The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has published Directive 7230.1, Ongoing Verification of Product Formulation and Labeling Targeting the Eight Most Common (“Big 8”) Food Allergens. This directive instructs agency employees how to verify that inspected establishments are controlling and labeling the eight most common allergens. The “Big 8” allergens — wheat, crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, and soybeans – account for approximately 90 percent of food allergy reactions. FSIS was prompted to issue the directive because of an increase in the amount of recalls for products produced in FSIS inspected facilities. Last week alone there were four separate recalls for undeclared allergens totaling over 60,000 lbs. of product. This directive applies to IPP in egg products plants and in meat and poultry product establishments that produce product in the following HACCP categories: (1) Raw – non-intact (03B); (2) Raw – intact (03C); (3) Thermally processed commercially sterile (03D); (4) Not heat-treated, shelf stable (03E); (5) Heat-treated shelf stable (03F); (6) Fully cooked not shelf stable (03G); (7) Heat-treated not fully cooked not shelf stable (03H); and (8) Secondary inhibitors not shelf stable (03I). If you produce product in one or more of these categories then you can expect your inspector to talk with you about this directive at your next weekly meeting, if they have not done so already. Verification is set to begin April 12 and will happen on a monthly basis. Look for the April issue of the AAMPlifier for more in-depth information on the directive.
On January 15, FSIS announced the availability of the agency’s draft Establishment-Specific Data Release Strategic Plan (the draft plan) for sharing data on federally inspected meat and poultry establishments with the public. FSIS developed the plan in response to memoranda released by President Obama and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that called for increased data sharing.
The data to be released first will be demographic datasets for all regulated establishments (expanding the data currently available through the FSIS Meat, Poultry, and Egg Inspection Directory). “Demographics” here refers to identifying characteristics of meat and poultry establishments that are subject to FSIS inspection. These include, but are not limited to, the following variables: Establishments’ “HACCP size”– large, small, or very small; products the establishment produces; and their USDA official establishment number.
At a later date, FSIS will release agency datasets on testing data on Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in raw, non-intact beef products and on Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella in RTE products. Additional Agency datasets FSIS intends to release include, but are not limited to, testing and serotype data on Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and young turkeys; Salmonella and Campylobacter in comminuted poultry; Salmonella in raw ground beef; routine chemical residue testing data in meat and poultry products; advanced meat recovery (AMR) testing data. These preliminary agency datasets will not all be released at the same time and before releasing the final datasets. FSIS will publish a Constituent Update with a link to a sample dataset for stakeholder review.
Besides the preliminary datasets that the agency will be releasing, as stated in the draft plan, FSIS is considering additional data sources for future release. These include: inspection task data associated with verification of compliance with each regulation; humane handling task data; and import sampling task data relating to STEC, Salmonella and residue testing.
FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on the draft data release plan. What this means is that data that is currently available by written request through the Freedom of Information Act will become available online on a USDA website. If you would like to comment on proposed release of data, comments may be submitted by one of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments. Mail, CD-ROMs: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
USDA UPDATE: March 9, 2015
FSIS is extending the comment period by 30 days for the Federal Register notice “Establishment-Specific Data Release Strategic Plan” (80 FR 2092; Jan. 15, 2015). The notice announced the availability of the Agency’s draft plan for sharing establishment-specific data with the public. The original deadline to submit comments was March 16; the new deadline to submit comments is April 15. Comments on the notice may be submitted by either of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov or via mail, including CD-ROMs, etc., to Docket Room Manager, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700. Hand- or courier-deliver submittals should be delivered to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. St., SW, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700. To view the notice, click here.