Constituent Update - June 27, 2014
NACMCF Subcommittees to Meet
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) subcommittees will hold public meetings at Patriots Plaza 3, 1st Floor Auditorium, 355 E. Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 on the following dates:
July 8-10, 2014: The subcommittee on the Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions will meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to develop guidance to assist the Department of Defense (DOD) in refining its microbiological and other criteria for evaluation of process control and insanitary conditions at the point of production. The subcommittee 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 product produced under certain circumstances that is destined for U.S. military personnel is safe and/or wholesome. The information gleaned from this project will assist all U.S. food safety agencies.
July 15-17, 2014: The subcommittee on Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infectious will meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The subcommittee will continue discussion on improving control of the transmission of foodborne Human Noroviruses (HuNoV). The subcommittee will assess the current state of knowledge on HuNoV, including the incidence and public health burden of norovirus, and what applied research would improve the current gaps in epidemiological knowledge on the pathogen. In addition, the committee will report on data that are available, and what data are still needed, to conduct a formal quantitative microbial risk assessment of norovirus transmission in high-risk commodities.
To attend, please contact Advisory Committee Specialist Karen Thomas at 202-690-6620 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to increased security measures, all persons wishing to attend must RSVP in advance.
FSIS Food Recalls and Alerts
Stay up-to-date on FSIS’ food recall alerts by visiting FSIS’ Current Recalls and Alerts Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
You can also receive e-mail notifications when public health alerts and recalls are issued. Register at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following country:
- None to Report
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Severe Weather
FSIS is issuing food safety recommendations for the northern Plains and upper Midwest expected to be affected by severe thunderstorms, high winds, hail and flash floods moving across the country. Power outages that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, but there are steps that can reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS wants those affected to be aware of resources available to them and the measures they can take to keep food safe and protect themselves.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vGAZ64T0uE&feature=plcp. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Severe_Storms_and_Hurricanes_Guide.pdf. FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety. To get tweets about weather-related food safety issues affecting just your state, follow @XX_FSISAlert, replacing XX with your state or territory's postal abbreviation.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
• Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
• Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit in around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes so don’t overfill the containers.
• Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
• Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
• Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
• Avoid putting food outside in ice or snow, because it attracts wild animals or could thaw when the sun comes out.
• Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
• Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
• Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
• Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
• Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
• Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
• Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
• When in doubt, throw it out.
Get Answers at AskFSIS
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