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Constituent Update - May 25, 2018

FSIS Eliminates Trichinae Control Regulations and Consolidates Thermally Processed, Commercially Sterile Regulations

On May 31, 2018, FSIS will publish the final rule eliminating prescriptive regulatory requirements for destroying Trichinella spiralis in ready-to-eat (RTE) and not-ready-to-eat (NRTE) pork and pork products. Pork producers will now have a variety of processing options to address trichinae in their establishment’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans.

After a careful review, the Agency has concluded that the current trichinae regulations are inconsistent with HACCP regulations and are no longer necessary. Establishments will now have to determine whether Trichinella spiralis is a hazard that may occur during their production process, and then address the hazard in their HACCP plans.

The Trichinella Approved Laboratory Program (TALP) will also be eliminated so that FSIS can make more efficient use of its resources. Establishments may test product samples for the presence of trichinae by using any validated testing method that is equivalent to the pooled sample digestion technique, which verifies that their inspection system is working and efficient.

Additionally, FSIS combined the meat and poultry canning regulations into a new part in the regulations (9 CFR 431) and made minor changes that improve the clarity of the regulations and remove redundant sections.

FSIS also will announce the availability of a compliance guide to help establishments, particularly small and very small establishments, in understanding the controls that are effective for the prevention and elimination of trichinae in RTE and NRTE pork. FSIS has posted the compliance guide on its website: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index.   

Kick Off Grilling Season with Food Safety in Mind

For many Americans, the summer grilling and travel season begins this upcoming weekend. FSIS wants to make sure you and your family avoid food poisoning this summer. An estimated 128,000 Americans are hospitalized with food poisoning each year, but foodborne illnesses can be prevented during summer months by properly handling perishable foods during travel, and by using a food thermometer when grilling.

Before eating any meat or poultry you have grilled, verify any potential illness-causing bacteria has been destroyed by using a food thermometer. Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry to ensure they are done:
•  Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145°F with a three-minute rest time
•  Ground meats: 160°F
•  Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165°F

See more tips on summer food safety here: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/news-releases-statements-transcripts/news-release-archives-by-year/archive/2018/nr-052318-01. For specific questions on food safety, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (1-888-674-6854) Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, or email or chat at AskKaren.gov.

FSIS Announces Webinar on Individual Salmonella Category Status for Poultry Parts and Comminuted Poultry

On June 13, FSIS will host a webinar from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET about the posting of individual Salmonella category status data for poultry establishments that produce poultry parts and not ready-to-eat (NRTE) comminuted poultry. The webinar will provide an overview of FSIS’ sampling practices and explain the category determination process, expectation for establishments in Category 3, and assignment of follow-up samples and Public Health Risk Evaluations (PHRE). To access the webinar, visit http://ems7.intellor.com/login/805948 and follow the on-screen instructions. Use the following information when logging on: Meeting Number: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633, Access Code: 0615252. Please be sure to log on as a participant. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the website upon availability. For questions, contact Jeremy “Todd” Reed at jeremy.reed@fsis.usda.gov.

Food Safety Benefits for Food Defense

Many people may not be familiar with the strong relationship between food safety and food defense. In the event that a food defense incident, or intentional contamination occurs, food safety can become compromised and lead to public health harm or economic disruption for your business. You may not realize that the majority of the food safety measures you already have in place can also protect your product from intentional contamination. For example, training your employees to stay aware of facility operations and encouraging them to report anything out of the ordinary can help to proactively identify conditions that may lead to product contamination. Similarly, closing and securing doors or other access points can help control pests and also prevent unwanted intruders from entering your facility. Finally, verifying activities associated with transportation of your product can help ensure labeling and temperature requirements are met, while also protecting your product from fictitious pick-ups or cargo theft.

A combination of food safety and food defense practices is essential to help protect the nation’s food supply. Visit www.fsis.usda.gov/fooddefense/resources for additional tools and resources that can help you strengthen your food defense practices. For further assistance, please email your questions to the FSIS Food Defense Assessment Staff at FoodDefense@fsis.usda.gov.

FSIS Guideline for Determining Exemptions from Inspection Requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act

On May 25, 2018, FSIS published a Federal Register notice announcing the availability of a guideline for businesses that slaughter livestock or process meat and meat food products on the exemptions to the inspection requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). FSIS is requesting comments on the guideline, which is available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index.

Comments must be received on or before July 24, 2018 and may be submitted online via the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov; by mail sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 6065, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700; or by hand or courier delivery to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700. All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2018-0006.

Policy Updates

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

  • Notice 29-18 - Public Health Information System Establishment Reporting and Animal Disposition Record Entry Improvements
  • Directive 2660.1 Rev. 5 -  Mail Management Program

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Mexico
  • South Africa

For a complete list of countries, visit https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.