Constituent Update - December 18, 2020
Release of 2018 Annual Report on the Sources of Foodborne Illness by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration
In an ongoing effort to understand sources of foodborne illness in the United States, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) collects and analyzes foodborne-illness outbreak data for four pathogens - Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter – and specific foods and food categories that are responsible for foodborne illnesses in the United States. The data are analyzed by calendar year and released in an annual report. The CDC estimates that, together, these four pathogens cause nearly two million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year.
IFSAC’s newest report, “Foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2018 for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter using multi-year outbreak surveillance data, United States” is now available.
The updated estimates, combined with other data, may help shape agency priorities and inform the creation of targeted interventions that may help reduce foodborne illnesses caused by these pathogens. As more data become available and methods evolve, attribution estimates may improve. These estimates are intended to inform and engage stakeholders and to improve federal agencies’ abilities to assess whether prevention measures are working.
The methods used in this and prior annual reports are detailed in a peer reviewed article in the January 2021 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
IFSAC is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS). The group was established in 2011 to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use. For more information on IFSAC projects, visit cdc.gov/foodsafety/ifsac or email IFSAC@fda.hhs.gov.
FSIS Posts FY 2021 Annual Plan
FSIS has posted to the agency’s website its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Annual Plan, the final annual plan aligned with FSIS’ 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The annual plan details the ways the agency will achieve its strategic goals over the next fiscal year.
This Annual Plan builds upon the last four years of accomplishments under the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021. Fiscal Year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but FSIS personnel in the field, laboratories, human resources in Minneapolis, policy development in Omaha, financial services in Urbandale, and headquarters have continued to advance our strategic goals while ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.
The FY 2021 Annual Plan is available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/99c0c9e3-9916-497e-84eb-ebaf54cc22fc/annual-plan-fy2021.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
FSIS Guideline to Assist with the Donation of Eligible Meat & Poultry Products to Non-Profit Organizations
FSIS has posted a Guideline to Assist with the Donation of Eligible Meat & Poultry Products to Non-Profit Organizations. This guideline is intended to provide information to meat and poultry establishments that are interested in donating products to non-profit organizations. FSIS has received several questions from meat and poultry establishments and non-profit organizations on this subject and has decided to address questions about which products are eligible for donation and how donated products must be labeled. This guideline is intended to provide information that will help reduce food loss and waste and help battle food insecurity. FSIS is announcing this guidance in the Federal Register.
Updated Guideline for Industry Response to Customer Complaints
FSIS has posted updated Guideline for Industry Response to Customer Complaints to its Guidelines webpage. FSIS originally published the guideline in March 2019. The purpose of this guideline is to inform industry of the procedures FSIS has identified as best practices for responding to customer complaints of adulterated and misbranded meat and poultry products. FSIS specifically developed this document to address foreign material customer complaints, but establishments can apply the information to other customer complaints of adulterated or misbranded products in commerce. FSIS is announcing this guidance and responding to comments received on the March 2019 guideline in the Federal Register.
Study to Compare a Surface Sampling Method to the Current N60 Excision Method
FSIS will conduct an in-field study to determine the feasibility of replacing the N60 sampling technique with a non-destructive surface sampling cloth to collect verification samples from raw beef manufacturing trimmings. All establishments that typically receive sampling assignments for beef manufacturing trimmings will be included in the study. The N60 and cloth samples will be analyzed by the FSIS Field Service Laboratories and microbiological data compared.
During the in-field study, all N60 samples will be collected and analyzed for Salmonella, indicator organisms (aerobic plate count) and STEC. Establishments will be required to hold product until N60 test results are available, as usual. FSIS will also collect a sample from the same lot using the cloth, and measure this for Salmonella and indicator organisms. The cloth will not be tested for STEC because STEC is very rarely isolated from raw beef manufacturing trimmings and its detection would not add to the statistical power of this study. Furthermore, preliminary laboratory work with spiked samples showed that recovery of STEC was comparable between N60 and cloth sampling protocols.
The study is expected to run from January 4, 2021 for a minimum of 3 months and will inform the agency’s decision on whether to replace N60 with the cloth testing protocol.
FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations. The following policy updates were recently issued:
Docket No. FSIS-2020-0033 - 2021 Rate Changes for the Basetime, Overtime, Holiday, Laboratory Services, and Export Application Fees
Docket No. FSIS-2016-0026 - Changes to Accreditation of Non-Federal Analytical Testing Laboratories
Docket No. FSIS-2005-0015 - Egg Products Inspection Regulations
Docket No. FSIS-2020-0032 - Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations
FSIS Notice 67-20 - Retail Exempt and Custom Exempt Tasks in the Public Health Information System
FSIS Notice 68-20 - Federal Government Closure on Thursday, December 24, 2020
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:
Complete information can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
Note: FSIS will not be publishing a Constituent Update next week. The next Constituent Update is scheduled to publish on December 31.