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Constituent Update - March 3, 2017

FSIS Intends to Begin a Phased Roll-out of Egg Products Plant FSAs

FSIS intends to begin a phased roll-out of the Public Health Risk Evaluation (PHRE) and Food Safety Assessment (FSA) methodologies to egg products plants. FSIS intends to start with PHREs of four egg products plants in the Des Moines District—that district has the greatest concentration of egg products plants—and select plants with different production processes. FSIS will then expand the egg products plant FSA methodology to other Districts. FSIS will use the PHREs to evaluate current and historical production data associated with an egg product plant’s operation to determine if an enforcement action, FSA, or no action, is warranted. When warranted, FSIS will conduct FSAs at those plants, using the same five to seven production day time-frame used for meat and poultry establishments. FSIS will broadly follow the PHRE and FSA methodologies currently being applied at meat and poultry establishments.

The Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officers (EIAO) will use a tool specific for egg products to verify food safety system compliance with the egg products regulations (9 CFR 590) and to identify and associate findings, leading to a logical and supportable outcome recommendation.

The FSIS PHRE and FSA methodologies can be found in:

-  FSIS Directive 5100.4 - Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officer (EIAO) Public Health Risk Evaluation (PHRE) Methodology.
-  FSIS Directive 5100.1 - Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officer (EIAO) Food Safety Assessment (FSA) Methodology.

FSIS is seeking public comment for 30 days, ending on April 3, 2017. Comments may be submitted online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 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 Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700. All comments submitted must include docket number FSIS-2017-0007.

Following the comment period, and prior to conducting any egg products PHREs or FSAs, FSIS will hold a public webinar describing the phased roll-out, how the PHRE methodology and FSA methodology will be applied at egg products plants, address comments, and answer any questions. Details for that webinar will be provided in a future Constituent Update.

NACMCF Subcommittee on Virulence Factors and Attributes that Define Foodborne Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli as Severe Human Pathogens to Meet

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), Virulence Factors and Attributes that Define Foodborne Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) as Severe Human Pathogens Subcommittee, will meet in Washington, D.C., from March 7-10, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Patriots Plaza 3, 1st Floor Conference Rooms, 355 E. Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.

The subcommittee will be meeting to discuss the most current information regarding virulence determinants, improved detection methods and characterization protocols for these pathogens.

To attend, please contact Karen Thomas, Advisory Committee Specialist, at 202-690-6620 or by email at karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov.

Allergen Public Meeting

FSIS—with participation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), international partners and academic institutions—is hosting a public meeting to discuss the prevention and control of undeclared allergens in FSIS-regulated products. The meeting will address, specifically, the continued occurrence of product recalls due to undeclared allergens and the best practices for prevention and control of allergens as a public health threat in FSIS-regulated establishments. Topics will focus on FSIS action and enforcement of undeclared allergens, labeling compliance, prevention and emerging issues. Industry and interested individuals, organizations and other stakeholders are invited to participate in the meeting and comment on these topics.

The meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. on March 16, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14th & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250.

To attend, please register by emailing AllergenPublicMeeting@fsis.usda.gov by March 9, 2017.

FSIS Announces Staffing Updates

FSIS is announcing the following staffing changes that will take effect on March 6, 2017.

  • Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator in the Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD), retired from FSIS on March 1, 2017, after more than 38 years as a government regulator of the food industry. Dr. Engeljohn led the development of Agency policies and the development and publication of numerous FSIS policy documents including regulations, instructions to the field, and guidance to the industry.
  • Roberta Wagner will be reassigned as the Assistant Administrator in OPPD. Roberta most recently served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Field Operations (OFO), and previously served in management positions at the FDA.
  • Paul Kiecker will act in the OFO Deputy Assistant Administrator position. Paul most recently served as an Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations in OFO.
  • Pete Bridgeman has been reassigned to the position of Assistant Administrator in the Office of Management (OM). Pete has served FSIS in numerous senior leadership positions, including in Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Public Health Science, Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit, and OFO, and most recently as Acting OM Assistant Administrator.
  • Frank Mays has been selected to serve as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in OM. Frank is joining FSIS after 34 years in the United States military. He most recently served as the Commanding Officer (CO) of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) in Washington, DC. While serving as JBAB CO, he led a 1,200 member workforce that included 700 government employees providing numerous programs and services to over 17,000 customers living and working on the 905 acre military installation. Prior to JBAB CO, he was the Naval Congressional liaison.

