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Constituent Update - March 24, 2017

USDA Releases Statement on Tainted Meat from Brazil

On March 22, 2017, FSIS announced additional steps that the Agency is taking to keep the food supply safe for American families in light of the recent investigations of Brazil’s meat industry.  While none of the slaughter or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal have shipped meat products to the United States, FSIS immediately instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil upon hearing reports of the Brazilian investigation. FSIS has also increased its examination of all these products at ports-of-entry across the country. The Agency will indefinitely maintain its 100% re-inspection and pathogen testing of all lots of FSIS-regulated products imported from Brazil.

The FSIS import inspection system (including equivalence determinations, in-country audits, and re-inspection processes) is designed to ensure that imported meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe and wholesome. FSIS works closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to ensure that these products are safe before they enter the country. Although none of the establishments implicated in the Brazil scandal have shipped meat products to the United States, effective March 18, FSIS instituted 100 % re-inspection of all Brazilian beef imported into the United States, including conducting product examination on 100 % of the lots. This re-inspection includes 100 %testing of beef trimmings from Brazil for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC). The 100 % re-inspection also includes 100 % testing of products from Brazil for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. FSIS will take immediate action to refuse entry of product into the United States if there are findings of food safety concern.  
For more information, please visit https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2017/03/22/usda-tainted-brazilian-meat-none-has-entered-us-100-percent-re.

FSIS Publishes Compliance Guideline for Establishments that Slaughter or Further Process Siluriformes Fish and Fish Products

FSIS has posted a Siluriformes fish compliance guideline to assist establishments that slaughter or further process Siluriformes fish and fish products to understand and implement their regulatory responsibilities. This guidance represents best practice recommendations by FSIS, based on the best scientific and practical considerations.

The final rule, “Mandatory Inspection of Fish of the Order Siluriformes and Products Derived From Such Fish,” was published on Dec. 2, 2015. Starting on March 1, 2016, the Agency implemented an 18-month transitional period during which it has conducted inspection and exercised broad enforcement discretion in domestic Siluriformes fish establishments. FSIS will enforce all regulatory requirements starting Sept. 1, 2017. In the final rule, FSIS stated that during initial implementation, it would provide domestic Siluriformes fish and fish product establishments with guidance to ensure that they understand the requirements (80 FR 75607).  

The compliance guideline contains information, in part, on how fish establishments can apply for a Grant of Inspection (GOI); submit labels for approval; develop written recall plans; comply with Sanitation Performance Standards (SPS) and Sanitation SOP requirements; and comply with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements. This compliance guideline also contains information to help establishments understand sampling requirements and requirements for exporting and importing Siluriformes fish and fish products. FSIS developed this guideline for the domestic industry. However, foreign countries that are interested in obtaining an equivalence determination from FSIS can also use it to inform the design of their inspection program. FSIS will likely update this guidance after the transitional period.

FSIS requests that all interested persons submit comments on any aspect of this document, including but not limited to: content, readability, applicability, and accessibility. The comment period will be 60 days from March 24, 2017. Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Mail, including CD-ROMs, and hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, OPPD, RIMS, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, 8-163A, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700.

All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and Docket Number FSIS-2017-0017. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information to http://www.regulations.gov.

The guideline is available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/8ec92a7f-8f9b-45ae-b80f-7c336f7d6ff5/Compliance-Guideline-Siluriformes-Fish.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

FSIS to Hold a PHIS Export Technical Meeting for Industry Stakeholders

FSIS will be conducting its second webinar on the Public Health Information System (PHIS) electronic export application and approval process. The event will be held on Monday, March 27, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST at the Westin Washington, D.C. City Center hotel located at 1400 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. This technical webinar will focus on the application batching process for the planned June 2017 implementation of the export functionality in PHIS.

To register for this event, please send an email to: nina.anand@fsis.usda.gov. Please provide your name, name of company, mailing address, contact number, and email address, and indicate if you plan on attending in person or by teleconference.

