Constituent Update - August 1, 2014
USDA Announces New Inspection System for Poultry Products
On Thursday, July 31, FSIS announced a critical step forward in making chicken and turkey products safer for Americans to eat. The Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection effort, now finalized by the White House Office of Management and Budget, puts in place new requirements for poultry companies to control Salmonella and Campylobacter. Up to 5,000 foodborne illnesses will be prevented each year as a result of the new poultry inspection system, an updated science-based inspection system that positions food safety inspectors throughout poultry facilities in a smarter way.
“The United States has been relying on a poultry inspection model that dates back to 1957, while rates of foodborne illness due to Salmonella and Campylobacter remain stubbornly high. The system we are announcing today imposes stricter requirements on the poultry industry and places our trained inspectors where they can better ensure food is being processed safely. These improvements make use of sound science to modernize food safety procedures and prevent thousands of illnesses each year,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
The proposal was first published on Jan. 27, 2012, and the modernization effort has been significantly informed by the feedback FSIS received from the public, as well as from interagency partners such as the Department of Labor. Specifically, USDA received numerous comments on the proposed rule related to worker safety, and it has partnered with the federal agencies responsible for worker safety to address those concerns.
FSIS estimates that the new poultry inspection system will prevent nearly 5,000 Salmonella and Campylobacter foodborne illnesses each year. Salmonella illnesses have remained steady, with some spikes, in the past ten years, while Campylobacter is the second most reported foodborne illness in the United States. This new inspection model is a key part of the agency’s Salmonella Action Plan, unveiled in December 2013, which is the agency’s blueprint for addressing Salmonella illnesses from meat and poultry products. Also included in that plan are revised pathogen reduction performance standards for all poultry, and first-time-ever standards for poultry parts, which consumers commonly purchase. These new standards are expected to be announced later this year.
For more information about this announcement, including the final rule and a FAQ document, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/poultryinspection.
2014 Residue Sampling Plans (Blue Book) Now Posted
FSIS is announcing the posting of the publication, United States National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry and Egg Products – 2014 Residue Sampling Plans (Blue Book). The Blue Book provides transparency on U.S. residue sampling of meat, poultry and processed egg products by outlining the residue sampling plans for Fiscal Year 2014.
The publication describes a three-tier sampling system, first initiated in 2012 and continuing for 2014, which identifies the production classes and compounds FSIS is analyzing. It provides access to current methodology, and reiterates the decision to run the residue testing program on a fiscal year as opposed to a calendar year.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
- Japan (Cold Storage Facilities)
- People’s Republic of China
- Republic of Korea
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
New Generic Labeling, Webinar Scheduled; Updated Generic Labeling Q & A’s Published
In the final rule, effective Jan. 6, 2014, FSIS expanded the circumstances in which labels may be considered “generically approved,” allowing establishments to label a broader range of products without first submitting the label to the agency for approval. Companies will still need to submit the following labels to FSIS for prior label approval: labels bearing certain claims, such as organic, natural or animal-raising; claims labels for temporary approval; labels for products produced under religious exemption; and labels of product for export that bear labeling deviations.
FSIS recently expanded a series of questions and answers clarifying the new generic labeling regulations. The Q & A’s can be found on the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/labeling/labeling-policies/faq-generic-labeling.
FSIS will host a new webinar on this subject on Aug. 12, 2014, at 2 p.m., ET. The updated webinar will provide an overview of the new generic labeling regulations, including additional information related to generic label approval. The webinar will also cover new topics, such as required labeling features and a summary of label submission procedures. To access the webinar, go to https://www.teleconference.att.com/servlet/ATTClogin and follow the on-screen instructions. Use the following information when logging on: Meeting Number: 888-844-9904 Code:2956126.
Please be sure to log on as a participant. For questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at 301-504-0878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 update was recently issued:
- Notice 36-14, Nationwide Beef and Veal Carcass Microbiological Baseline Data Collection Program - Actual Study
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.
HACCP Plan Reassessment for Not-RTE Comminuted Poultry Products, Verification Procedures
In December 2012, FSIS announced in the Federal Register notice, “HACCP Plan Reassessment for Not-Ready-To-Eat Comminuted Poultry Products and Related Agency Verification Procedures,” its intent to conduct a survey of its inspection program personnel (IPP) in chicken and turkey slaughter and further processing establishments, including establishments that produce comminuted poultry.
The recently published final report presents the summary of the poultry checklist results for all establishments in which IPP completed the checklist in PHIS (1,634 establishments completed out of 1,942 establishments that slaughtered or produced raw poultry as of the time the survey was open).
The report has been published and is available under the Related Documents section of the aforementioned Federal Register notice at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices/notices-2012.
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 July 27, 2014, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 6,580 beef trim samples (5,639 domestic and 941 imported); 1,951 routine follow-up samples (1,837 domestic and 114 imported); and 82 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. Ninety samples were found to be positive; 42 were domestic trim samples, 3 were imported trim samples, 41 were domestic follow-up samples, and 4 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 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/ec.
Food Safety Discovery Zone!
The USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) is back on the road! From Aug. 6-17, 2014, the FSDZ will be in Hamburg, New York, at the Erie County Fair.
The 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/fsdz-schedule.
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. To learn more, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis.
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.
Agency leadership information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis/agency-leadership.