dark overlay
nav button USDA Logo


Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Constituent Update - August 22, 2014

FSIS Compliance Guideline for Training Establishment Carcass Sorters in the New Poultry Inspection System

FSIS is announcing the availability of a compliance guideline to help poultry slaughter establishments train their employees to conduct the carcass and associated viscera sorting activities that are required under the New Poultry Inspection System http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/00ffa106-f373-437a-9cf3-6417f289bfc2/2011-0012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. The effective date of the final rule is October 20, 2014.

Under the new system, establishment personnel are required to sort carcasses and remove unacceptable carcasses and parts before the birds are presented to the FSIS online carcass inspector. 

FSIS is seeking comments on this compliance guide. Any interested persons may submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal website at http://www.regulations.gov or by mail to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700. More detailed instructions for submitting comments are provided in the Compliance guideline found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/8a08b1a2-37d5-458e-84d2-8e7412318284/compliance-guide-NPIS-0814.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

FSIS will update these guidelines in response to any comments received and as needed to reflect the most current information available to FSIS and stakeholders. The comment period will end 60 days from the Aug. 21, 2014, posting of the guideline.

Food Safety 101 Webinar

On Sept. 10, 2014, from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., FSIS will conduct a Food Safety 101: Back to Basics webinar to introduce the basics of food safety and educate participants on how pathogens such as Salmonella can affect them.

Webinar Learning Objectives:

• How to perform basis food safety tasks

• How to identify the risks associated with poor food safety

To attend this webinar, please complete the registration form at https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/333/5549.

For questions,  please contact FSES Public Affairs Specialist Amelia Kermis at Amelia.kermis@fsis.usda.

Export Requirement Updates

The Library of Export Requirements has been updated to reflect changes in export requirements for the following countries:

  • Belarus
  • Japan
  • New Caledonia
  • United Arab Emirates

Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products

Back-To-School Food Safety Tips for Parents

Children are at high risk of contracting foodborne illness because their immune systems are still developing. In fact, children under the age of five have the highest incidence of Campylobacter, E. coli, and Salmonella infection among any other age group in the United States. This highlights the importance of following the USDA’s four food safety steps whenever preparing meals: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.

To help families teach the importance of the four steps to young children, FSIS has developed a food safety “science experiment” that parents and children can carry out together to make sure school lunches are safe to eat come lunchtime.

To start, parents should pack their child’s lunch and have their child store it as they would at school. After the normal time between lunch packing and consumption has passed, parents should help their child take the temperature of the lunch contents. Cold items should still be below 40 °F, and hot items should be above 140°F. If food is in the Danger Zone, between 40 °F and 140 °F, parents can use the following tips to ensure their child’s lunch remains safely outside the Danger Zone for future preparations:

If the lunch contains perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs or yogurt, make sure to pack it with at least two freezer packs. Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the Danger Zone, so perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long. Frozen juice boxes or water can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze these items overnight and use with at least one other freezer pack. By lunchtime, the liquids should be thawed and ready to drink.

Pack lunches containing perishable food in an insulated lunchbox or soft-sided lunch bag. Perishable food can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in a paper bag. If possible, a child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator upon arrival. But leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open in the fridge so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.

If packing a hot lunch, like soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty and then put in the piping hot food. Tell children to keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot at 140 °F (73.9 °C) or above. After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.

If packing a child’s lunch the night before, parents should leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The meal will stay cooler longer because everything will be refrigerator temperature when it is placed in the lunchbox.

By following these tips, parents can reduce the risk that their child will be kept home from school due to a foodborne illness.

Parents with more food safety questions can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish. For more tips to keep your family foodborne illness free this season visit FoodSafety.gov and follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter.

New Generic Labeling Overview Webinar Scheduled; Updated Generic Labeling Q & A’s Published

In the final rule, effective Jan. 6, 2014, FSIS expanded the circumstances in which labels may be considered “generically approved,” allowing establishments to label a broader range of products without first submitting the label to the agency for approval. Companies will still need to submit the following labels to FSIS for prior label approval: labels bearing certain claims, such as organic, natural or animal-raising; claims labels for temporary approval; labels for products produced under religious exemption; and labels of product for export that bear labeling deviations.

FSIS recently expanded a series of questions and answers clarifying the new generic labeling regulations. The Q & A’s can be found on the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/labeling/labeling-policies/faq-generic-labeling.

FSIS will host webinars on this subject on Sept. 9 and Sept. 23, 2014, at 2 p.m., EST. The updated webinar will provide an overview of the new generic labeling regulations, including additional information related to generic label approval. The webinar will also cover new topics, such as required labeling features and a summary of label submission procedures. To access the webinar, go to https://www.teleconference.att.com/servlet/ATTClogin and follow the on-screen instructions. Use the following information when logging on: Meeting Number: 888-844-9904 Code:2956126.

Please be sure to log on as a participant. For questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at 301-504-0878 or kristin.goodwin@fsis.usda.gov.

FSIS Policy Updates

FSIS issues notices and directives to protect public health. All notices and directives are available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations. The following policy update was recently issued:

  • Notice 40-14, 1210.3 Revision 2 - Interagency Agreements

FSDZ  on the Road Again

The USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) is back on the road! The FSDZ will be in Allentown, Penn., at the Allentown Fair from August 26 through September 1.

The FSDZ is a 40-foot interactive vehicle that educates consumers about the four food safety messages --Clean, Cook, Separate and Chill-- from the Food Safe Families campaign. Some of the features in the vehicle include a Hand Washing Station, where visitors can learn the proper techniques to washing hands, and the Microscope Station that magnifies harmful bacteria. 

Watch for announcements of upcoming events. For dates, times and more information, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fsdz-schedule.

About FSIS

FSIS is the public health agency in the USDA responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged. To learn more, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis.

Structure and Organization

Numerous offices make up the agency, each playing a key role in protecting America’s food supply. To learn more, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis/structure-and-organization/structure-and-organization.   


Agency leadership information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/informational/aboutfsis/agency-leadership.

Get Answers at AskFSIS

AskFSIS is a Web-based technology and policy question-and-answer forum on topics such as exporting, labeling, inspection, programs and procedures.

In addition, AskFSIS offers Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds that link back to the Q&As. Visit http://askfsis.custhelp.com/ to view recently posted topics.