Constituent Update - March 31, 2017
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 educating 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.
On April 3, 2017, FSIS will be increasing the delivery of safe food handling and preparation information by expanding the hours of its Meat and Poultry Hotline and Ask Karen chat services. As detailed in the Agency’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, FSIS is focusing on the reduction of foodborne illness, and one way to contribute to that reduction is to increase public awareness of safe food handling information.
FSIS’ Meat and Poultry Hotline has been educating consumer since 1985. The toll-free telephone service assists in the prevention of foodborne illnesses by answering consumers’ questions about the safe storage, handling and preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. The hotline will be open for two additional hours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time.
The hotline is accompanied by Ask Karen, a 24-hour online service that provides answers to thousands of frequently asked questions and also allows consumers to email or live-chat a food safety specialist during operating hours.
For 32 years the Meat and Poultry Hotline has answered questions about food manufacturer recalls, food poisoning, food safety during power outages, and the inspection of meat, poultry and egg products. From novice cooks roasting their first turkey to experienced food handlers asking about foodborne bacteria, the Meat and Poultry Hotline has answered more than three million calls since its inception.
Consumers can contact the Meat and Poultry Hotline to speak to a live food expert at 1-888-674-6854, or visit Ask Karen to chat or email (in English or Spanish), Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time/7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific Time.
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 update was recently issued:
Notice 20-17 - Raw Pork Products Sampling Program Update
Export Requirements Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:
- French Polynesia
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Korea
- 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.