Update to USDA Sample Seals for Submission to FSIS Laboratories
This notice informs all inspection program personnel (IPP) that the Agency is updating the USDA sample seal set used to ship samples to FSIS laboratories.
- USDA sample seals ensure that sample integrity and identity are maintained during shipping and handling.
- FSIS is updating the USDA sample seal set to address feedback from IPP and laboratory personnel detailing difficulties when applying sample seals.
III. UPDATED SAMPLE SEAL FEATURES
- Updated sample seal sets contain the USDA logo in the top-left corner, which distinguishes them from the old sets used by FSIS.
- A second “PEEL HERE” strip has been added to make it easier to remove the larger sample seal (FSIS Form 7355-2A).
- IPP are now provided four barcode seals on each set. FSIS removed one of the small barcode seals and increased the size of the remaining barcode seals to make them easier to remove.
- Pilot testing of the updated sample seal set also determined that the updated seals:
- Are easier to remove from paper backing;
- Do not tear as easily when applying to boxes;
- Are more durable;
- Do not stick to gloves; and
- Are less abrasive to sample boxes, thereby increasing box longevity.
Figure 1. The updated USDA sample seal set for shipment to FSIS laboratories.
- IPP are to continue following instructions in FSIS Directive 7355.1, Use of Sample Seals for Laboratory Samples and Other Applications, when securing samples for shipment to FSIS laboratories.
- IPP are to begin using the updated sample seal sets when FSIS laboratories make them available. IPP are to expect these new sets in sample supply boxes shipped starting December 01, 2021.
- FSIS laboratories are to continue providing the old sample seal sets with certain sampling supplies until the remaining supply is exhausted.
- FSIS laboratories are not to discard samples that are submitted using the old sample seal sets.
V. OBTAINING UPDATED SAMPLE SEALS
- FSIS laboratories provide sample seal sets automatically to IPP at the establishments as part of sampling supply shipments.
- When FSIS begins using the updated sample seal sets, there may be some overlap as the old supply is exhausted. IPP are to use the seal sets that are included in sampling supplies sent by the laboratory.
- If IPP do not receive sample seals in sample supply shipments, or need replacements for damaged or lost seals, they are to follow instructions in FSIS Directive 13,000.2, Performing Sampling Tasks in Official Establishments Using the Public Health Information System, to request seals.
IPP are to refer questions regarding this notice to their immediate supervisor or to the Office of Policy and Program Development through askFSIS or by telephone at 1-800-233-3935. When submitting a question, complete the web form and select Sampling for the inquiry type.
NOTE: Refer to FSIS Directive 5620.1, Using askFSIS, for additional information on submitting questions.
Office of Policy and Program Development