Constituent Update - July 9, 2021
USDA Announces Funding to Expand Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity
Today, USDA announced it intends to make significant investments to expand processing capacity as a key step to increase competition in meat and poultry processing. Specifically, the Department intends to invest $500 million in expanding meat and poultry processing capacity as part of its efforts to build a more resilient supply chain and better food system. USDA also announced more than $150 million for existing small and very small establishments, including $100 million to reduce the financial burden of overtime inspection fees. This will allow these establishments to weather the effects of the pandemic, thereby enabling them to stay in the market and reach more customers. The full announcement is available at: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2021/07/09/usda-announces-500-million-expanded-meat-poultry-processing.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, enacted on March 11, 2021, provided USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) with the $100 million to reduce the amount of overtime and holiday inspection costs borne by official small and very small meat (including Siluriformes fish), poultry, or egg products establishments.
The fee reductions will be retroactive back to October 11, 2020, provided establishments submit the required form before the deadline of March 14, 2022. Establishments are encouraged to submit the form within 30 days of publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the fee reductions. The Federal Register notice and form are available at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/policy/federal-register-rulemaking/federal-register-notices/overtime-and-holiday-inspection-fee.
Small and very small plants are critical to the nation’s food supply and USDA is working to strengthen and build fairer markets for these producers through critical infrastructure and business investments. To complement these efforts, FSIS continues to enhance outreach to assist small and very small establishments comply with food safety requirements. As directed by the 2018 Farm Bill, FSIS contracted with a land grant university to complete a report on the effectiveness of existing outreach, guidance, tools, and responsiveness to small and very small establishments. The report provided valuable recommendations FSIS will use as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen technical assistance and tools to ensure these establishments are successful. The report is available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/publications/2020-report-guidance-and-outreach-small-and-very-small-meat-processors.
FSIS Announces Revised Guidelines for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in Raw Poultry
FSIS is announcing the availability of revised guidelines to assist poultry establishments in controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw poultry. The Agency has revised the content of the guidelines in light of new scientific and technical information, public comments received on the 2015 guideline, and the Agency’s decision to issue two separate guidelines – one on controlling Salmonella and the other on controlling Campylobacter. The revised guidelines will assist FSIS in achieving its public health goal of reducing foodborne illnesses and further protecting the food supply by providing “best practice” recommendations for poultry establishments.
FSIS has updated the guideline contents to reflect the most recent best practices, supported by current peer-reviewed literature and analyses of FSIS data. Updates include information on using neutralizing agents in sampling to prevent carryover of antimicrobial substances and a current list of antimicrobials for establishment use. Also included are improvements in the information on pre-harvest practices, with a comprehensive revision of the litter/bedding section.
The updated guidelines can be found at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/policy/federal-register-rulemaking/federal-register-notices/availability-revised-compliance
FSIS to Post Updated Dataset on Import Refusals
On July 15, 2021, FSIS will update the publicly posted dataset on import refusals for products that they regulate. Federal law requires every commercial shipment of imported meat, poultry, and egg products to be re-inspected prior to product entering U.S. commerce. FSIS re-inspects each shipment to verify labeling, proper certification, general condition, and to identify any signs of tampering or 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.
Graduate Student Food Safety Fellowship
USDA’s Office of Food Safety (OFS) is pleased to announce that we are continuing our Food Safety Fellowship program in partnership with The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). This fellowship is a scientific research opportunity which will assist FSIS in its goal of building strong relationships with academia. FSIS is committed to data-driven and science-based approaches to all aspects of our public health mission. This opportunity will provide students with an understanding of the type of research that supports FSIS decision making to ensure the safety of the food supply.
Applicants are encouraged to submit research proposals that detail an area of research aligned with our Food Safety Research Priorities or identify an existing gap within our data or research, and how the student would conduct their research to address the gap. Once selected, the fellow will work with the guidance of a university mentor to develop a project supportive of FSIS priorities.
This is a one-year, part-time, paid Fellowship position. The appointment will be served at the selected participant's location. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. college, university, or technical institute, working towards a graduate degree in food science, veterinary medicine, animal science, or a similar program.
The Application is open through 3:00 p.m. EDT August 27, 2021. Click the following link for more information and to apply: https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-FSIS-2021-0182
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
Complete information can be found at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/inspection/import-export/import-export-library.
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 26-21 - FSIS Security Paper, Seven-Digit Export Stamp, and Enhanced Digital Signature for Use with the Export Module of the Public Health Information System - Phase Four