Constituent Update - February 7, 2014
Webinars Available: Scenario-Based Exercise Tool
FSIS has developed a new tool for use by the FSIS-regulated industry known as the Food Defense and Recall Preparedness: A Scenario-Based Exercise Tool. This scenario-based tool highlights the importance of having a voluntary functional food-defense plan and written recall procedures. The tool identifies key components of a food-defense plan and recall procedures that are relevant to an organizations’ business. The exercise is designed to be completed within an hour’s time.
FSIS is hosting webinars for industry to explain the purpose of the tool and to demonstrate how to use it. The planned dates for the webinars are as follows:
- Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 10 a.m. ET
- Friday, March 14, 2014, 11 a.m. ET
The tool is available for free download at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-defense-and-emergency-response. It is also located in FSIS’ Guidance Documents at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-and-emergency-response/preparation-and-prevention/guidance-documents.
Webinar Scheduled: Final Rule on New Generic Labeling
Effective Jan. 6, 2014, FSIS expanded the circumstances in which labels may be considered “generically approved.” This new rule will allow establishments to label a broader range of products without first submitting the label to the agency for approval. Companies will still need to submit labels bearing certain claims, such as organic, natural or animal-raising, as well as labels for temporary approval; products produced under religious exemption; and export-only that bear labeling deviations. FSIS will continue to verify that labels are accurate, not misleading and in compliance with all labeling features.
FSIS will host webinar on this subject on Feb. 11, 2014, all at 2 p.m. ET. To access the webinar, go to https://connect16.uc.att.com/usda/meet/?ExEventID=85277207 and follow the on-screen instructions. Please be sure to log on as a participant. For registration questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at (301) 504-0878 or email@example.com.
Export Requirement Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:
- United Arab Emirates
Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
Egg Products Industry Survey
FSIS is conducting a survey of the egg products industry to add to FSIS’ understanding of the processing practices and technologies used to control pathogens and promote food safety. In addition, FSIS will use the survey to compare the results to a similar survey that FSIS conducted in 2003-2004 to assess food safety and technology adoption trends over time. The survey will be sent to eligible egg products plants starting in March, and the survey will close at the end of May.
FSIS has contracted with RTI International to develop and conduct this nationwide survey. As it has done with other surveys that it has conducted for Federal agencies, RTI International will report individual responses to this survey to FSIS, but it will use data masking techniques so that individual plants cannot be identified. The results of the survey will be reported to the public only in summary form so that individual responses or respondents cannot be identified. Those who respond to the survey will receive a summary report of the survey results.
If you have questions about the survey, please do not hesitate to contact Gary Noyes at 301-504-3672 or at Gary.Noyes@fsis.usda.gov.
NACMCF Subcommittees to Meet on Norovirus, Microbiological Criteria
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) subcommittees will hold public meetings at the Patriot’s Plaza 3, 1st Floor Auditorium, 355 E. St., SW, Washington, DC 20024 on the following dates:
- March 18-20, 2014: A subcommittee on Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infections will meet on Tuesday - Thursday, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Subcommittee will continue discussions on improving control of the foodborne transmission of Human Noroviruses (HuNoV). The subcommittee will also assess the current state of knowledge on HuNoV.
- March 25-27, 2014: A subcommittee on the Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions will meet on Tuesday - Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to develop guidance to assist the Department of Defense (DOD) in refining its microbiological criteria for evaluation of process control and insanitary conditions at the point of production using both pathogens and indicator organisms. Updated standards will assist DOD in their evaluation of whether product produced under certain circumstances destined for U.S. military personnel is safe and wholesome. The information obtained from this project will assist all U.S. food safety agencies.
If you would like to attend these meetings, please contact Advisory Committee Specialist Karen Thomas at 202-690-6620 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that due to increased security measures at Patriots Plaza III, all persons wishing to attend must RSVP in advance.
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.
FSIS Policy Updates
On 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 5420.3 Rev 7, Food Defense Surveillance Procedures and National Terrorism Advisory System Alert Response for the Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit
FSIS Food Recalls and Alerts
Stay up to date on FSIS’ food recalls and 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.
Keep Food Safe During an Emergency
Did you know that a flood, fire, national disaster or the loss of power from high winds, snow or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food?
To learn how to keep food safe, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/keeping-food-safe-during-an-emergency/ct_index.
Update: FSIS Testing for E. coli
Between June 4, 2012 and Jan. 26, 2014, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 4,975 beef trim samples (4,318 domestic and 657 imported), 1,699 routine follow-up samples (1,585 domestic and 114 imported) and 34 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples.
Seventy-two samples were found to be positive; 35 were domestic trim samples; one was an imported trim sample; 33 were domestic follow-up samples; and three were non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. To date, two samples have been positive for both O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC and five samples have been positive for two different non-O157 O-groups.
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. Follow FSIS’ Spanish Twitter account at www.twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.