Constituent Update - August 18, 2023
FSIS Posts Report on Clostridium perfringens Market Basket Study Results
On August 16, 2023, FSIS posted the Clostridium Perfringens Market Basket Study on the FSIS website. In May of 2021, FSIS commissioned the study through the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) laboratories, to assess the levels of Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) in certain federally inspected ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products sold at retail locations. The purpose of the study was to determine the potential risk to consumers from large mass non-intact products such as injected turkey breast or roast beef.
The study focused on large mass RTE products that, due to their physical size, require an extended cooling time. FSIS identified a scientific gap for these products in the 2021 FSIS Stabilization Guideline for Meat and Poultry Products (Revised Appendix B). The cooling options in Appendix B were designed to meet FSIS’ regulatory performance standards of no more than 1 log10 outgrowth of C. perfringens in meat and poultry products during cooling.
The FERN laboratories sampled large mass (> 4 inches in diameter or > 8 lbs.), non-intact RTE meat and poultry products purchased at retail for the study. The products used in this study did not contain antimicrobial agents such as nitrate/nitrite, including those from natural sources such as celery powder. The study found that only 1 out of 494 samples tested positive, with a low level of C. perfringens (1.08 log10 cfu/gram).
The results of the study demonstrate minimal risk in following the cooling parameters for these products in Revised Appendix B. Therefore, establishments may continue to use the less stringent cooling procedures identified for these products. The study was not designed to be a baseline, so FSIS is not planning to make changes to regulatory performance standards based on the results.
FSIS Publishes Final Rule to Rescind Avian Leukosis Regulation
Beginning September 18, 2023, FSIS will no longer require the condemnation of poultry carcasses affected with one or more forms of the avian leukosis complex. As announced in the August 11, 2023 Constituent Update, FSIS finalized the 2022 proposed rule, with no additional changes, to treat avian leukosis as a trimmable condition. The final rule may be found in the Federal Register, containing more information and a summary of comments and FSIS responses.
Avian leukosis presents no human health concern and, over the years, has become rarer and nearly eradicated among commercial broiler flocks as a result of widespread industry efforts that include vaccination and flock management practices, such as strict sanitation and selective breeding. The agency will continue to inspect for this condition. If present, tumors are localized and do not affect other parts of the carcass. Per federal regulations, any organ or part of a carcass affected by a localized tumor is adulterated and, therefore, must be trimmed by establishment employees before unaffected parts of carcasses can be inspected by FSIS. All carcasses and parts must pass FSIS inspection before moving through the production process.
Updates to Raw Poultry Laboratory Sampling Establishment-Specific Dataset
FSIS is combining the Exploratory and Special Program Poultry Sampling, Raw Chicken Carcasses Sampling, Raw Chicken Parts Sampling, Raw Comminuted Chicken Sampling, Raw Comminuted Turkey Sampling, Raw Turkey Carcasses Sampling, and Raw Poultry Follow-Up Sampling datasets into a single Raw Poultry Laboratory Sampling Establishment-Specific Dataset.
This dataset includes all data from the existing datasets with the following additions and changes:
- Adds data for the Exploratory Young Chicken Carcass Rehang Sampling project
- Adds new variables for Salmonella enumeration, in addition to sanitary indicator organisms (aerobic count and Enterobacteriaceae)
- Includes ProductType information for additional sampling projects
- Alters the Campylobacter species and Salmonella and Campylobacter Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) variables to follow best practices by reporting Campylobacter species results in separate columns (i.e., CampylobacterColi, CampylobacterJejuni, CampylobacterLari) and PFGE primary and secondary results in separate columns (e.g., SalmonellaPFGEPrimaryPattern, SalmonellaPFGESecondaryPattern)
In addition, data will be broken out by fiscal year (FY), starting with data from FY 2014 (starting on October 1, 2013) through the most recent FY. Files prior to the most recent FY file will be updated annually, whereas the most recent FY file will be updated on a quarterly basis.
Prior to publishing the dataset, FSIS is seeking comments on a sample dataset and data documentation until September 29, 2023. To comment, visit Regulations.Gov and follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments to Docket FSIS-2014-0032 for this sample dataset and data documentation. The data documentation for the sample dataset provides details on the new fields and project codes. The data documentation and sample dataset are also available on the FSIS website.
FSIS will also release this dataset in an open, non-proprietary csv format instead of xslx, consistent with requirements set by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. This means there will no longer be a Data Notes tab in the dataset, however information on the use and limitations of the data is still available on the Laboratory Sampling Data website page and in the associated data documentation.
Establishments can access the data through the “Industry Sampling Results for Primary Establishment Number Detailed” report within the Public Health Information System (PHIS).
The new dataset will be released on October 13, 2023, in lieu of updating the existing poultry datasets (referenced above) on the routine scheduled date of October 6, 2023. Subsequent postings will follow the regular posting schedule for establishment-specific datasets. New datasets are released the first Friday of the next quarter with a quarter lag, meaning data for FY2023 Q4 (i.e., July, August, September 2023) are planned to be released January 5, 2024, data for FY2024 Q1 (i.e., October, November, December 2023) are planned to be released April 5, 2024, and so forth.
FSIS to Post Individual Category Status and Aggregate Results for Poultry Carcasses, Chicken Parts, and Comminuted Poultry Tested for Salmonella
On August 21, 2023, FSIS will update the individual establishment Salmonella performance standard category information for raw poultry carcasses, raw chicken parts, and comminuted poultry products on the Salmonella Verification Testing Program Monthly Posting page on the FSIS website. Additionally, FSIS will post the aggregate sampling results showing the number of establishments in categories 1, 2, or 3 for establishments producing young poultry carcasses, raw chicken parts, or not ready-to-eat (NRTE) comminuted poultry products at the location linked above.
- Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ET: 2023 Public Meeting: National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
Available for Public Comments
FSIS seeks public comments on proposed rules and notices, which are viewable on the FSIS Federal Register & Rulemaking webpage. FSIS is currently seeking comments on the following:
- Until August 25: National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
- Until August 29: Notice of Request To Revise an Approved Information Collection: Accreditation of Laboratories, Transactions and Exemptions
- Until September 11: Notice of Request for a New Information Collection: Qualitative Research on Food Safety Behaviors Among Parents and Caregivers Who Prepare Meals for Minors or Older Adults. In Depth Interview Research
FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available on the FSIS Policy webpage. The following policy update was recently issued:
FSIS Notice 39-23 - Administrative Leave to Participate in Feds Feed Families Warehouse and Field Gleaning Activities
FSIS Directive 6500.1 - New Poultry Inspection System: Post-Mortem Inspection and Verification of Ready-To-Cook Requirement - Revision 1
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- Hong Kong
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.