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Update Date
Mar 21, 2017 11:18:26 AM
Risk Information Division

[USA] Constituent Update - March 17, 2017 (2017-03-17)

FSIS to Hold a PHIS Export Technical Meeting for Industry Stakeholders

FSIS will be conducting its second webinar on the Public Health Information System (PHIS) electronic export application and approval process. The event will be held on Monday, March 27, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Westin Washington, D.C. City Center hotel located at 1400 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. This technical webinar will focus on the application batching process for the planned June 2017 implementation of the export functionality in PHIS.

To register for this event, please send an email to: nina.anand@fsis.usda.gov. Please provide your name, name of company, mailing address, contact number, and email address, and indicate if you plan on attending in person or by teleconference.

Call-in information will be sent to registered participants who desire to attend by teleconference.

Recap of FSIS Public Meeting on Allergens

On March 16, 2017, FSIS—with participation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), international partners and academic institutions—hosted a public meeting in Washington, D.C. that discussed the prevention and control of undeclared allergens in FSIS-regulated products. The meeting addressed the continued occurrence of product recalls due to undeclared allergens, strategic approaches and best practices for prevention and control of allergens as a public health threat.

The agenda and the presentations can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/meetings-archive/2017-meetings/agenda-allergens-031617. More presentations will be posted on the website as they become available.

Modifications to Food Defense Tasks in PHIS

FSIS has made several changes to food defense tasks performed by Inspection Program Personnel (IPP). Starting on April 1, 2017, IPP will perform one more comprehensive task per quarter rather than the four food defense tasks per month. The new task questions address new and emerging threats and vulnerabilities, such as those related to cyber security or disgruntled employees. This will allow the Agency to gain a better understanding of food defense practices that are being implemented, will help guide food defense outreach and education and allow FSIS to assess preparedness with respect to the threat of intentional contamination. The task data will be used to inform Measure 1.1.4 of the FSIS 2017 – 2021 Strategic Plan, which tracks the percentage of establishments that maintain food defense practices. In addition to the changes made to food defense tasks, IPP will no longer be required to perform the annual food defense plan survey.

FSIS has developed a number of tools and resources, including the FSIS Food Defense Risk Mitigation Tool and a Food Defense Plan template, to assist industry with identifying food defense practices that may help prevent intentional contamination of their product. These resources can be found by visiting www.fsis.usda.gov/fooddefense. Questions regarding the new task should be sent to the Food Defense Assessment Staff at FoodDefense@fsis.usda.gov.

FSIS Updates the RTE Testing Program Report

FSIS has updated the regulatory microbiological testing program report for Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat and poultry products for calendar year 2016. Previous RTE reports from 2015 and before can be easily accessed in the drop down menu. The RTE testing program results can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/testing-program-for-rte-meat-and-poultry-products/testing-program-rte. All questions should be submitted to http://askfsis.custhelp.com.

FSIS Posts Updated Dataset on Imports

The updated dataset on import refusals for products regulated by FSIS is now available on the FSIS website. Federal law requires every commercial shipment of imported meat, poultry and egg products to be inspected prior to product entering U.S. commerce. FSIS inspects each shipment to verify labeling, proper certification, general condition, any signs of tampering and to identify product adulterated by transportation damage. FSIS also performs additional activities on a random and/or for-cause basis, such as physical product examination and laboratory sampling for pathogens and chemical residues.

Any product that does not meet FSIS requirements is refused entry and the importer has up to 45 days (30 days for egg products) to have the product destroyed for use as human food, re-exported/returned to the foreign country, converted to animal food or brought into compliance with FSIS requirements if applicable (e.g. relabeled, remarked, replacement certificate). This dataset contains each shipment with product that was refused entry. FSIS began posting the dataset last month and will continue to update the dataset around the 15th of each month.

For more information, please visit https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/data.

Monthly Robust Systematic Approach Verification for Humane Handling to Begin in April

On April 1, 2017, FSIS will be implementing Notice 04 -17, Assessment and Verification Reviews of an Official Livestock Establishment’s Robust Systematic Approach Plan for Humane Handling and Slaughter. The Notice requires Public Health Veterinarians (PHVs) to complete a questionnaire each month in PHIS (the PHV task) to make the determination whether or not an establishment is operating under a robust systematic approach (RSA) for humane handling. PHVs will inform the establishment of these results. FSIS believes that more frequent checks on the slaughter establishments’ RSA for humane handling will enhance compliance with humane handling, statutes, regulations and policies. Additionally, this new policy supports the FSIS Strategic Plan 2017-2021, Goal 2: Modernize Inspection Systems, Policies, and the Use of Scientific Approaches, Objective 2.1.2—Increase Adoption of Humane Handling Best Practices. The questions that make up the PHV task will be posted publically on or before April 1.

FSIS Posts Aggregate Results for Chicken Parts, Comminuted Poultry and Poultry Carcasses Tested for Salmonella and Campylobacter

On March 20, 2017, FSIS will update the publicly posted aggregate sampling results (not individual establishments) 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 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/salmonella-verification-testing-program.

FSIS intends to resume individual establishment category web postings in the future. This will occur once the Agency receives more results of follow-up sampling from Category three establishments that have been used to help assess establishment corrective actions.

Policy Updates

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:
•Notice 17-17 - Sampling Imported Raw Beef Product Assigned an E.coli O157:H7 MT51 Type of Inspection at an Increased Level of Reinspection
•Notice 18-17 - Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Alert
•Directive 5420.1 Revision 10 - Food Defense Tasks and Threat Notification Response Procedures for the Office of Field Operations
•Directive 7120.1 - Safe and Suitable Ingredients Used in the Production of Meat, Poultry and Egg Products

Export Requirements Updates

The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following countries:
•Costa Rica
•Republic of Korea

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/.