Constituent Update - March 10, 2023
USDA Proposes New Requirements for the Voluntary “Product of USA” Labeling Claim
Agency seeks comments on proposed rule
On March 6, FSIS released a proposed rule with new regulatory requirements to better align the voluntary “Product of USA” claim with consumers’ understanding of what the claim means. The proposed rule allows the voluntary “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” claim to be used only on FSIS-regulated products that are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States.
In July 2021, USDA initiated a comprehensive review to understand what the “Product of USA” claim means to consumers and inform planned rulemaking to define the requirements for making such a claim. As part of its review, USDA commissioned a nationwide consumer survey. The survey revealed that the current “Product of USA” labeling claim is misleading to a majority of consumers surveyed, with a significant portion believing the claim means that product was made from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.
USDA’s comprehensive review shows there is a clear need to revise the current “Product of USA” label claim so that it more accurately conveys U.S. origin information.
Under the proposed rule, the “Product of USA” claim would continue to be voluntary. It would also remain eligible for generic label approval, meaning it would not need to be pre-approved by FSIS before it could be used on regulated product, but would require supporting documentation on file for agency inspection personnel to verify. FSIS is also proposing to allow for other qualified voluntary U.S. origin claims.
The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, March 13, 2023, and open for public comments until May 12, 2023. Public comments can be submitted at Regulations.gov.
Reminder: USDA Seeks Nominations for Membership on Food Safety Advisory Committee
As announced in the February 3, 2023, Constituent Update, USDA is soliciting nominations for membership to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).
There are 15 vacancies on the advisory committee. USDA is seeking nominees with scientific expertise in the fields of microbiology, risk assessment, epidemiology, public health, food science, and other relevant disciplines. More information and instructions on how to submit nomination packages are detailed in the Federal Register notice. The current submission deadline is March 15, 2023; however, USDA plans to extend the deadline. More details will be announced in the Federal Register and in next week’s Constituent Update.
NACMCF has made important contributions to a broad range of critical food safety issues. Committee reports provide current information and scientific advice to federal food safety agencies and serve as a foundation for regulations and programs aimed at reducing foodborne disease and enhancing public health. The committee is currently addressing Cronobacter spp. in powdered infant formula for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and anticipates an FSIS charge related to the benefits of genomic characterization of pathogens. Federal food safety agencies involved with NACMCF include FSIS, FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Commerce National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Department of Defense Veterinary Services.
FSIS to Post Updated Datasets on Import Refusals
On March 15, 2023, FSIS will update the publicly posted dataset on import refusals for products that the agency regulates. Federal law requires every commercial shipment of imported meat, poultry, and egg products to be reinspected prior to product entering U.S. commerce. FSIS reinspects each shipment to verify labeling, proper certification, general condition, and any signs of tampering and to identify 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 country of origin, converted to animal food, or brought into compliance with FSIS requirements, if applicable (e.g., relabeled, remarked, or issued a replacement certificate).
The current Import Refusals dataset is updated around the 15th of each month and the archived Import Refusals dataset is updated around the 15th of the first month of each quarter. The datasets contain 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.
- Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 1-2:15 p.m. ET: FSIS Expansion of Generic Label Approval (encore 4)
Available for Public Comment
FSIS seeks public comments on proposed rules and notices, which are viewable on the FSIS Federal Register & Rulemaking webpage. FSIS is currently seeking comments on the following:
- Until May 1: Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Advanced Meat Recovery
- Until May 1: Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Voluntary Destruction of Imported Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products
- Until May 1: Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Nutrition Labeling of Major Cuts of Single-Ingredient Raw Meat or Poultry Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products
- Until May 1: Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Sanitation SOPs and Pathogen Reduction/HACCP
- Until May 8: Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Procedures for the Notification of New Technology and Requests for Waivers
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- French Polynesia (Tahiti)
- European Union
- North Macedonia
- Sint Maarten
- St. Eustatius
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Dominican Republic
- Congo, Republic of (Brazzaville)
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Lucia
- United Arab Emirates
- Solomon Islands
- Western Samoa (Samoa)
- Hong Kong
- Turks & Caicos Islands
- New Zealand
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.