Constituent Update - June 17, 2021
FSIS is issuing the Constituent Update early as a result of the observance of the Juneteenth Federal holiday
2021 Juneteenth Holiday
June 19th is now an official federal holiday. Since the holiday falls on a Saturday this year, Friday, June 18th, 2021 has been deemed the in-lieu of Federal Holiday. FSIS will not bill industry for the Juneteenth Holiday this year.
USDA Publishes Federal Register Notice for Public Input on Racial Justice and Equity
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today published a Federal Register Notice requesting public input on its efforts to advance racial justice and equity across the Department. The Notice represents an important step towards implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (EO). The EO, signed January 20, 2021, notes, “By advancing equity across the Federal Government, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.”
The information gained through this Notice and public listening sessions will aid in identifying barriers that people of color, underserved communities, and others may face in obtaining information on USDA programs and services, engaging with USDA staff, and accessing, enrolling, and participating in programs and services including USDA grant, loan, and other financial assistance programs.
USDA will use this information to identify opportunities to address systemic inequities and determine ways to best engage external stakeholders and community members to increase participation in USDA programs, services, committees, and decision-making processes. Lastly, USDA will provide this information to the impending Racial Equity Commission it seeks to launch later this year.
The Notice will be available for public input until July 15, 2021, and is available online through the Federal Register.
Comment Submission on National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Petition on “Product of the USA” Labels
On June 10, 2021, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association petitioned FSIS to eliminate the use of “Product of the USA” and other broad U.S. origin labeling claims for beef products. In lieu of the “Product of the USA” label, the petition requests that FSIS initiate rulemaking to provide for generic approval of the labeling claim, “Processed in the USA" if the label complies with all other mandatory labeling requirements and is not false or misleading. Under the petition, all other claims related to U.S. origin, production, or processing of product would be not eligible for generic approval, and labels bearing these claims would only be approved if supported by adequate documentation. The requested labeling requirements would not apply to products authorized for export by FSIS. The petition is available on FSIS’ website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/policy/petitions/petition-submitted-national-cattlemens-beef-association.
FSIS’ regulations permit interested persons to submit comments on petitions filed with the Agency and provide for posting these comments on the FSIS webpage (9 CFR 392.7). Based on prior stakeholder input on issues related to “Product of the USA” labeling, FSIS anticipates that it will receive a significant number of comments on this petition. Therefore, to facilitate submission and public posting of comments, interested persons may submit comments online via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at Regulations.gov; by mail including CD-ROMs sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or by hand or courier-delivery to 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 350-E, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and identification number FSIS-2021- 0019. Comments on this petition will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to: Regulations.gov. Comments on the petition should be submitted by August 17, 2021.
New HACCP Models Now Available
As stated in the October 2, 2020 Constituent Update, FSIS has updated its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) guide and multiple generic HACCP models. The agency has also developed a new Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) guide. The guides and the models are intended to assist establishments in meeting regulatory requirements to produce safe and wholesome products. Additional models will be posted as they are revised.
The updated guides and models reflect changes in FSIS policy and lessons learned about implementing HACCP since its inception. The materials include updated scientific references and footnotes containing explanatory guidance and links to related sources of information. Consistent with the previous models, each model includes a product description, ingredients list, production flow diagram, hazard analysis and HACCP plan.
The revised Guideline for the Preparation of HACCP Plans leads an establishment through the process of developing a HACCP plan according to seven principles and provides links to additional reference materials. Templates are provided in the guide so the establishment can capture the product-specific information as demonstrated in the guide.
Additional models will be posted as they are revised. The following models were recently added:
- HACCP Model for Ready-to-Eat, Heat-Treated, Shelf-Stable (Beef Jerky)
- HACCP Model for Raw Ground Beef (Raw Non-Intact)
- HACCP Model for Bacon (Heat-Treated, Not Fully Cooked)
- HACCP Model for the New Swine Inspection System (pork slaughter)
FSIS to Post Individual Category Status and Aggregate Results for Poultry Carcasses, Chicken Parts, and Comminuted Poultry Tested for Salmonella
On June 21, 2021, 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. Additionally, FSIS will post the aggregate sampling results showing the number of establishments in categories 1, 2, or 3 for establishments producing young chicken or turkey carcasses, raw chicken parts, or not ready-to-eat (NRTE) comminuted poultry products at the location linked above.
FSIS to Host Virtual Open House at Midwestern and Western Laboratories
FSIS plans to host a joint virtual open house at the Midwestern and Western Laboratories on August 2, 2021, from 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET. Topics have been specifically chosen based on recent feedback and frequent questions received by the FSIS laboratories.
Participants will learn:
- What happens to a sample from its delivery at an FSIS laboratory to reporting the sample results
- How FSIS Laboratories recently modernized Campylobacter screening tests to build efficiency into the method
- How FSIS Laboratories shortened the time-to-confirmation of bacterial pathogens using a MALDI-TOF proteomics approach
Participants must pre-register. The registration link for the open house will be announced in a future Constituent Update.
Tips for Faster Label Approval Process
Labels are currently taking about 5-7 business days to evaluate.
TIP: Establishments submitting meat or poultry labels to FSIS for approval must ensure that mandatory label features displayed on the information panel are placed such that they are contiguous to one another in order to avoid unnecessary application returns or modifications.
The information panel is typically the part of the label immediately to the right of the principal display panel (PDP) (9 CFR 317.2(m), 381.116(c)). The information panel also can be the back panel or, for some boxes, any panel contiguous to the PDP. All mandatory labeling features required to appear on the label of a package must appear either on the PDP or the information panel unless otherwise specified by regulation. For example, certain mandatory labeling features may be placed on the information panel including: the ingredients statement, name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, and nutrition labeling, if required. The safe handling instructions may be placed anywhere on the label.
As with the PDP, mandatory labeling features appearing on the information panel must be clearly visible and prominent (9 CFR 317.2(b), 381.116(a)). Certain exemptions from placement of a mandatory feature (e.g., nutrition facts) on the information panel are permitted by regulation where the label is below a certain size due to the overall size of the food product’s package (9 CFR 317.2(m)(2)(i), 381.116(c)(2)(ii)). All mandatory labeling features appearing on the information panel must appear in one place without intervening material such as graphics or non-mandatory information. (9 CFR 317.2(m)(2)(ii), 381.116(c)(2)(ii)).
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.
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- European Union
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 updates were recently issued:
FSIS Notice 23-21 - Cancellation of FSIS Directives
FSIS Notice 24-21 - FSIS Government Owned and Leased Vehicles