Constituent Update - December 10, 2021
USDA Launches Loan Guarantee Program
Through the American Rescue Plan Act, USDA is unlocking approximately $1 billion in loan guarantees to back private investment in meat and poultry processing that will create more market opportunities, promote competition, and strengthen america’s food supply chain infrastructure. The program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address food system challenges dating back decades and further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These investments will help essential processing and supply chain infrastructure that will eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain and ultimately deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for farmers.
The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program will guarantee loans of up to $40 million to help eligible entities expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. Lenders may provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies, and people in rural and urban areas.
USDA Rural Development (RD) will administer the loans. Funding may be used to:
- Start-up or expand food supply chain activities such as aggregating, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling or distributing food.
- Address supply chain bottlenecks.
- Increase capacity and help create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain.
RD encourages applications for projects that advance the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, promote equitable access to USDA programs and services, and reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities.
USDA is accepting electronic applications from lenders through the Food Supply Chain Online Application System until funds are expended. Paper applications will not be accepted. To access the online application system, lenders must submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit the RD website, view the Federal Register notice, and read the Department press release.
Export Library Update for the European Union
On December 9, 2021, FSIS posted a revision of the Export Library for the European Union (EU) that updates the FSIS Letterhead Certificates issued for commercial shipments of beef, pork, poultry, and egg products exported for entry into the EU. Exporters are to begin using these new certificates, effective immediately. During the transition to the new certificates, the EU will be accepting previous versions of export certificates until March 15, 2022, as long as they have been certified by a FSIS veterinarian prior to January 15, 2022. Any export certificates to the EU for commercial beef, pork, poultry, and egg products certified after January 15, 2022 must be on the updated version. By March 15, 2022, all export certificates to the EU must be on the updated version.
Exporters need to be aware there have been changes to the EU Export Verification Programs, as well as a new requirement to provide an annual flock certificate for egg products produced for export to the EU. These changes reflect the new animal health requirements related to farm registration, retention of records for 3 years, and regular on-farm veterinary visits.
For additional information related to changes to the EU Export Verification (EV) Programs, visit the Agricultural Marketing Service website:
- Non-hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) Program: QAD 1013 Procedure.
- Pork for Export to the European Union (PFEU) Program:QAD Procedure 1014.
- Poultry Export Verification (PEV) Program: QAD Procedure 1063
Please direct questions to email@example.com or (202) 720-0082.
FSIS Retail Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) Pilot Project Update
In January 2016, FSIS launched a multi-year nationwide pilot project to assess whether retail delicatessens are using the recommendations in the Retail Lm Guidance. FSIS tracked progress for this pilot project in the fiscal year (FY) 2021 FSIS Annual Plan and the FY 2017-2021 FSIS Strategic Plan.
As of September 30, 2021, FSIS discontinued its retail Lm surveillance because data analysis has shown that retailers have consistently followed a high percentage of the recommendations. Moving forward, FSIS will continue steps to educate the industry on its Retail Lm Guidance and associated best practices. FSIS intends to broaden its reach by partnering with retail trade associations and state regulatory authorities to assist in the distribution of educational materials for this initiative.
Since the pilot project was launched, FSIS investigators completed a total of 7,114 questionnaires in retail delis to determine the adoption rate of the recommendations. In the fourth quarter of FY 2021, FSIS reviewed 155 questionnaires completed by investigators in retail delis. The agency exceeded its target with the retailers following 93% of the 33 recommendations over the previous 12 months (target 92%).
Additionally, under its strategic and annual plans, FSIS is tracking whether the retail delis assessed are following the top eight recommendations from the FSIS Retail Lm Guidance, which are listed on pages 1-2 of the FSIS Directive 10.310.1- Pilot Project: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens.
In the fourth quarter of FY 2021, FSIS reviewed 151 questionnaires conducted by investigators in which all eight recommendations could be assessed. The agency exceeded its annual target with 75% retailers following all eight of the most important guidelines (target 64%). These results are similar to those of last fiscal year and quarter, with FSIS meeting or exceeding its targets for both measures.
FSIS to Post Updated Dataset on Import Refusals
On December 15, 2021, FSIS will update the publicly posted dataset on import refusals for products that the agency regulates. Federal law requires every commercial shipment of imported meat, poultry, and egg products to be reinspected prior to product entering U.S. commerce. FSIS reinspects each shipment to verify labeling, proper certification, general condition, and any signs of tampering and to identify product adulterated by transportation damage. FSIS also performs additional activities on a random and/or for-cause basis, such as physical product examination and laboratory sampling for pathogens and chemical residues.
Any product that does not meet FSIS requirements is refused entry, and the importer has up to 45 days (30 days for egg products) to have the product destroyed for use as human food, re-exported/returned to the foreign country, converted to animal food, or brought into compliance with FSIS requirements, if applicable (e.g., relabeled, remarked, or issued a replacement certificate).
This dataset is updated around the 15th of each month and contains each shipment with product that was refused entry. To access these datasets or view more information about them, please visit the Import and Export Data page.
Reminder: FSIS to Host Field Service Laboratory Virtual Open House
FSIS will host a virtual field service laboratory open house on December 13, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. The open house will present laboratory basics and include specific topics based on recent feedback and frequent questions received by the FSIS laboratories.
The event topics will include:
- An overview of the laboratory system, quality assurance, and accreditation
- FSIS’ FY 2022 sampling plan and how FSIS collects, records, and reports out laboratory data and results
- The process for field inspection staff scheduling sample collection tasks in PHIS for laboratory analysis and how FSIS receives and logs those samples into our laboratory database
- Microbiology methods for Salmonella and canned goods
- An overview of the material transfer agreement process to obtain FSIS isolates in support of food safety research
- Chemistry methods for aminoglycosides and metals
The topics will be presented through a combination of live demonstrations and presentations. Interested participants must pre-register by following this link. Participants will then receive an e-mail with the link to the event.
FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available on the FSIS Policy webpage. The following policy updates were recently issued:
FSIS Notice 58-21 - Beginning of Fiscal Year 2022 Performance Management Instructions
FSIS Directive 4400.1 - The FSIS Employee Survivor Assistance Program Guide
FSIS Directive 4420.1 - Group Retention Incentive for In-plant Veterinary Medical Officers
FSIS Directive 6600.2 - Inspection Procedures Related to Feral Swine and Reactor Pigs
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- European Union