FSIS Schedules Webinar on Equivalence Webpage Improvements

FSIS will be conducting a webinar on the improvements to the equivalence section of FSIS’ website on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. EST.  To access the webinar, please go to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/710620 and follow the on-screen instructions. Use the following information when logging on: Meeting Number: 1-877-369-5243 and code: 0233802#. Please be sure to log on as a participant.

For questions, contact Ms. Brianna Robinson-Verloop at brianna.robinson-verloop@fsis.usda.gov. In the Dec. 9, 2016 and Feb. 3, 2017 Constituent Update issues, FSIS announced improvements to the equivalence section of its website. This information can be accessed at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/Equivalence.

Appealing Inspection Decisions Fact Sheet Available

FSIS has posted a fact sheet for Appealing Inspection Decisions on its website. This document provides information to help small and very small plants understand the process of appealing inspection decisions, including: to whom the Appeal should be directed, what documents should be included, when to expect a response and how to make an appeal electronically within the Public Health Information System (PHIS). The fact sheet also describes procedures for appealing sampling results, enforcement actions and administrative actions concerning a waiver. The new fact sheet is available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/fb80c1b0-4e21-4db3-9003-93405f780c98/Appealing-Inspection-Decisions.pdf?MOD=AJPERES and updates information formerly in the 2006 Compliance Guidelines for Small and Very Small Plants Appealing Inspection Decisions.

FSIS is seeking comments on this document as part of its efforts to continuously assess and improve the effectiveness of policy documents. All interested persons may submit comments regarding any aspect of this document, including but not limited to: content, readability, applicability and accessibility. The comment period will be 60 days and the document will be updated in response to the comments.

Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal Online submission at http://www.regulations.gov. This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments.

Mail, including CD-ROMs, and hand or courier-delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, 8-163A, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700. All comments submitted must include docket number FSIS-2017-0011.

All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name, FSIS, and document title: FSIS Fact Sheet for Appealing Inspection Decisions. Comments received will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information to http://www.regulations.gov.

Updated Slaughter Compliance Guidelines for Beef Slaughtering Establishments is Available

FSIS has posted an updated compliance guideline entitled, “Compliance Guideline for Minimizing the Risk of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia Coli (STEC) and Salmonella in Beef (including Veal) Slaughter Establishments 2017” that provides best practices at beef slaughter establishments. This guideline provides beef and veal slaughter establishments with information concerning best practices at slaughter that they can use to prevent, eliminate, or reduce levels of fecal and associated microbiological contamination, specifically contamination with Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC) and Salmonella.

FSIS first issued related guidance in September 2002 and has been updating the information to help beef slaughter establishments be aware of the most current scientific information, as well best practices across the industry. This guideline is based on the best scientific and practical considerations and does not represent requirements that must be met. FSIS invites interested people to submit comments on this compliance guideline over the next 60 days. All interested persons may submit comments regarding any aspect of this document, including but not limited to: content, readability, applicability, and accessibility.

Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal Online submission at regulations.gov. This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments. Mail, including CD-ROMs, and hand or courier-delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, 8-163A, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700. All comments submitted must include docket number FSIS-2017-0012.

All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name, FSIS, and document title: FSIS Compliance Guideline for Minimizing the Risk of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella in Beef (including Veal) Slaughter Operations 2016.

The guideline is available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/1c7b15f7-2815-41d4-9897-2b0502d98429/Compliance-Guideline-STEC-Salmonella-Beef-Slaughter.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

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 policy updates was recently issued:

  • Notice 16-17 - Annual Notice to High-Mileage Drivers

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • Japan
  • Oman

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

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 by registering at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe.

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.

To view recently posted topics, please visit http://askfsis.custhelp.com/.