Constituent Update - March 3, 2023
FSIS Extends Time-Limited Trials at NSIS Plants
In March 2021, a court order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota vacated the part of the USDA final rule eliminating line speed limits for New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) establishments. As a result, all NSIS establishments were required to operate at line speeds not exceeding 1,106 head per hour (hph). FSIS, in consultation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), developed a “time-limited trial” (TLT) that has enabled NSIS establishments to experiment with ergonomics, automation, and crewing to create custom work environments that will protect food and worker safety while maintaining productivity. In November 2021, NSIS establishments were invited to apply to participate in a trial, and six establishments were approved to run TLTs. During the trial, approved establishments have been allowed to operate at an increased line speed for a period of one-year. Throughout this period, data is being collected to measure the impact of increased line speeds on establishment workers.
FSIS has contracted with a team of worker safety experts to study the impact of increased line speeds on worker safety at poultry establishments. The agency was able to expand the contract to include swine establishments.
FSIS is announcing that it is extending the duration of the swine TLTs until November 30, 2023. This extension will allow the contractors to finalize their report on the swine data, enable the agency to assess the report’s findings and conclusions and to determine future actions.
FSIS and FDA Withdraw Proposed Rule on General Principles for Food Standards Modernization
On March 1, 2023, FSIS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew the 2005 proposed rule, “Food Standards; General Principles and Food Standards Modernization.” The proposed rule, jointly published with FDA, was intended, in part, to establish a set of general principles for FSIS and FDA to use when considering whether to establish, revise, or eliminate a food standard.
In public meetings the FDA held in July 2018 and September 2019, stakeholders mentioned changes in manufacturing, food technology, market trends and nutrition science since 2005. Feedback was that the FDA should solicit new data and information when determining next steps for the proposed rule. As a result, the FDA reopened the comment period in February 2020, for FDA-specific aspects of the proposed rule.
Many of the comments submitted in response to the reopening suggested that the general principles be revised and consolidated to make the principles easier to understand and implement. As a result, FSIS and FDA decided to withdraw the proposed rule to reconsider how best to approach general principles and food standards modernization to ensure any future revised general principles are consistent with the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
FSIS and FDA indicated that the agencies will work a new proposed rule on principles for food standards modernization in the Fall Unified Agenda.
- Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 1-2:15 p.m. ET: FSIS Expansion of Generic Label Approval (encore 3)
- 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
- Unti May 1: Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Sanitation SOPs and Pathogen Reduction/HACCP
FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available on the FSIS Policy webpage. The following policy update was recently issued:
FSIS Notice 11-23 - Mandatory Training for All Field Inspection Personnel Prior Label Approval Program: Expansion of Generic Label Approval
FSIS Directive 10010.1 - Sampling Verification Activities for Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli (STEC) in Raw Beef Products - Revision 5
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- North Macedonia
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
- Solomon Islands
- Western Samoa (Samoa)
- El Salvador
- New Caledonia
- Hong Kong
- United Arab Emirates
- French Polynesia (Tahiti)
- European Union
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.