Call-in information will be sent to registered participants who desire to attend by teleconference.

FSIS Announces April 1, 2017 Implementation Date for Recordkeeping Requirements at Retail

On Dec. 21, 2015, FSIS published in the Federal Register a final rule to require that all official establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef products for sale in commerce maintain records about their grinding activities. This rule put in place requirements necessary to improve FSIS' ability to accurately trace the source of foodborne illness outbreaks involving ground beef and to identify the source materials that need to be recalled.

The rule became effective June 20, 2016. Enforcement by FSIS investigators and inspection program personnel began on Oct.1, 2016. Since Oct. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, FSIS’ Office of Investigations, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) Investigators have been reviewing grinding logs at retail stores and educated retailers on the Federal Register Notice. In retail stores, starting on April 1, 2017, OIEA Investigators will verify compliance by following the instructions found in FSIS Directive 8010.1, Methodology for Conducting In-Commerce Surveillance Activities. FSIS will issue updated instructions to OIEA field personnel prior to this date.

The final rule is available on FSIS website at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/4900af9c-0657-4525-bb6b-225293143862/2009-0011F.htm?MOD=AJPERES.

FSIS Publishes Second Quarter FY 2016 Residue Quarterly Report

FSIS is publishing the second quarter FY 2016 residue quarterly report covering January through March 2016, to summarize the chemical residue results for the U.S. 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 compliments 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 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-chemistry and http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-quarterly.

FSIS and Federal Partners Issue New Food Safety Analytics Strategic Plan

FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued a new Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 as part of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC).

IFSAC was created in 2011 to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis and use. Its projects and studies aim to identify foods that are important sources of human illness. IFSAC focuses analytic efforts on four priority pathogens: Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter. CDC estimates that together, these four pathogens cause 1.9 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.

Under the new Strategic Plan, IFSAC will focus on continuing to improve estimates of the sources of foodborne illnesses and developing methods to estimate how these sources change over time. The three goals of the new Strategic Plan are to improve the use and quality of new and existing data sources; improve analytic methods and models; and enhance communication about IFSAC progress.

The Strategic Plan outlines key objectives to achieve those goals, including:

  • Enhance the collection and quality of relevant source data;
  • Enhance the use of existing regulatory and foodborne illness surveillance data;
  • Incorporate genomic data and other novel data sources;
  • Explore ways to address key gaps in data quality, methods and models;
  • Develop new analytic approaches and models to maximize use of  existing data;
  • Expand the availability of technical and scientific expertise through collaboration with internal and external partners;
  • Enhance relationships and engagement with internal and external groups; and
  • Improve the synthesis, interpretation and dissemination of analytical findings for multiple audiences.

The plan also highlights accomplishments from IFSAC’s first five years, and the group’s intent to continue engaging with stakeholders on future work.

For more information on IFSAC, please visit the collaboration’s website.

E. coli Testing Update 

FSIS posts biweekly updates of the Agency’s raw ground beef E. coli sampling program, which includes testing results of raw ground beef component samples for E. coli O157:H7and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STECs) from FSIS routine and follow-up sampling programs. Data are also presented for non-O157 STECs by each non-O157 STEC serogroup.

Between June 4, 2012 and March 19, 2017, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 17,007 beef trim samples (14,601 domestic and 2,406 imported), 3,914 routine follow-up samples (3,800 domestic and 114 imported) and 327 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. One hundred-eighty four samples were found to be positive. 111 were domestic trim samples, six were imported trim samples, 63 were domestic follow-up samples and four were non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. To date, three samples have been positive for both O157:H7 and at least one non-O157 STEC strain and ten samples have been positive for two different non-O157 O-groups.

To review testing results, visit the E. coli data tables at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/ec.

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 19-17 – Imported Raw Poultry Products Sampled For Salmonella and Campylobacter Analysis

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • French Polynesia
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • St. Lucia

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 and As.

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