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Constituent Update - January 8, 2016

FSIS Announces Standardized Approach to Residues Without Established Health Tolerances

On Dec. 23, 2015, FSIS announced that it is standardizing the approach it will take in instances when sample results from livestock or poultry carcasses reveal chemicals for which neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have set tolerances or regulatory levels. Such instances are rare and have been previously addressed on a case by case basis.

Under the new approach, FSIS will derive a de minimis level (DML) for the given chemical, below which FSIS is confident that any public health concern is nonexistent or negligible. If FSIS testing finds carcasses to contain levels of a chemical above the de minimis level, FSIS will notify the slaughter or processing establishment, as well as suppliers of the source animals, about the presence of the chemical. FSIS will also notify the FDA, EPA, or other appropriate federal partners for possible trace-back investigations and consideration of potential mitigation actions. If FSIS begins to find chemicals above the de minimis level on a more than occasional basis, the Agency will consider conducting regular, routine sampling for that chemical and will not apply the mark of inspection to that product until test results at or under the de minimis level are received by the Agency. The Agency’s new policy will better protect public health when they do occur.

“Improved testing methodology in recent years has made it possible for FSIS to collect more information about each meat or poultry sample analyzed in our labs, including the presence of compounds that we previously could not detect,” said Deputy Under Secretary Al Almanza. “The new, structured approach we are announcing today is part of FSIS’ ongoing modernization efforts to implement science-based measures that fill gaps in existing public health policy.”

FSIS Posts Q&As on Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products

FSIS posted on its website, http://askfsis.custhelp.com/, three new Q&As related to how establishments can meet the requirements for validated cooking instructions on the labels of mechanically tenderized raw beef products in 9 CFR 317.2(e)(3)(iii). The requirements in 9 CFR 317.2(e)(3)(iii) will be effective May 17, 2016. The Q&As address the minimum requirements for validated cooking instructions on the labels of mechanically tenderized beef, the use of tables or grids, and how an establishment can validate cooking instructions on interim products that are shipped to hotels, restaurants, and institutions. The new labeling requirements were announced in the May 18, 2015, Federal Register that is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ea5a6c2e-a3d0-4990-9479-755e82f5ceb2/2008-0017F.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

To help establishments comply with the requirements in 9 CFR 317.2(e)(3)(iii), FSIS issued an FSIS Compliance Guideline for Validating Cooking Instructions for Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/606919b6-5192-40bd-a32b-99a41c75eeb6/Comp_Guide_MTB.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

NPIS Lawsuit Dismissed

On Dec. 21, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final rule establishing the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). More than 50 plants have requested to be shifted to the new, modern NPIS.
 

Raw Pork Products Exploratory Sampling Program

FSIS announced the launch of the Raw Pork Products Exploratory Sampling Program (RPPESP) in FSIS Notice 23-15 in April 2015. The goal of the project is to collect data on the presence of Salmonella, other pathogens and indicator organisms in various pork products. The project includes retail sampling (completed in FY14) and exploratory sampling at slaughter and processing establishments (May 2015 through November 2015).

FSIS issued Notice 80-50 on Dec. 18, 2015, in order to provide revised instructions to inspection program personnel (IPP) at establishments that produce raw pork products to continue sampling pork products for Salmonella as part of the RPPESP. Additionally, the Agency is transitioning from using a contract laboratory to using FSIS laboratories to analyze the samples.

FSIS will begin this transition sampling for RPPESP on Jan. 4, 2016. The FSIS Office of Public Health Science (OPHS) and the Office of Data Integration and Food Protection (ODIFP) will analyze the data collected in between the conclusion of Phase I and implementation of Phase II to determine the percent positive for Salmonella and to inform food safety policies for pork products.

For this sampling, FSIS field employees will collect raw intact and non-intact pork products from establishments producing greater than 1,000 lbs. of pork products daily until Phase II of the project is implemented.

Sample collection will consist of two pounds of various pork products being collected and shipped to FSIS laboratories for analysis for Salmonella. Product categories identified include: Intact Cuts (including bone-in and boneless), Intact Other, Non-Intact Cuts (including bone-in and boneless), Non-intact Other, and Comminuted (Ground, Mechanically Separated and Other Comminuted) products.

Concurrently FSIS will continue to analyze data obtained during Phase I of the project to inform the design of sampling in Phase II. The Notice is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/25967a65-6013-4f38-80d8-61a100fe9f10/80-15.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=25967a65-6013-4f38-80d8-61a100fe9f10.

Comment Period Extended for Draft Updated Compliance Guideline for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in Raw Poultry

In response to a request for an extension from an industry group, FSIS is extending the comment period by 30 days for the Draft FSIS Compliance Guideline for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in Raw Poultry. FSIS announced the updated guidance in the Federal Register notice “Availability of FSIS Compliance Guideline for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in Raw Poultry” (80 FR 78166; Dec. 16, 2015). FSIS is providing this draft guideline for poultry establishments, including small and very small poultry establishments to help them comply with regulatory requirements (9 CFR 381.65, Part 416, and Part 417) and pathogen reduction performance standards. However, there is no requirement that establishments adhere to the compliance guideline. The original deadline to submit comments was February 16; the new deadline to submit comments is now March 18.

Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. They can also be sent 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. Hand or courier-deliver submittals should be delivered to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. St., SW, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

The compliance guidance is available http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index.

FSIS To Host Webinar on Listeria Controls at Retail

FSIS will conduct a webinar on Jan. 13, 2016, at 1:00 pm ET to discuss how to control Listeria in the retail environment. A recent interagency risk assessment found that over 80% of Listeria illnesses associated with ready-to-eat meat or poultry products sold at delis (i.e., deli meat) were attributed to product sliced or otherwise handled at the retail store (see web address below). 

The webinar is specifically designed for foodservice retail operators that maintain in-house delicatessens (e.g., grocery stores, convenience stores) and to discuss the updated Agency document, “FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens.” The guidance was announced in the Federal Register (80 FR 33228) on June 11, 2015, and it is posted online. The document provides specific recommendations for actions retailers can take in the deli area to control Lm contamination of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products. 

In addition, the Agency will discuss its launch of a year-long nationwide pilot project to assess whether retailers are using the recommendations in its “Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens.” As part of the pilot project, FSIS Compliance Investigators will complete a questionnaire on whether retailers are following specific recommendations from the guidance. The questionnaire will be used to compare the practices observed in retail delis to the FSIS Retail Lm Guideline in the following areas: product handling, cleaning and sanitizing, facility and equipment controls, and employee practices. Information from the pilot project will be analyzed quarterly and the results will be posted on FSIS’ website.

Lm is a bacterium that is found in most environments, soil and decaying vegetation, and can persist along the food continuum. Transfer of the bacteria from the retail environment (e.g., deli cases, slicers, and utensils), employees or raw food products is a particular hazard of concern in RTE foods, including meat and poultry products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that listeriosis, a serious infection, causes about 1,600 illnesses, 1,500 hospitalizations, and 260 deaths in the United States each year. While listeriosis is rare, the CDC estimates that Lm causes a high level of deaths compared to other foodborne pathogens.

FSIS officials will provide background information on Lm and listeriosis, discuss the updated controls for Lm in retail delis and the year-long nationwide pilot project during the Webinar, and take questions. 

For background, the guidance was developed based on key findings from:

  • The FSIS and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ‘‘Interagency Risk Assessment—Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens;’’
  • The available scientific knowledge;
  • The 2013 FDA Food Code; and
  • Lessons learned from controlling Lm in FSIS-inspected meat and poultry processing establishment.

The guidance discusses practical steps that retailers can take to prevent certain RTE foods that are prepared or sliced in retail delis and consumed in the home, such as deli meats and deli salads, from becoming contaminated with Lm, and thus a potential source of listeriosis.

FSIS encourages retailers and public health officials to review the guidance and evaluate the effectiveness of their retail practices and intervention strategies in reducing the risk of listeriosis to consumers from RTE meat and poultry deli products.
To participate in the webinar, you may:
Call In Only, Phone Number: 888.844.9904, Passcode: 5277207
Log In,  https://www.connectmeeting.att.com, Meeting Number: 888.844.9904, Code: 5277207

In order to participate in the webinar you must RSVP to Evelyn Gomez at evelyn.gomez@fsis.usda.gov as capacity is limited. If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Gomez at (202) 418-8903.

For more information on the best practices guidance document, visit the websites listed below:
FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria Monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delis: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/29d51258-0651-469b-99b8-e986baee8a54/Controlling-LM-Delicatessens.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

Interagency Risk Assessment—Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c0c6dfbc-ad83-47c1-bcb8-8db6583f762b/Lm-Retail-Technical-Report.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

FSIS Periodic Residue Report for Q3 FY 2015 Posted

FSIS is publishing two quarterly reports covering April – June, 2015 and July – August 2015, to summarize the chemical residue results for the US National Residue Program (NRP) for meat, poultry and egg products. These NRP quarterly reports provide timely information on chemical residues in FSIS-regulated meat, poultry and egg products. This information also complements other Agency residue information made public: Residue Repeat Violator list, NRP sampling plan (FSIS Blue Book), and NRP Residue Sample Results (FSIS Red Book). These reports can be found on:

FSIS to Hold Educational Meetings on Inspection of Siluriformes Fish

FSIS will be conducting educational meetings regarding the final rule, “Mandatory Inspection of Fish of the Order Siluriformes and Products Derived from Such Fish,” published in the Federal Register on Dec. 2, 2015. The purpose of the meetings is to educate participants on the final rule, as well as on what will be expected of domestic operations before and after the rule becomes effective on March 1, 2016. There will be a question and answer period following the presentation.  

The final rule may be accessed from the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/inspection/siluriformes.

The first meeting is open for all stakeholders and will be held Jan. 21, 2016, from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm ET in Washington, DC at Patriots Plaza III, 355 E Street, SW., in the main floor auditorium. All persons wishing to attend are strongly encouraged to register in advance and allocate extra time to get through security screening. On-site registration will begin at 12:30 pm.

