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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 - May 1, 2015

Upcoming NACMCF Audio Conference Call

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) will hold a meeting of the full committee via an audio conference call that is open to the public on May 19, 2015, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET. The committee will continue to discuss, and plans to adopt, the document Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions.

Information about the meeting can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings. To register or to provide public comment, contact Karen Thomas-Sharp at 202-690-6620 or at karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov.

FSIS Provides Resources for Older Adults

The month of May is designated as Older Americans Month and is a time to celebrate all the contributions that older adults have made to our country. Here at FSIS, we are celebrating Older Americans Month by highlighting food safety for older adults. 

Adults 65 and older are at a greater risk for hospitalization and death from infections. As our bodies grow older, there are many changes in our organs and body systems that can make us more susceptible to contracting infections, such as foodborne illness. According to the CDC, the foodborne pathogens with the highest hospitalization rates among older adults are Listeria, E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. With weakened immune systems, infections from these pathogens have the potential to be fatal. To avoid contracting a foodborne illness, older adults must be especially careful when handling, preparing and consuming foods.

As part of its ongoing efforts to minimize older adults’ risk for foodborne illness, FSIS is planning to reach out to organizations that serve older adults, such as the National Council on Aging, to provide food safety education information for their members. FSIS has two publications that offer valuable food safety advice for older adults:  “Food Safety for Older Adults” and “To Your Health! Food Safety for Seniors.” Since many older adults and caregivers of older adults are active on social media, FSIS will be sharing our new “Baby Boomers and Food Safety” infographic on Twitter and Facebook. Organizations that serve older adults are encouraged to share our messages. 

Consumers of all ages can take advantage of our many other food safety resources. The FoodKeeper app is a new application, available for Android and iOS products, that offers storage advice on over 400 food and beverage items. The USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline also has food safety experts available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET. Consumers can also submit questions and chat live with food safety experts at AskKaren.gov.   

Ongoing Equivalence Verifications of Foreign Food Regulatory Systems

On Jan. 25, 2013, FSIS published a Federal Register notice, “Ongoing Equivalence Verifications of Foreign Food Regulatory Systems” (78 FR 5409) and next week, FSIS will publish a Federal Register notice that responds to the comments received regarding this notice.

Additionally, the notice will describe how FSIS conducts ongoing activities to ensure that food regulatory systems of countries that export meat, poultry, or processed egg products to the United States remain equivalent to FSIS’ system. FSIS’ performance-based approach allows it to direct its audit resources to foreign food regulatory systems that appear to pose a greater risk to public health than other foreign systems. The notice will be available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.

FSIS’ Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book

In response to an industry concern that pointed out a discrepancy with the meat regulations, FSIS revised the Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book (Policy Book) to remove the entry for “Ham, Smithfield.” The Policy Book entry was inconsistent with meat regulation 9 CFR 317.8(b)(1) for geographic terms, which states that terms having geographic significance to localities other than the place in which the product is prepared may appear only on the label when qualified by the terms “style,” “type,” or “brand,” and when accompanied by a phrase identifying the location where the product is prepared (e.g., “Made in XX”).

The Policy Book entry for “Ham, Smithfield” stated the use of the term “brand” or “style” with the term “Smithfield” did not exempt the product from the requirement that it be prepared in Smithfield, Virginia. The Agency revised the Policy Book because the meat regulations are the product of notice and comment rulemaking and take precedence over labeling guidance. The revised Policy Book can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/7c48be3e-e516-4ccf-a2d5-b95a128f04ae/Labeling-Policy-Book.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.  

This change is effective immediately, and establishments may revise their existing products in accordance with 9 CFR 412.1. Additionally, FSIS will publish a Federal Register notice (FR) to announce the changes to the Policy Book. This FR will also identify other entries that need to be updated or eliminated. 

Comments on this revised guidance may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS, Docket Clerk, Patriots Plaza III, 355 E St. S.W., 8-163A, Mailstop 3782, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments submitted must include docket number: 2015-0027. The comment period will end on June 4, 2015.

Export Requirement Updates

The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for the following countries:

  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Kazakhstan
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Republic of Macedonia
  • Singapore
  • Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Vietnam

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

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.