Patriot Plaza III, Room 9-210B
355 E Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
Gerri Ransom, NACMCF Executive Secretary, Food Safety and Inspection Service, opened the meeting at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 and welcomed members and guests.
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, NACMCF Chairperson and U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food Safety, delivered opening remarks welcoming the Committee and guests to the 2012 NACMCF plenary meeting, the first held by teleconference. She underscored the meeting's importance, as NACMCF will deliberate on recommendations regarding food safety questions from the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to support ground beef purchase for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). NACMCF plans to discuss their report and adopt final recommendations. She pointed out that Spencer Garrett, Subcommittee Chair, and the Micro Criteria Subcommittee worked intensely to meet the school year purchase timeline. Dr. Hagen thanked the Committee on behalf of the USDA and participating Agencies for their commitment and hard work. NACMCF aims to continue to provide input to school lunch food safety.
Mr. Michael Landa, NACMCF Vice-Chairperson and Director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, welcomed attendees. He discussed two additional NACMCF projects underway—Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infections and the Department of Defense Micro Criteria project. Spencer Garrett and the Subcommittee on the Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions are also handling the latter project. He spoke of the importance of both policy and science.
NACMCF assists with the science behind food safety, and their work is vital to the success of U.S. agencies that deal with food safety. A unique and important strength of NACMCF is the public process. This Committee is led by five agencies housed in four departments. Committee members come together to develop overarching charges and associated questions focused on the science that is critical to food safety and public health. NACMCF brings the state of the science, expert opinion, consumer opinion, and broader stakeholder opinion to the project.
Gerri Ransom, NACMCF Executive Secretary, made some business announcements, including the updated draft document to be discussed on the FSIS Web site. She noted that a public comment period would be included in the teleconference. She reported that a current Federal Register Notice is soliciting nominations for members on the 2012-2014 NACMCF committee. The current membership term expires in May 2012 with the exception of the consumer member, whose appointment runs until 2013. She announced that that the NACMCF Subcommittee on Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infection is scheduled to meet May 8-10 in Washington, DC. She thanked the Micro Criteria Subcommittee team for their hard work and great efforts on the AMS project.
Dr. Craig Morris, Deputy Administrator, AMS, Livestock and Seed Program, presented background on the federal purchase of ground beef and on the Agriculture Marketing Service charge. He clarified that the current charge does not cover lean, finely-textured beef, or LFTB, and that this issue will not be discussed. Likewise, the testing of non-O157 STECs was not part of this project and would not be discussed. This topic would be covered in part two of the project. He mentioned that AMS is seeking NACMCF's advice on two separate work charges. The recommendations presented at this meeting are in response to AMS priorities to assist in the purchase of ground beef for the 2012-2013 school year. The second AMS request to NACMCF will cover all food safety requirements of the Federal Ground Beef Purchase Program. USDA intends to use this NACMCF report as a road map to continue to strengthen its specification development processes. He mentioned that foods purchased for the NSLP and other Federal Feeding and Nutrition Assistance programs are a top priority at USDA and that multiple reviews of the program are being and have been undertaken. In 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released a report on the food safety requirements of the USDA ground beef purchase program. NRC concluded that the specification requirements for ground beef have been protective of the health during the past decade. Their findings indicate that there is no single scientifically valid solution to ensure food safety. NRC encouraged AMS to develop a formalized relationship with an advisory body, such as NACMCF, to ensure a transparent and robust review of the program. He thanked the Committee.
Presentation of a Final Draft Report for Discussion and Adoption
Mr. Spencer Garrett, Chair of the Subcommittee on Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions, presented the Subcommittee's draft final report to the full Committee for discussion and consideration of adoption. Mr. Garrett led the group through the document page by page for considerations, questions, or issues. Committee members raised no new issues regarding the report. Mr. Garrett reviewed several comments and issues imbedded in the document raised in advance by Consumer member Ms. Susan Grooters. Ms. Grooters noted that a clarification on sampling was needed regarding the N (number of samples taken) at lines 515 and 549 of the draft report. The group agreed that editorial corrections would be made to clarify these sections. Ms. Grooters also noted that findings from a referenced study on cross-contamination should be included at line 631 to support the Committee recommendations, especially for raw product. It was agreed that appropriate text would be added. At line 692, Ms. Grooters comment pointed out that a citation is needed to justify shoulder lot diverting of ground beef, and the group agreed that a reference would be inserted. Mr. Garrett concluded that with the reading of the report and after making the necessary edits, he recommended adoption of the report by the Committee. Committee members raised no objection to the adoption of the report. Chair, Dr. Hagen asked if there was a first and second motion to adopt the document. A first motion to adopt was made followed by second motion to adopt the document as final (first motion by member Angela Ruple, second motion by member Kathleen Glass). The adoption of the document was made with the understanding that the agreed upon changes would be incorporated.
Mr. Tim Lawruk, from SIDX asked for clarification for line 437 addressing the enrichment and sample preparation procedures. He noted that the report states that the Committee needs additional time and data to address the appropriateness of changes to enrichment and sample preparation. He asked if sample enrichment and preparation follows the MLG. Mr. Garrett said that the answer to that question is "yes".
Mr. Jim Bryon from Xgenex, LLC, stated that industry recognizes that AOAC RI validation requirements for O157:H7 test kits are a lower performance standard compared with FSIS published guidelines for test kit validations. He asked if NACMCF would look at lines 118a and 358b, where AOAC validation is accepted, and reconsider that until AOAC-validated methods have been demonstrated in independent third-party laboratory validations to use methods that meet FSIS test kit published guidelines. Mr. Garrett said that a note has been duly made. He pointed out that this would be addressed in the part two of this project.
Dr. Hagen and Ms. Ransom adjourned the meeting at 3:12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
A list of NACMCF members and outside participants in attendance follows. Further meeting details are available in the March 28, 2012 meeting transcript at:
March 28, 2012 NACMCF Meeting Participants
- Chairperson: Dr. Elisabeth Hagen
- Vice-Chairperson: Mr. Michael Landa
- NACMCF Members:
- Dr. Wafa Birbari
- Dr. V. Kelly Bunning
- Dr. Uday Dessai
- MAJ Robert Dole
- Dr. Daniel Engeljohn
- Mr. Spencer Garrett
- Dr. David Golden
- Dr. Kathleen Glass
- Ms. Susan Grooters
- Dr. Margaret Hardin
- Dr. Dallas Hoover
- Dr. Lee Johnson
- Dr. Nandini Natrajan
- Ms. Angela Ruple
- Dr. Robert Tauxe
- Dr. Robert Whitaker
- NACMCF Executive Committee:
- Dr. Elisa Elliot, FDA Liaison
- Dr. Arthur Liang, CDC Liaison
- FSIS Staff Members
- Dr. David Goldman, AA, OPHS
- Ms. Gerri Ransom, Executive Secretary
- Ms. Karen Thomas, Advisory Committee Specialist
- FDA Staff Member
- AMS Staff Members
- Dr. Craig Morris
- Mr. Marty O'Connor
- Dr. Kerry Smith
- Ms. Nicole Miller