Constituent Update - March 29, 2019
FSIS Retail Lm Pilot Project Update
On January 25, 2016, FSIS launched a multi-year nationwide pilot project to assess whether retail delicatessens are using the recommendations in the FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens. Since January 2016, FSIS has assessed a total of 4,580 retail delis (approximately 1,700 to 1,800 per year) to determine the adoption rate of the recommendations. FSIS continues to track progress for this pilot project in its Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Plan and the FSIS Strategic Plan, FY 2017-2021.
As of the first quarter (Q1) of fiscal year (FY) 2019, FSIS met its target with retail delis assessed following 92% of the recommendations. From FY 2016 to FY 2019, the percentage of recommendations followed by those retail delis assessed trended upward. Currently, the delis assessed follow 98% of the facility and equipment controls, 97% of employee practices, 90% of product handling, and 83% if the cleaning and sanitizing recommendations that were provided by FSIS.
Under its strategic and annual plans, FSIS is also tracking whether the retail delis assessed are following all of the top eight recommendations identified in the guidance. As of Q1 of FY 2019, FSIS has exceeded its target with 72% of the retail delis assessed following the eight recommendations. The top eight recommendations can be found on pages 1-2 of the FSIS Directive 10.310.1- Pilot Project: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens.
Retailers can ask FSIS questions regarding the Lm pilot project by submitting their questions through askFSIS or by telephone at 1-800-233-3935. When submitting a question through askFSIS, either sign in or create an askFSIS account, then enter “Retail Lm” in the subject field, select “General Inspection Policy” for the product, “Sampling” for the category, and “Domestic (U.S.) Only” for the policy arena.
Export Requirements Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:
Complete information can be found at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.
FSIS Seeking Input to Expand Accredited Lab Program
FSIS administers the Accredited Laboratory Program (ALP) to provide accreditation to commercial analytical laboratories involved in food testing. Food product testing is an important tool for enhancing and documenting food safety and preventing foodborne illnesses. Current accreditation offerings are for food chemistry components and a limited number of chemical residues in meat and poultry products. Results of testing can be used as part of on-going verification of an establishment’s Hazard Analysis Control Point (HACCP) plan and to support decisions in the establishment’s hazard analysis, including sanitation programs.
FSIS is seeking input from interested parties, particularly FSIS regulated establishments and commercial laboratories, on what should be included in an expanded ALP. FSIS is also requesting feedback on logistics related to receiving and managing data associated with allowing pathogen and process control testing results from establishments to be included in FSIS databases from laboratories that meet the ALP accreditation requirements.
The agency sees opportunities to modernize the ALP and provide greater assistance to the regulated industry by expanding the ALP to include more analytes and to commercial laboratories that can perform accurate and reliable testing that regulated industry can depend on to make supportable decisions for the safety and suitability of their products. FSIS intends to perform rulemaking to propose expanding the scope of the ALP and provide greater flexibility in the analyte accreditation offerings since current regulatory language limits the analytes the ALP can offer for accreditation.
A Request for Information (RFI) has been posted so that interested parties can provide feedback on an expanded Accredited Laboratory Program, through this link: https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USDA/FSIS/AAS/032219/listing.html. The listing closes on May 8, 2019. For more information about the ALP, as well as a listing of laboratories currently in the program, please see https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/science/laboratories-and-procedures/accredited-laboratories/accredited-laboratories