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Constituent Update - August 8, 2014

Revised Jerky Compliance Guideline

FSIS issued a revised compliance guideline this month called, “FSIS Compliance Guideline for Meat and Poultry Jerky Produced by Small and Very Small Establishments.” The purpose of the guideline is to assist establishments in meeting FSIS regulations related to jerky processing. The guideline also contains recommendations to help industry produce a safe product based on the scientific information available in the literature.

FSIS has updated the guideline based on comments received on the July 2012 version. FSIS also updated the guideline based on AskFSIS questions received. Changes made to the guideline include the addition of a surface preparation step in the step-by-step guide on jerky processing, clarification of the definition of shelf-stability and recommended shelf-stability parameters, and clarification of the documentation that establishments should collect to support that their process effectively addresses hazards. A detailed summary of the comments and FSIS’ responses can be found in the document.

FSIS encourages small and very small meat and poultry establishments that manufacture these products to avail themselves of this guideline. FSIS has posted this compliance guideline on its Compliance Guides Index webpage at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index.

Questions on the revised compliance guideline and directive can be submitted through AskFSIS.

USDA Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Tropical Storms Iselle and Julio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for the state of Hawaii due to severe weather conditions related to Tropical Storms Iselle and Julio.

The National Weather Service announced that Tropical Storms Iselle and Julio are developing off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. Iselle downgraded from a hurricane Friday morning. Julio is forecasted to hit the Hawaiian Islands as a tropical storm or low level hurricane this weekend. Both storms are expected to bring heavy rain, flash flooding, and strong wind gusts. Thousands have lost power that could compromise the safety of stored food.

FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety.

Export Requirement Updates

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

  • Republic of Korea
  • Russia

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

Course to Familiarize FSIS Personnel with Catfish Industry Practices

As FSIS focuses resources on developing a program for mandatory inspection of fish of the order Siluriformes, it has identified the need for a course to familiarize FSIS personnel with standard industry practices. The overarching goal of such a course is to provide FSIS personnel with important science-based background knowledge regarding technologies involved in domestic and international systems for raising, harvesting, transporting, slaughtering and processing of Siluriformes fish, including catfish, for purposes of producing human food products. This course would initially be offered to those FSIS personnel involved in developing the inspection program. Subsequently, the course would be used as a component of an overall program for training personnel who will be directly involved in Siluriformes fish inspection activities.

FSIS wishes to elicit input from interested parties and subject-matter experts in aquaculture and fish pro­cessing. Individuals may contact Stephanie Wilkins, Chief Training Officer, at Stephanie.Wilkins@fsis.usda.gov for a detailed copy of the agency’s goals and objectives for this course. Feedback should be submitted to Stephanie Wilkins no later than August 15, 2014. FSIS hopes to deliver the initial course during the week of September 22-26, 2014.

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:

  • Directive 7120.1 - Revision 19, Safe and Suitable Ingredients Used in the Production of Meat, Poultry and Egg Products

FSIS Expands Hormone Testing

A new FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook method, “Determination of Multiple Hormones in Beef Muscle by LC/MS/MS,” is being implemented. The method analyzes for four hormones in bovine muscle.

The method will be available the week of August 11, 2014, at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/science/laboratories-and-procedures/guidebooks-and-methods/chemistry-laboratory-guidebook/chemistry-laboratory-guidebook. The agency will begin using this method after September 15, 2014.

Food Safety Discovery Zone!

The USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) is back on the road! The FSDZ is in Hamburg, New York, at the Erie County Fair now through Aug. 17.

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.

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.