Constituent Update - April 16, 2021
FSIS Announces Update to Laboratory Testing Criteria for Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7
FSIS is aligning the testing criteria for E. coli O157:H7 with that for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Identifying specific bacterial genes associated with human illness is important for detecting STECs in food. Consistent with laboratory testing for non-O157 STEC, an E. coli O157:H7 isolate will be confirmed positive if it has the virulence-associated stx gene and eae gene, and is identified by the laboratory as O157. Furthermore, FSIS is removing the H7 gene testing requirement for certain O157:H7 isolates already positive for the virulence genes stx and eae. Harmonizing STEC laboratory testing creates a more efficient FSIS laboratory workflow where all regulated STECs are treated the same from initial laboratory screening to full isolate characterization. This update will not affect current FSIS laboratory protocols leading to the reporting of potential and presumptive positive results.
To implement this change, FSIS is updating the Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) Chapter 5C titled “Detection, Isolation, and Identification of Top Seven Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STECs) from Meat Products and Carcass and Environmental Sponges.” The update includes a new user-friendly format with informational diagrams and graphics that clarify the laboratory procedure.
Aligning the definitions for the top seven STECs of interest to FSIS to have the same criteria will not affect FSIS’ public health priorities, will not require stakeholders such as establishments and public health partners to change their existing STEC laboratory methods that met the previous two separate STEC definitions, and may facilitate commercial test kit technology development. To access the updated laboratory methods, please visit the FSIS MLG Chapter 5C at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/publications/microbiology-laboratory-guidebook.
NACMCF Plenary Meeting in April
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) will convene a virtual meeting on April 22, 2021 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. to discuss and vote on adopting the following two reports: 1) Microbiological testing by industry of ready-to-eat foods under FDA’s jurisdiction for pathogens (or appropriate indicator organisms): verification of prevention controls and 2) The Use of Water in Animal Production, Slaughter and Processing. The Federal Register Notice announcing the plenary meeting is available at: Docket No. FSIS–2021–0010.
Stakeholders are invited to participate in the public meeting and comment on the reports. Interested parties can submit written comments on or before June 7, 2021 at http://www.regulations.gov.
There will be no in-person participation. To attend the virtual meeting, please register at this link: National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods Plenary Session.
Please direct additional questions to Laarina Mullings, Advisory Committee Specialist, at 202-720-2644, or by email at Laarina.email@example.com.
FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/policy/directives-notices. The following policy update was recently issued:
FSIS Notice 16 -21 - Implementation of the Delete Attachment Feature in Export Task of the Public Health Information System Export Module