Constituent Update - November 4, 2022
NACMCF Document Now Available for Public Comment
As announced in the October 21, 2022, Constituent Update, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) will hold a virtual public meeting on November 15, 2022. During the meeting, the committee will discuss and vote on adopting the report, “Enhancing Salmonella Control in Poultry Products,” which is now available to view on the FSIS website.
The report provides detailed responses with nine recommendations addressing the risk management questions posed to the committee by FSIS. Interested persons may submit written comments on the document on or before the day of the public meeting. Instructions on how to comment are available in the Federal Register notice.
At the virtual public meeting, an update on the Cyclospora cayetanensis charge will also be provided and the Food and Drug Administration will issue an additional work charge on Cronobacter spp. in powdered infant formula to the Committee.
Attendees must pre-register to receive a unique attendee ID, meeting links, dial-in numbers, and access codes. During pre-registration, attendees may also express interest in delivering comments during the meeting, limited to three minutes per speaker. Attendees who express interest in delivering comments during the meeting must register by November 8, 2022. FSIS will do its best to accommodate all registered persons who request to provide oral comments. Attendees who do not plan to speak at the public meeting may register at any time up to the day of the meeting.
Reminder: FSIS Extended Comment Period on Proposed Salmonella Framework
As announced in the October 28, 2022, Constituent Update, FSIS extended the written comment period on the proposed Salmonella framework to December 16, 2022. Written comments should be submitted through Regulations.gov. Visit the FSIS website to view the Federal Register notice and details on how to comment.
IFSAC Releases Annual Report on Sources of Foodborne Illness
The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration’s (IFSAC) newest annual report, “Foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2020 for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, and Listeria monocytogenes using multi-year outbreak surveillance data, United States,” is now available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
IFSAC is a collaboration between the FSIS, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The group was established in 2011 to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use.
IFSAC analyzes foodborne illness outbreak data for priority pathogens and specific foods and food categories that are responsible for foodborne illnesses in the United States. The data are analyzed by calendar year and released in an annual report as part of ongoing efforts to understand sources of foodborne illness in the United States. The CDC estimates that, together, these priority pathogens — Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter, and Listeria monocytogenes — cause nearly 2 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year.
Unlike prior IFSAC Annual Reports, attribution estimates for Campylobacter are not presented in this year’s report. Evidence suggests the sources of Campylobacter outbreaks likely differ considerably from the sources of non-outbreak-associated illnesses caused by this pathogen. IFSAC is exploring alternative approaches for estimating the sources of Campylobacter illnesses.
The updated estimates, combined with other data, can help shape agency priorities and inform the creation of targeted interventions to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by these pathogens. These estimates also inform stakeholders and improve our ability to assess whether prevention measures are working.
USDA Announces Grants to Increase Competition and Expand Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity
On November 2, 2022, USDA announced it is investing $73 million in 21 grant projects through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). Additional announcements are expected in the coming weeks. View the USDA press release for more information.
MPPEP was designed to fund capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. USDA will begin taking applications for a new phase to deploy an additional $225 million, for a total of up to $375 million, to provide gap financing for independent processing plant projects that fill a demonstrated need for more diversified processing capacity.
The announcement is one of many actions USDA is taking to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive, and resilient, and builds upon efforts to transform the Nation’s food system. Additional information on these programs is available at www.usda.gov/meat.
FSIS Updates Outbreak Investigation Table
FSIS has implemented revisions to its outbreak investigation table with the goal to make it a more constructive tool for public information. The table will now include the month in which an outbreak investigation began and will list outbreaks by unique reference numbers. FSIS will also better-define technical terms and share additional information about investigations that may be helpful to the public.
FSIS investigates outbreaks of foodborne illness in collaboration with public health partners, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as state and local health and agriculture departments. In November 2020, FSIS began publishing information on active outbreak investigations on the FSIS website to improve transparency about the work that FSIS does to investigate and respond to foodborne outbreaks.
FSIS Shares Cyber Security Resources
FSIS posted on its website two new resources for industry to protect their digital infrastructure from cyber threats, including email “phishing” and ransomware attacks. These documents provide steps that businesses and individuals can take to avoid or respond to an attack.
Phishing is a form of social engineering that uses email or malicious websites to solicit personal information or tricks you into downloading malicious software by posing as a trustworthy entity. Ransomware is a type of malicious attack where hackers encrypt an organization’s data and demand payment to restore access.
FSIS conducts vulnerability assessments to ensure measures are in place to prevent an intentional attack on its regulated products. Cyber security has been identified as an ongoing vulnerability for the food and agriculture sector. These resources were developed using existing information from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. More information is available on the Food Defense Tools, Resources and Training page on the FSIS website.
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 Directive 10240.5 - Verification Procedures for Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officers for the Listeria Monocytogenes Regulation and Routine Risk-Based Listeria Monocytogenes Sampling Program - Revision 4
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- French Polynesia (Tahiti)
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.