[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 35 (Friday, February 21, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9875-9877]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office 
[FR Doc No: 2014-03716]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2013-0037]
RIN 0583-AD32


Discontinuation of the Qualitative (30 mL) Campylobacter Analysis 
for Young Chickens

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is discontinuing 
the use of its 30-mL qualitative analysis for Campylobacter for young 
chickens. The Agency suspended this analysis on June 3, 2013. FSIS 
evaluated the available Campylobacter data, and its analysis suggested 
that the performance standard based on an analysis of the 1-mL sample 
volume is sufficiently sensitive to identify establishments whose 
process control is substandard. This is the only

[[Page 9876]]

change that FSIS has made to its Campylobacter sampling program.

DATES: Comments on this notice must be received by March 24, 2014.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
notice. Comments may be submitted by the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the 
ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this 
Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
     Mail, including CD-ROMs etc.: Send to Docket Room Manager, 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 
Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-
163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
     Hand-or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Docket 
Room Manager, Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-163B, 
Washington, DC 20250-3700.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Edelstein, Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20250-3700; Telephone: (202) 720-2709.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On May 14, 2010, FSIS published a Federal Register notice 
announcing its intent to implement new Salmonella and Campylobacter 
performance standards for young chickens and young turkeys (New 
Performance Standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in Young Chicken 
and Turkey Slaughter Establishments; New Compliance Guides, 75 FR 
27288). In the notice, the Agency stated that it intended to implement 
new Salmonella performance standards, but that it was leaving unchanged 
the current sampling procedures for Salmonella.
    For the young chicken Campylobacter performance standard, the 
Agency stated that it planned to use a combination of a smaller, 1-mL 
quantitative, and a larger, 30-mL qualitative, sample portion. The 30-
mL portion analysis detects lower levels of Campylobacter, and the 1-mL 
portion is only able to detect higher levels. The Agency said that it 
would test each of the 51 samples in a Salmonella verification set for 
Campylobacter using the initial 1-mL sample portion, and if the 1-mL 
procedure was negative, the Agency would analyze the 30-mL portion. The 
performance standard would have allowed a maximum of 27 positive 
carcasses on the 30-mL sample portion, and only 8 Campylobacter-
positive samples on the 1-mL portion.
    On March 21, 2011, the Agency issued another Federal Register 
notice to respond to public comments submitted in response to the May 
2010 notice and to explain the changes that the Agency adopted after 
analyzing the comments (New Performance Standards for Salmonella and 
Campylobacter in Young Chicken and Turkey Slaughter Establishments; 
Response to Comments and Announcement of Implementation Schedule, 76 FR 
15282). In that notice, FSIS explained that it had decided to use only 
the results of the 1-mL quantitative portion to assess whether 
establishments were meeting the new Campylobacter performance standard. 
The Agency said that it would continue to perform internal analysis of 
the 30-mL sample results and to publicly report aggregated data. FSIS 
also stated that, after 90 percent of eligible establishments had been 
sampled for two full sets, the Agency would decide whether additional 
actions relating to Campylobacter would be necessary.

Suspension and Discontinuation of the 30-mL Analysis

    In the May 31, 2013, edition of the FSIS Constituent Update, FSIS 
announced that with nearly 90 percent of eligible establishments having 
completed two Campylobacter sets, the Agency had evaluated the 
available Campylobacter data. Its analysis showed that a performance 
standard based on an analysis of the 1-mL sample volume is sufficiently 
sensitive to identify establishments whose process control is 
substandard (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/9a3a7078-0ff4-4ebc-8de6-ad889382fd7f/Const_Update_053113.pdf?MOD=AJPERES).
    The Agency determined that the minor sensitivity gained by 
including the 30-mL portion does not warrant the resources required to 
conduct the sampling, and that there is greater value in moving 
laboratory resources reserved for this effort to other sampling 
projects. The Agency included a link to a report that describes the 
methods used to conduct this analysis and a review of the 30-mL data. 
The report is available on the FSIS Web page at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Campylobacter_Methods_Comparison_Report.pdf?redirecthttp=true. FSIS did not receive any comments on this 
report or on its decision to suspend the use of the 30-mL qualitative 
analysis.
    FSIS is issuing this notice to announce that it has decided to 
discontinue the use of the 30-mL qualitative analysis for 
Campylobacter. This is the only change in this sampling program.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination 
in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, 
sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited 
bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require 
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, 
large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at 
(202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY).
    To file a written complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office 
of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue 
SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TTY). 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this notice online through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register.
    FSIS will also make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and 
stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free 
electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, 
consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals 
who have asked to be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS 
Web page. In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription 
service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food 
safety news and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/programs-and-services/email-subscription-service. Options range from recalls to export information 
to regulations, directives and notices. Customers can add or delete 
subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their 
accounts.


[[Page 9877]]


    Done in Washington, DC: February 12, 2014.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-03716 Filed 2-20-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P