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Constituent Update - August 17, 2018

FSIS Extends Comment Period for Petition on “Product of U.S.A.” Labeling Claim

FSIS is extending the comment period for a petition submitted by the Organization for Competitive Markets and the American Grassfed Association requesting that FSIS change the “Product of U.S.A.” entry in the FSIS Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book. The petition was submitted on June 12, 2018, and posted to the FSIS website on June 18, 2018. The petition is available on the FSIS website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/195183b8-d436-4914-8b73-449fd0a5a623/18-05-Amercan-Grassfed-Association-061818.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

FSIS’ regulations permit interested persons to submit comments on petitions filed with the Agency and provide for posting these comments on the FSIS website (9 CFR 392.7). The regulations also state that comments on a petition should be submitted within 60 days of the posting date of the petition (9 CFR 392.7(b)). The comment period for the USCA petition was scheduled to close on Aug. 17, 2018. However, the petition has generated significant interest from stakeholders, and on Aug. 14, 2018, FSIS received a request to extend the comment period. Therefore, FSIS is extending the comment period for an additional 30 days. 

To facilitate submission and public posting of comments, interested persons may submit comments 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 3758, 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 comments submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and identification number FSIS-2018-0024. Comments on this petition will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Comments on the petition should be submitted by Sept. 17, 2018.

Retail Exemptions Adjusted Dollar Limitations

On Aug. 15, 2018, FSIS announced the dollar limitations based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the amount of meat, meat food products, poultry, and poultry products that a retail store can sell to hotels, restaurants and similar institutions without disqualifying itself for exemption from federal inspection requirements. For calendar year 2018, the dollar limitation for meat and meat food products remains unchanged at $75,700, and the dollar limitation for poultry and poultry products also remains unchanged at $56,600. For more information, please visit: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.

USDA Provides Food Safety Tips to Keep Foodborne Illness Out of the Classroom

It’s the start of the new school year, which means new teachers, a lot of homework assignments and the never-ending dilemma of what to include to make a healthy and safe school lunch.  

Handwashing is the first and easiest step to avoid foodborne illnesses. A recent study by USDA found that 97 percent of the times participants should have washed their hands they did not do so correctly or at all. This poor hand hygiene caused participants to cross-contaminate items in the kitchen, including spice containers, refrigerator handles, ready-to-eat foods and other surface areas.

Because bacteria can live on surfaces for up to 32 hours, it is easy to contaminate sandwich bread and lunch meat when preparing your child’s lunch. FSIS is providing important food safety tips to keep foodborne illness out of the classroom.

To learn more about these tips, visit: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/news-releases-statements-transcripts/news-release-archives-by-year/archive/2018/nr-081418-01.  

FSIS To Update Individual Salmonella Category Status for Poultry Carcass Establishments and Aggregate Results for Chicken Parts, Comminuted Poultry and Poultry Carcasses Tested for Salmonella and Campylobacter

On Aug. 20, 2018, FSIS will update the individual establishments’ category status for Salmonella performance standards for poultry carcasses at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/salmonella-verification-testing-program/establishment-categories.  

FSIS also will update the aggregate sampling results relative to process control categories for establishments producing young chicken or turkey carcasses, raw chicken parts or not ready-to-eat (NRTE) comminuted poultry products at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/salmonella-verification-testing-program/aggregate-data .

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:

  • Docket No. FSIS-2018-0009 - Retail Exemptions Adjusted Dollar Limitations
  • Docket No. FSIS-2018-0026 - Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection (Certificates of Medical Examination)
  • Docket No. FSIS-2018-0028 - Notice of Request for a New Information Collection: Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation Survey for FSIS Public Health Partners

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • Hong Kong
  • New Caledonia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan
  • Western Samoa

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