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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Constituent Update - May 31, 2019

FSIS Removes Jambalaya from the Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book

In response to a petition filed by McCormick & Company, Inc., FSIS has decided to remove jambalaya from the Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book. For a product to be labeled as jambalaya, it will need to contain amenable levels of meat or poultry and the label must include a common or usual name (e.g., chicken and shrimp jambalaya). Previously, FSIS’ policy book required that jambalaya contain 25% cooked ham. The decision to remove jambalaya from the policy book was made because there are several variations and styles of jambalaya in the marketplace, which make it difficult to have one single standard for the dish. Removing the jambalaya entry from the policy book will better accommodate variations in products identified as jambalaya.

FSIS Names New Director for International Liaison Office in Beijing

Ronnie Dunn has been selected as the Director for FSIS’ International Liaison Office in Beijing. Ronnie has been with FSIS since 1984 when he began as a poultry and red meat slaughter inspector. Over the past 35 years, Ronnie has served as a Food Technologist, Processing Inspector, Compliance Investigator, Supervisory Investigator, and a Frontline Supervisor. From his roles in the field, Ronnie has extensive experience in slaughter, and processing inspection of meat and poultry products, as well as import and exports. Most recently, Ronnie has served as Director of Internal Affairs for FSIS where he was responsible for conducting investigations and assessments throughout the United States, some of which have led to criminal convictions and resulted in major public health food recalls.

Label Backlog Update and Tips for the Label Approval Process

FSIS is currently experiencing a delay of about 23-24 business days in evaluations for labels that require review prior to use. By providing industry with label application submission tips and suggestions via the Constituent Update, FSIS is hopeful that it will achieve a faster, more efficient label evaluation process.

TIP: Label applications with animal raising claims must include a written description of the product tracing and segregation mechanisms.

When an establishment applies labels bearing animal raising claims such as “grass fed” or “no antibiotics administered” to meat and poultry products, the label application musts include documentation that ensures that the source material used in that product is eligible to bear the claim. Furthermore, if the establishment handles both product that meets the criteria to bear the label claim (conforming product) and other product that does not (non-conforming product) at the same location, the establishment needs to support that it avoids commingling the products. For example, the establishment must take extra care to ensure that shared equipment is adequately cleaned. At a minimum, establishments will need to employ handling, labeling, and segregation procedures to guarantee that conforming and non-conforming products are not commingled, which will help maintain the integrity of the claims on the label.

In order to achieve faster label approval, labels with animal raising claims must include the necessary information about product tracing and segregation. For FSIS to approve these claims, the application needs to include:

  • a written description of the product tracing/segregation mechanism from time of slaughter or further processing through packaging and wholesale or retail distribution; and
  • a written description for the identification, control, and segregation of non-conforming animals/product.

Note that if the claim is certified by a third-party organization and product tracing and segregation are conditions of the certification, it would not be necessary for the establishment to submit to FSIS the above documentation. However, in this situation, the company would need to provide FSIS a current copy of their certificate with the label application.

For further guidance on segregation protocols and other supporting documentation, please see the FSIS Compliance Guidance “Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions” at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/6fe3cd56-6809-4239-b7a2-bccb82a30588/RaisingClaims.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Signatures for Vietnam Export Certification Documents

What type of signature should be applied to export certification documents (FSIS Form 9060-5, continuation pages, and letterhead certificate) for products to be exported to Vietnam? FSIS recently posted a response to this question in askFSIS. The agency will sign all export certification documents for Vietnam (FSIS Form 9060-5, any continuation pages, and any required letterhead certificates) with a wet ink signature and, importantly, the wet ink signatures on letterhead certificates and the FSIS Form 9060-5 are to match.

For additional information, inspection program personnel are to follow the instructions provided in FSIS Directive 13,000.5, Public Health Information System Export Certification. The answer to the question in askFSIS can be found here https://askfsis.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2054.

FSIS to Expand Establishment Specific Datasets

FSIS is preparing to expand the establishment-specific datasets on laboratory sampling results to add data on serotype, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), whole genome sequencing (WGS), and anti­microbial resistance (AMR). These laboratory sampling results datasets were first released as announced in the Federal Register on July 14, 2016 (Docket No. FSIS-2014-0032). Prior to publishing the expanded datasets, FSIS is making a sample dataset available and is seeking comment on it. The sample dataset and corresponding updated data documentation can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/data/datasets-laboratory-sampling. Please visit http://www.regula­tions.gov/ and follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments on the sample dataset and data documentation to Docket No. FSIS-2014-0032 by July 12, 2019. FSIS intends to publish the final datasets on July 26, 2019. Additional details can be found in the FSIS Establishment-Specific Data Release Strategic Plan.

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 16-19 - Fiscal Year 2019 - Continuing Education Program
  • Directive 5220.1 - Granting or Refusing Inspection Voluntary Suspending or Withdrawing Inspection and Reinstating Inspection Under PHIS
  • Directive 1450.1 - Freedom of Information and Privacy Act - Revision 5
  • Directive 10900.1 Rev. 1 - Office of Public Health Science, Science and Technology Seminar Series

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • New Caledonia
  • Japan

Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products