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Constituent Update - May 12, 2017

FSIS Publishes Educational Labeling Tool Applicable to Shipments of Imported Siluriformes Fish

FSIS has posted an educational tool on its labeling requirements for imported Siluriformes fish and fish products. The tool can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/inspection/siluriformes/labeling. If you have additional questions regarding Siluriformes fish inspection, please send an email to askfish@fsis.usda.gov.

FSIS Posts Updated Dataset on Imports

On May 15, 2017, FSIS will update the publicly posted dataset on import refusals for products regulated by FSIS. 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 in February 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.

Retail Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) Pilot Project Update

As part of the FSIS Strategic Plan, FY 2017-2021, FSIS is tracking whether retailers are following all eight of the most important recommended actions identified in the FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Lm in Retail Delicatessens (FSIS Retail Lm Guidance).  The eight recommendations include:

1. Eliminate visibly adulterated product present in the retail deli;
2. Refrigerate ready-to-eat (RTE) meat or poultry products promptly after use;
3. Do not prepare, hold, or store RTE meat or poultry products near or directly adjacent to raw products in the deli case or elsewhere in the deli area;
4. Cover, wrap, or otherwise protect all opened RTE meat or poultry products when not in use to prevent cross-contamination;
5. Ensure that insanitary conditions (e.g., flies, rodent droppings, mold, or dirty surfaces) are not present where RTE meat and poultry products are prepared, packed, and held;
6. Clean and sanitize equipment used to process RTE products at least every four hours;
7. Eliminate facility conditions in the deli area or storage area that could cause the products to become adulterated (e.g., condensation dripping on exposed product, construction dust or broken equipment); and
8. Require deli employees handling RTE products to wear disposable gloves.

Previously, FSIS tracked this measure using the percent of recommendations that retailers followed in four categories: product handling, cleaning and sanitizing, facility and equipment controls, and employee practices. Under the FY2017-2021 Strategic Plan, FSIS changed the way the target is measured to focus on the percent of retailers meeting all eight of the most important recommendations. Specifically, the FY 2021 target is to have 64% of retailers following all eight of the most important recommendations and the FY 2017 target is 60% of retailers following these recommendations. As of FY 2017 Q2, FSIS is on track to meet its FY 17 target with 62.6% of retailers following these eight recommendations. These targets were set from baseline information showing that 59% of retailers surveilled between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2016 were following all eight of these recommended actions. 

FSIS plans to continue to analyze the data on a quarterly basis and announce the information in the Constituent Update.

Retailers can refer questions regarding the Lm pilot project to the Risk, Innovations, and Management Staff through askFSIS or by telephone at 1-800-233-3935. When submitting a question, retailers should use the ‘Submit a Question tab’ and enter “Retail Lm” in the subject field.

2017 Census of Agriculture Will Be Released Soon 

In just a few months, America’s farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to represent U.S. agriculture by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Only conducted every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. The census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation.

Census results are valuable to those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers and more. Answers to the census help grow a farm’s future, shape farm programs and boost services for communities and the industry.

Responding to the census has never been easier. Producers will receive their Census of Agriculture questionnaires this December. They will have the option to respond online or by mail. Improved this year, the online census form is convenient, dynamic and user-friendly. It is accessible on any electronic device, calculates totals automatically and skips questions that do not pertain to the operation. Try the demo questionnaire at www.agcensus.usda.gov today. 

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June.

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data are used, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540. Remember, the Census of Agriculture is Your Voice, Your Future, Your Opportunity.

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 update was recently issued:

  • Notice 26-17 - Sampling Imported Brazilian Raw Beef Product Assigned an E. coli O157:H7 MT51 Type of Inspection at an Increased Level of Reinspection
  • Directive 7120.1 Rev. 41 - Safe and Suitable Ingredients Used in the Production of Meat, Poultry and Egg Products

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/

Sign Up for Siluriformes Fish Inspection Email Updates

Want the latest news and information about Siluriformes fish inspection? FSIS’ email subscription service is an easy way to keep up with Agency news. You can receive e-mail notifications when new Siluriformes fish inspection information is posted. You can add or delete your subscription updates at any time and you have the option to password protect your account. For more information, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe.