Constituent Update - February 25, 2022
USDA Commits $215 Million to Enhance the American Food Supply Chain
USDA is making available up to $215 million in grants and other support to expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. USDA’s Rural Development will make $150 million available in grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will provide another $40 million for workforce development and training, and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will provide $25 million to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and poultry processing.
These new opportunities are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to fight monopolization and promote competition across the economy. They are also aligned with USDA’s vision of a food system that supports health and ensures producers receive a fair share of the food dollar while advancing equity and combating the climate crisis.
Reminder: FSIS Seeks Proposals for Salmonella Risk Assessments
FSIS will be requesting proposals for a cooperative agreement to collaborate on two risk assessments – one for Salmonella in chicken and another for Salmonella in turkey. These risk assessments will provide scientific support for FSIS to develop a revised framework for controlling Salmonella in poultry. FSIS will evaluate both preharvest and postharvest intervention strategies and assess the impact of reducing Salmonella levels and the prevalence of subtypes of public health concern (e.g., Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Infantis) on the rate of Salmonella illnesses from chicken and turkey consumption.
FSIS is seeking proposals from a multi-disciplinary team to support these risk assessments. The team should include individuals who can make industry data available to FSIS in a confidential and secure manner, including data on Salmonella levels and subtypes in chicken and turkey, both pre- and post-harvest. The team should also have expertise in dose-response modeling that takes into consideration differences in Salmonella virulence among subtypes. Multi-disciplinary teams may be from multiple institutions and must designate a single principal investigator from a U.S. organization. We encourage collaborations that include minority serving institutions.
The cooperative agreement announcement will be posted on Grants.gov on March 1, 2022. Proposals must be submitted to FSIS by April 15, 2022.
FSIS Posts Presentations from Salmonella Roundtable
FSIS has made materials from the February 15, 2022, Salmonella in Poultry: Research and Science Roundtable available on its website. The agency convened research scientists to discuss the scientific support for various potential components of a revised strategy for Salmonella control in poultry. FSIS’ goal is to make changes that it believes will lead to a reduction in the number of Salmonella illnesses due to consumption of poultry.
The roundtable agenda, speaker biographies and bibliographies, presentation slides, and presentation recordings can be found on the FSIS website.
FSIS Posts FY 2021 Sampling Summary Report
FSIS has posted the FY 2021 Sampling Summary Report, which includes results from the domestic microbiological and chemical sampling programs for raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) beef, pork, Siluriformes, and poultry products, as well as RTE egg products. The report also includes results from import residue and microbiological testing programs, whole genome sequencing information, National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) sampling, and data from other sampling programs and special projects.
The report reflects the agency’s implementation of the FY 2021 Annual Sampling Plan and complements the annual FSIS Sampling Catalog, as part of the agency’s continuing effort to enhance transparency and provide stakeholders with reliable and timely information.
FSIS to Publish Methods for Isolating Bacteria from Animal Cecal Content
In support of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), FSIS will publish a new chapter in its Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) describing how FSIS laboratories isolate and identify bacteria in animal cecal content. Previously, these protocols were only available publicly upon request. The new chapter will be available on February 28, 2022. The release of the NARMS laboratory protocols improves transparency and enhances scientific availability.
As described in FSIS Directive 10,100.1, FSIS developed a sampling program in 2013 to collect and test food animal cecal contents for the presence of Salmonella, generic Escherichia coli (E. coli), Campylobacter, and Enterococcus species. In 2020, FSIS expanded the program to include testing Siluriformes for the presence of generic E. coli and Enterococcus species.
FSIS collects data from these sampling programs as part of the antimicrobial resistance surveillance performed with NARMS. NARMS is an interagency, collaborative partnership with state and local public health departments, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and USDA. This national public health surveillance system was established in 1996 to track trends in antimicrobial resistance among foodborne enteric bacteria from humans, retail meats, and food animals.
The new MLG 31 chapter will be available on the MLG website.
FSIS to Launch New Printing Procedures for Digitally Signed PHIS Export Certificates
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that, beginning on May 16, 2022, approved export certificates will be printed on plain paper rather than security paper for those countries and territories that receive digitally signed export certificates (FSIS Form 9060-5 series) generated in FSIS’ Public Health Information System (PHIS). FSIS has published a World Trade Organization (WTO) notification to inform countries of this change (G/SPS/N/USA/3311).
This plain paper printed export certificate will continue to facilitate lawful entry of the certified export shipment into the importing country when a paper certificate is required, and will include a watermark stating, “Approved Certificate – Available for Validation in PHIS.” The new watermark will appear on the digitally signed PDF in PHIS and paper versions printed from the PHIS 9060 grid, where approved certificates are viewable in PHIS. Beginning on May 16, 2022, industry users authorized to use PHIS will be able to print approved and digitally signed export certificates on plain paper from the PHIS 9060 grid.
The digitally signed Form 9060-5 series export certificate will continue to be retained in PHIS as a PDF document for secure viewing and authentication by an importing country’s government officials who have chosen to register for PHIS access through the Certificate Signature Viewer (CSV) role. More information about the CSV can be found in FSIS’ CSV User Guide, and FSIS encourages interested countries to pursue registration for the CSV role as indicated in the WTO notification (G/SPS/N/USA/3311).
An FSIS notice on these changes will be made available and posted to FSIS’ website prior to May 16, 2022.
Industry Testing in New PHIS Cloud Infrastructure
As previously announced in the February 11, 2022, Constituent Update, the Public Health Information System (PHIS) is moving to a new cloud infrastructure on March 27, 2022. To prepare for this transition, FSIS encourages industry stakeholders to test their PHIS connections and processes in this infrastructure.
The Industry Test Environment (ITE) will be available in the new infrastructure on February 28, 2022. Industry may access the new ITE here between February 28 and March 11, 2022. Any issues encountered during this testing period may be reported to: PHISTechnicalQA@usda.gov.
If you currently have an e-Authentication level 2 account in production and/or ITE, your account will remain active in both environments. If you do not have an e-Authentication level 2 account, the system will prompt you to complete that process before entering either environment.
Tips for Faster Label Approval Process
Labels are currently taking about 3-5 business days to evaluate.
TIP: When submitting a label for approval that bears text in a foreign language, including the English translation in the application will result in a faster label evaluation.
English translations are not required on final product labels unless one or more of the mandatory labeling features is in a foreign language. However, as part of the label approval process, FSIS must determine whether all the information on the label is truthful and not misleading, which means that the English translations must be included in label applications.
The translation may be included as a separate attachment in the application, or it may be included elsewhere within the application as long as it is easily accessible to the staff officer who is evaluating the label application. If the entire label includes both English and a foreign language translation, the submitter may simply stipulate in the application that all foreign language is a direct translation of English on the label. If a translation is not provided with the application, then the application will be returned, which will delay the evaluation time.
The addition of foreign language to labels is not considered a special statement or claim; therefore, the label does not require approval by FSIS unless other information on the label places it into one of the categories of labels described in 9 CFR 412.1 that requires FSIS evaluation.
For additional information about special statements or claims requiring FSIS approval, please see the FSIS Compliance Guideline for Label Approval.
FSIS will continue to provide updates regarding label turnaround time, as well as suggestions to assist industry to streamline label submissions in its Constituent Update.
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 08-22 - Closure of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer Financial Services Center Post Office Box
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- North Macedonia
- Costa Rica
- St. Lucia
- Dominican Republic
- European Union
- El Salvador
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom
- French Polynesia (Tahiti)
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.