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Constituent Update - June 30, 2017

Federal Register Notice Announcing 100% Reinspection of Imported Fish of the Order Siluriformes

FSIS is announcing in a Federal Register Notice (FRN) that, starting Aug. 2, 2017, all shipments of imported Siluriformes fish and fish products entering the United States must be re-inspected. Starting Aug. 2, 2017, all shipments of imported Siluriformes fish and fish products must be presented at an Official Import Inspection Establishment for reinspection by FSIS personnel.

FSIS was directed to begin reinspecting all imported Siluriformes fish and fish product shipments by the U.S. Congress in its explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, Pub. L. 115-31 Stat. 135, enacted May 5, 2017 and available at https://www.congress.gov/crec/2017/05/03/CREC-2017-05-03-bk2.pdf.

FSIS published the final rule for Siluriformes fish inspection on Dec.2, 2015. The final rule provided for an 18-month transitional period that began on March 1, 2016 and ends Sept. 1, 2017. During the transitional period, FSIS has been working with foreign countries who wish to continue to export Siluriformes fish to the United States.

Consistent with the final rule, beginning Sept.1, 2017, countries that exported Siluriformes fish and fish products to the U.S. and that wished to continue must submit a completed self-reporting tool (SRT) and supporting documentation showing the equivalence of their Siluriformes inspection systems to that of FSIS. The foreign countries and establishments listed on the FSIS website as eligible must submit a complete SRT and supporting documentation by Sept. 1, 2017 to continue exporting Siluriformes fish the United States.

FSIS is encouraging importers and brokers to communicate and coordinate closely with business partners, inspection establishments, and the FSIS District Office in advance of implementation to facilitate full compliance.

The FRN can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/5c8d3f35-95bd-436b-9161-ae5043c9b40b/2017-0024.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

FSIS to Implement PHR Update for Scheduling PHREs

FSIS uses a number of decision criteria described in Directive 5100.4 to prioritize establishments for Public Health Risk Evaluations (PHREs). At the meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) in January 2013, FSIS presented its plans to implement an FSA scheduling criterion called Public Health Regulations (PHRs). In June 2013, FSIS implemented the PHR criterion. Periodic re-analysis of the PHRs is one of the recommendations from the 2013 NACMPI report. This year, FSIS has analyzed the most current data and is revising the list of PHRs as well as the cut-points used. FSIS posted on its website the FY18 list of PHRs and their corresponding cut-points. The Agency will implement this updated set of PHRs at the start of FY18. The PHRs will be used by FSIS to inform inspection personnel when non-compliance with this set of regulations exceeds the lower cutpoint and also to prioritize PHREs when the higher cutpoint is exceeded.

FSIS Provides PRO Grilling Tips for Summer Barbecues  

From Fourth of July cookouts to entertaining visiting relatives, summertime is a season that brings together loved ones and lots of food. Incidents of food poisoning surge during the summer because harmful bacteria multiply more quickly in the hot and humid climate, and more people are cooking outside at picnics, barbeques, and on camping trips away from the conveniences of the kitchen that help them stay safe. Keeping your family and loved ones safe from foodborne illness this summer can mean doing something as simple as using a food thermometer when grilling meat, poultry and fish. Unfortunately, recent research by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that only 24 percent of the public uses a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers and only 42 percent do so when cooking chicken. You can prevent and avoid foodborne illness this summer by following these three easy steps when cooking meat or poultry on the grill:

P—Place the Thermometer!
When you think your food is cooked, check the internal temperature by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat (usually about 1.5 to 2 inches deep). If you are cooking a thinner piece of meat, like chicken breasts or hamburger patties, insert the thermometer from the side. Make sure that the probe reaches the center of the meat.

R—Read the Temperature!
Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate temperature reading. Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry.

  • Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Veal (steaks, roasts, chops) and Fish: 145°F (63°C) with a 3-minute rest time
  • Ground meats: 160°F (71°C)
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165°F (74°C)

O—Off the Grill!
Once the meat and poultry reach their safe minimum internal temperatures, take the food off the grill and place it onto a clean platter.  Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Also, remember to clean your food thermometer probe with hot, soapy water or disposable wipes.

Perishable food should not be left out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90°F), food should never sit out for more than one hour. For more information, you can call 1-888-674-6854 Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, or email or chat at AskKaren.gov.

Reminder: Educational Meetings on the Implementation of Siluriformes Inspection

On June 16, 2017, FSIS announced two educational meetings—the first one occurred on June 27, 2017 in Richmond,Va. and the second is scheduled to take place on July 20, 2017 in Baltimore, Md. The primary objectives of the meetings are to provide updated information to stakeholders and to encourage dialogue between FSIS and the Siluriformes fish industry. FSIS is particularly interested in soliciting participation from representatives from domestic wild-caught operations that process Siluriformes fish and fish products. Affected industry and interested individuals, organizations and other stakeholders are invited to participate in the meetings.

Persons wishing to attend are encouraged to register in advance. The cutoff date for pre-registration for the meeting in Baltimore, Md. is July 18, 2017. The meeting will take place on July 20, 2017 from 9.00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m. ET in Baltimore, Md. at the Sheraton Baltimore Washington International Hotel, located at 1100 Old Elkridge Landing Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. For directions and parking instructions, please visit http://www.sheratonbwiairport.com/. On-site registration will begin at 8.30 a.m. ET.

To pre-register please visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings. For further information, please feel free to contact Evelyn Arce, Outreach and Partnership Division, Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training via telephone (202-418-8903), Fax (202-690-6519) or E-mail: Evelyn.Arce@fsis.usda.gov regarding additional information about these meetings, or to arrange for special accommodations.

E. coli Testing Update 

FSIS posts biweekly updates of the Agency’s raw ground beef E. coli sampling program, which includes testing results of raw ground beef component samples for E. coli O157:H7and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STECs) from FSIS routine and follow-up sampling programs. Data are also presented for non-O157 STECs by each non-O157 STEC serogroup.

Between June 4, 2012 and June 25, 2017, FSIS laboratory services analyzed a total of 19,131 beef trim samples (15,577 domestic and 3,554 imported) 4,072 routine follow-up samples (3,958 domestic and 114 imported) and 364 non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. One hundred and ninety-four samples were found to be positive. 116 were domestic trim samples, 10 were imported trim samples, 64 were domestic follow-up samples and four were non-routine follow-up/traceback samples. To date, three samples have been positive for both O157:H7 and at least one non-O157 STEC strain and 10 samples have been positive for two different non-O157 O-groups.

To review testing results, visit the E. coli data tables at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/ec.

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • Taiwan

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

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:

  • Docket No. FSIS-2017-0024 - Import Reinspection of Fish of the Order Siluriformes