed with raw pork and/or raw poultry. For the analysis of raw beef mixes containing poultry, a centrifuge spin step was added before the screening test was added for analyzing raw beef mixes containing poultry. FSIS revised the Salmonella method MLG 4.08 to allow molecular serotyping as an alternative to further characterize isolates in lieu of somatic (O) antigen agglutination serogroup testing.

The agency also revised supporting chapters MLG 4 Appendix 2.02, MLG 5 Appendix 1.02, MLG 5B Appendix 4.03, MLG Appendix 2 and MLG Appendix 3, to reflect current FSIS Laboratory testing. FSIS intends to begin using the revised chapters on June 29, 2014. To review the guidebook, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/science/laboratories-and-procedures/guidebooks-and-methods/microbiology-laboratory-guidebook.

To read a blog about the changes, visit http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/05/16/food-safety-scientists-double-up-on-ground-beef-testing-this-summer/.

Label Application Response Time

On Jan. 6, 2014, the Labeling and Program Delivery Staff (LPDS) amended its label approval process to address regulatory changes with the new final generic labeling rule in 9 CFR 412. As FSIS explained in the preamble to the final rule, LPDS gives label applications that require evaluation, per 9 CFR 412.1, first priority. The response time for evaluations is dependent upon the volume of applications received. LPDS is currently reviewing these labels within seven business days of receipt. LPDS gives second priority to label applications that are eligible for generic approval, but are submitted to LPDS for voluntary evaluation; therefore, response to those label review requests may take longer. LPDS continues to expedite review of label applications that are submitted under extraordinary circumstances.

Label application information is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/labeling.

Export Requirement Updates

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

Argentina

Egypt

Mexico

Sri Lanka

United Arab Emirates

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

USDA Seeking Nominations to National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection

USDA is seeking applications and nominations for membership to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. Membership is encouraged for individuals with knowledge and interest in meat, poultry and egg product safety and other FSIS responsibilities. Persons from industry; state and federal government; public health, scientific and academic communities; and consumers and consumer organizations, as well as all other interested persons, are invited to submit nominations.

For consideration, submit a resume and USDA Advisory Committee Membership Background Information form AD-755. The resume or curriculum vitae must be limited to five, one-sided pages and should include educational background, expertise and a list of select publications. For submissions received that are more than five, one-sided pages in length, only the first five pages will be reviewed. USDA Advisory Committee Membership Background Information form AD-755 is available at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/forms/doc/AD-755.pdf. Nomination packages can be mailed to Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250, Attn: National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. Nominations must be received by June 16, 2014. Self-nominations are also welcome.

For additional information, contact Designated Federal Officer Sally Fernandez at 202-690-6524 or sally.fernandez@fsis.usda.gov. To read the Federal Register notice, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.

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.

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.