Constituent Update - June 22, 2018
Comment Submission on the Organization for Competitive Markets Petition on “Product of USA” Labeling
On June 12, 2018, the Organization for Competitive Markets and the American Grassfed Association petitioned FSIS to change the “Product of U.S.A.” entry in the FSIS Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book. The second paragraph of the entry in the policy book states that labeling of meat or poultry products “may bear the phrase ‘Product of U.S.A.’ … [i]f the product is processed in the United States.”
The petition requests that FSIS change the second paragraph to state that “products may bear the phrase ‘Product of U.S.A.’ …[i]f it can be determined that significant ingredients having a bearing on consumer preference, such as meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, etc., are of domestic origin (minor ingredients, such as spices or flavorings, are not included). In this case the labels should be approved with the understanding that such ingredients are of domestic origin.”
The petition is available on FSIS’s website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-04/18-05-Amercan-Grassfed-Association-061818.pdf.
FSIS’s 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 communications with stakeholders, 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 http://www.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 3782, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or by hand or courier-delivery to 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the agency name and identification number FSIS-2018-0024.
Comments on this petition will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Comments on the petition should be submitted by August 17, 2017.
FSIS to Improve the Eligible Countries/Products Section of Website and Host a Webinar
On July 23, 2018, FSIS will release an updated Import Library, improving upon the current Eligible Countries/Products section of the website (https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-02/Countries_Products_Eligible_for_Export.pdf). FSIS is redesigning the webpage to be more user friendly and to enhance transparency. The new Import Library webpage will provide links to country-specific pages for equivalent countries that can export to the United States detailing the eligible species, process categories, product categories, and product groups the country can export. The information detailed on the country-specific pages aligns with the FSIS product categorization guide and the Public Health Information System (PHIS) (https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2020-08/Product-Categorization.pdf). Each eligible country page will also list any applicable Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) animal disease restrictions, and includes direct, disease-specific links to APHIS’ website and regulations. FSIS will indicate updates next to the country’s name on the Import Library webpage and on country-specific pages by adding a yellow highlighted asterisk.
On July 12, FSIS will host a webinar from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET on the Import Library and associated updates to clarify foreign countries’ eligibilities to export meat, poultry, or egg products to the U.S. To access the webinar, visit http://ems8.intellor.com/login/806446 and follow the on-screen instructions. Use the following information when logging on: meeting phone number: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633; access code: 0994080. Please be sure to log on as a participant. For questions, contact Brianna Robinson-Verloop at Brianna.Robinson-Verloop@usda.gov.
Coming Soon: Small and Very Small Plant Outreach Survey
FSIS is committed to improving customer service and developing and delivering outreach focused on enhancing the communication of technical, scientific, and regulatory compliance information. The agency developed a voluntary survey to be administered to small and very small establishments with an end goal of improving communications and outreach. These establishments will be asked about their needs and current practices as it pertains to receiving information, including regulatory compliance information and resources.
The survey will also allow the agency to gather data on humane handling and food defense directly from establishment owners in an effort to better support these activities at small and very small establishments. The survey results will be used to measure the effectiveness of FSIS’ current outreach efforts as well as to help improve FSIS’ communication and future guidance, tools, and resources.
A link to complete the survey will be sent to the email of record for small and very small livestock and poultry slaughter and/or processing establishments the week of June 25, 2018. We will mail a copy of the survey to those small and very small establishments for which we do not have email addresses. The email or mail survey will come from Yolanda Kennedy (Yolanda.Kennedy@usda.gov), Agency Survey Coordinator, in FSIS’ Office of the Chief Financial Officer in the Performance, Evaluation, and Planning Staff.
The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete and individual responses will be kept confidential. Your response is vital to helping FSIS improve outreach efforts to small and very small establishments so please take time to complete the survey.
Reminder: PHIS Export Component to Launch June 29
As previously announced, FSIS will begin implementing the Public Health Information System (PHIS) automated export component with a limited number of countries on June 29, 2018, and then gradually expand to additional countries. Countries in the first phase include: Afghanistan, Andorra, Bahamas, Bolivia, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, San Marino, Tanzania, and Uganda. Export applications entered through PHIS will be processed starting at 12:01 a.m. ET on June 29.
FSIS proxy services will be available to enter paper application via the contact information below for those who choose not to use the automated system. No paper applications will be approved for this group of 16 countries by the FSIS in-plant inspector. For those applicants not using PHIS, they are to submit a paper export application, FSIS Form 9060-6, to the FSIS Proxy by one of the following methods:
Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, FMD, Financial Services Center, P.O. Box 9205, Des Moines, IA 50306-9948.
FSIS would like to remind you that all parties doing business in PHIS are required to have electronic Authentication Level 2, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can register online and find the steps to complete this process here: https://www.eauth.usda.gov.
Information, including updated user guides for industry and additional videos on the application submittal process, are now available on the FSIS website at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/inspection/compliance-guidance/phis. Please continue to monitor the website and read Constituent Update for upcoming information. For questions concerning the PHIS export functionality, industry may submit those to PHISTechnicalQA@usda.gov.
Export Requirements Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:
- French Polynesia
- New Caledonia
- South Africa
- Western Samoa
For a complete list of countries, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/inspection/import-export.