A second meeting for all stakeholders will be held on Jan. 27, 2016, from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm CT. in Stoneville, MS at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Entrepreneurial Center, Delta Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University, 82 Stoneville Road, Stoneville, MS 38776. All persons wishing to attend are encouraged to register in advance and allocate extra time to get through security screening. FSIS will announce information for future Siluriformes fish educational meetings in subsequent Constituent Updates.

To pre-register for any of the meetings, please go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings. For more information or special accommodations, please contact Evelyn Gomez at 202-418-8903 or evelyn.gomez@fsis.usda.gov.

FY 2013 and 2014 FSIS’ Red Books Available

FSIS is announcing the publication of the United States National Residue Program (NRP) for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products for Fiscal Years (FY) 2013 and 2014 Residue Sample results (a.k.a. FSIS Red Book).

During January - September 2013, FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) collected 4,583 samples under the domestic scheduled sampling program. During FY2014, FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) collected 6,066 samples under the domestic scheduled sampling program. No residues were detected in 99% of the domestic scheduled samples. 

Furthermore, in FY 2013, FSIS IPP screened an additional 170,560 samples under the domestic inspector-generated program: few samples analyzed utilizing the Fast Antimicrobial Screening Test (FAST) and Kidney Inhibition Swab (KIS™). An additional 132 samples were tested under the domestic inspector-generated sampling program. In FY 2014, FSIS IPP screened an additional 210,516  samples under the domestic inspector-generated program analyzed using the Kidney Inhibition Swab (KIS™). An additional 189 samples were tested under the domestic inspector-generated sampling program.

In FY 2013, a total of 1,284 residue violations were found in 1,068 animals, of which 19 residue violations in 15 animals under the domestic scheduled sampling program, and 1,265 residue violations were found in 1,053 animals under the domestic inspector-generated program. The FY2014 residue results showed a total of 1,420 residue violations in 1,146 animals, of which 12 residue violations in 10 animals are identified in the domestic scheduled sampling program, and 1,136 residue violations were found in 1,408 animals under the domestic inspector-generated program. Note that multiple residue violation results may be associated with a single animal.

Overall, ceftiofur accounted for the highest percentage of violative samples followed by penicillin and neomycin. Dairy cows, bob veal, and beef cows had the highest number of violative results.

In addition, between January and September 2013 and FY 2014, FSIS planned and administered the import reinspection program as part of the NRP. FSIS inspectors carried out reinspection at official approved import inspection facilities. Of the 817 samples analyzed, four violations were found (3 from Brazil and 1 from Nicaragua). In FY 2014, FSIS inspectors carried out reinspection at officially approved import inspection facilities. Of the 1,967 samples analyzed, eight violations were found (4 from Brazil, and 4 from Mexico).

For more information, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/red-books/red-book.

FSIS Announces Stakeholder Teleconference on the Next Phase of Work Under the U.S. - Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council

On May 28, 2015, Canada and the United States released details for the next phase of the U.S. – Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), consistent with the RCC Forward Plan released last August. As a follow-up to the release of those details and Stakeholder engagement conducted last June, FSIS, in cooperation with USDA officials, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Canadian counterparts, will conduct another public stakeholder event on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.  FSIS invites interested stakeholders to register to participate in the teleconference.

Teleconference preregistration is required and can be completed online through the following web link: http://ems7.intellor.com?do=register&t=1&p=701612.

Once you have registered, a confirmation page will display dial-in numbers and a unique PIN. Registered participants will also receive an email confirmation of this information. To avoid problems connecting to the call, please do not share your unique PIN.

The objectives of this teleconference will be: (1) to provide an update on the implementation of the Joint Forward Plan including the development of Department-Level Regulatory Partnerships Statements and Work Plans as they relate to key agriculture and agri-food items; and, (2) to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions and provide feedback to USDA and Canadian regulators.

The teleconference discussion will cover RCC efforts in the areas of meat inspection and certification, plant health, and animal health. The specific work plans that will be discussed are available on-line through the Department of Commerce website at www.trade.gov/rcc.

Export Requirement Updates

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

  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • French Polynesia
  • Hong Kong
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • People’s Republic of China
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan

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

 FSIS Policy Updates

FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations. The following policies update were recently issued.

  • Notice 01-16 - Sampling Project Codes for the Fiscal Year 2016 National Residue Program
  • Notice 02-16 - 2016 Mileage Reimbursement Rates
  • Notice 03-16 - Cancellation of FSIS Directive 4713.3, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counseling and Complaints Program (5/20/87)
  • Directive 4430.3, Rev. 4 - In-Plant Performance System
  • Docket No. FSIS- 201-0043 - 2016 Rate Changes for the Basetime, Overtime, Holiday, and Laboratory Services Rates 

We Want to Hear From You

The Constituent Update Content and Technical Review Committee seeks feedback from its readers. Please let us know what you think about the Constituent Update and send comments and suggestions regarding content to FSISUpdate@fsis.usda.gov. If you aren’t regularly receiving the Constituent Update, you can sign up for it at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/newsletters/constituent-updates.

Food Recalls and Alerts

For information regarding recalls, please contact the Congressional and Public Affairs Staff at (202) 720-9113. You can also receive e-mail notifications when public health alerts and recalls are issued. Register at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe.