Constituent Update - September 22, 2023
FSIS and ARS Launch Exploratory Sampling Program for Antibiotic Residues
FSIS, in partnership with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is starting a new exploratory sampling program to assess whether antibiotics residues are detected in cattle intended for the “raised without antibiotics (RWA)” market.
As announced in a June 14, 2023 USDA press release, this sampling program is part of the USDA’s multi-step effort aimed at strengthening the substantiation of animal-raising claims. This effort builds on the significant work USDA has already undertaken to protect consumers from false and misleading labels and to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American economy.
Sampling instructions for the program were issued in FSIS Notice 48-23. Establishment eligibility for sampling was determined based on information collected by an establishment profile questionnaire through FSIS Notice 36-23, Questionnaire for Raised without Antibiotics Special Labeling Claims on Beef. Eligible establishments are those that slaughter cattle and are producing products that bear RWA claims such as “No Antibiotics,” “No Antibiotics Ever,” “Raised Without Antibiotics,” “Antibiotic Free,” “No Antibiotics Administered,” or related claims.
FSIS will collect liver and kidney samples from eligible cattle, and ARS will analyze the samples using a method that targets more than 180 veterinary drugs from various major classes of antibiotics. If antibiotic residues are detected, FSIS will issue a letter to the establishment concerning the sample results and will advise the establishment to conduct a root cause analysis and take actions to prevent misbranded product in commerce. If an establishment does not receive a letter, their test results are negative and consistent with the labeling claim.
The results of this sampling will help inform whether FSIS should require that laboratory testing results be submitted for the “raised without antibiotics” claim or whether the agency should start a new verification sampling program.
New Study on Consumer Kitchen Behavior Underscores Need for Food Safety Education Month
The study observed participants’ thermometer use for ground pork sausage, handwashing practices, cleaning and sanitizing practices, and adherence to U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations for preparing shell eggs and washing produce.
In the study, half of the participants used a food thermometer to check the doneness of the sausage patties but, of those who used a thermometer, 92% failed to insert it in the proper location of the patties. Only 44% of participants attempted to wash their hands before meal preparation and 83% didn’t bother during meal preparation.
FSIS is recognizing Food Safety Education Month by continuing outreach efforts to consumers about food safety at home and on the go.
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 48-23 - Beef Raised Without Antibiotics Exploratory Sampling Program
FSIS Directive 7010.1 - Cross Agency Programs Between FSIS and the Agricultural Marketing Service - Revision 2
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- Dominican Republic
- Turks & Caicos Islands
- Hong Kong
- European Union
- St. Lucia
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Solomon Islands
- New Zealand
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.