Constituent Update - April 7, 2017
Establishment Specific Datasets Now Available
FSIS has posted a new establishment specific dataset on the FSIS website as announced in the Federal Register on July 14, 2016 (Docket No. FSIS-2014-0032). This is the full dataset of FSIS’ routine microbiological sampling of Raw Ground Beef Products. Prior to publishing this dataset, the sample dataset and corresponding data dictionary were posted on Feb. 10, 2017 and comments were sought until March 24, 2017. FSIS updates existing datasets quarterly; approximately the first Friday of the next quarter, therefore, this dataset will be updated again in July 2017.
The following quarterly updates to other establishment specific datasets are now available on the FSIS website:
- Establishment Demographic Data, which supplements the existing MPI Directory
- Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Meat and Poultry Sampling Data
- Egg Product Sampling Data
The next new dataset that FSIS will post will be on FSIS’ routine microbiological sampling of Beef Trim. The sample dataset and data dictionary will be posted on the FSIS website on May 5th.Additional details can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/data/fsis-datasets.
FSIS Expands Meat and Poultry Hotline Hours to Further Provide Food Safety Information to Consumers
On April 3, 2017, FSIS increased 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.
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 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, which is an additional two hours in the afternoon.
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.
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 April 2, 2017, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 17,213 beef trim samples (14,741 domestic and 2,472 imported), 3,936 routine follow-up samples (3,822 domestic and 114 imported), and 330 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. One hundred eighty-six samples were found to be positive; 113 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.
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 were recently issued:
- Directive 5000.1 - Verifying an Establishments Food Safety System
- Docket No. FSIS-2017-0013 - Meeting of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling
Export Requirements Updates
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:
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/.