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Constituent Update - August 4, 2017

Secretary Perdue Appoints New Leadership for Food Safety

On Aug. 1, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made two key appointments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. Perdue announced that Carmen Rottenberg was selected as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). FSIS’ mission to protect public health is critical, and our work to protect public health will continue with the new leadership. For more information, please visit https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2017/08/01/secretary-perdue-appoints-new-leadership-food-safety.

FSIS Announces Additional Educational Meeting on the Implementation of Siluriformes Inspection

FSIS is announcing an additional educational meeting on Aug. 24, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn., to discuss the enforcement and implementation of the Final Rule on the “Mandatory Inspection of Fish of the order Siluriformes and Products Derived from such Fish.” As with the previous meetings in Virginia and Maryland, 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 is Aug. 22, 2017. The  meeting will be held on Aug. 24, 2017 from 9:00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m. CT in Memphis, TN, at the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport and Convention Center, located at 2240 Democrat Rd., Memphis, TN. On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. CT.

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

Food Safety Discovery Zone Promotes Food Safety at the Nevada County Fair 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) continues its national food safety educational tour with an exhibition at the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley, Calif., from Aug. 9-13, 2017. The FSDZ is a 40-foot long exhibit that provides visitors of all ages with interactive and fun experiences that teach them how to prevent foodborne illness when preparing food at home.

This one of a kind, interactive food safety exhibit is visiting the Nevada County Fair for the first time. The FSDZ teaches visitors how to prevent foodborne illness by emphasizing four fun and easy lessons:

  • Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook: Always use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Chill: Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry and egg products promptly.

Food safety experts will be on hand to answer questions from Aug. 9-13 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information, visit http://nevadacountyfair.com/about/maps-and-directions.

Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives at USDA

On July 17, 2017, USDA published a request for information, “Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives,” in pursuant with Executive Order 13777—Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. USDA is requesting ideas from the public on how to provide better customer service and remove unintended barriers to participation in our programs in ways that least interfere with our customers and allow us to accomplish our mission. USDA is asking for public ideas on regulations, guidance documents, or any other policy documents that are in need of reform, for example, ideas to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal those items.

Comments and information are requested on or before July 17, 2018. USDA will review comments in four batches over a one-year period. The cut-off period for comments for the first, second, third and fourth batches are Sept. 15, 2017, Nov. 14, 2017, Feb.12, 2018 and July 17, 2018, respectively.

Comments can be submitted the following two ways:

  • Electronic Submission of Comments: you may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.  
  • Submission of Comments by Mail, Hand delivery, or Courier: paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions should be submitted to regulations@obpa.usda.gov, Office of Budget and Program Analysis, USDA, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 101-A, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, D.C. 20250.

For proper delivery, in your comment specify “Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives.” For more information, please visit https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/17/2017-14920/identifying-regulatory-reform-initiatives.

FSIS Posts Next Set of Establishment Specific Datasets

FSIS is preparing to publish the next set of establishment specific datasets as announced in the Federal Register on July 14, 2016 (Docket No. FSIS-2014-0032). Prior to publishing these datasets, FSIS is making sample datasets available. The sample dataset and corresponding data dictionary on raw beef components sampling results can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/data.  Please visit http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments to Docket FSIS-2014-0032 by Sept. 15, 2017. FSIS intends to publish the final dataset on Oct. 6, 2017.

Additional details can be found in the FSIS Establishment-Specific Data Release Strategic Plan.

FSIS Schedules Industry Webinar for Roll-out of Egg Products Plant Food Safety Assessments

In the March 3, 2017 Constituent Update, FSIS announced its plans to begin a phased roll-out of the Public Health Risk Evaluation (PHRE) and Food Safety Assessment (FSA) methodologies in egg products plants, similar to meat and poultry, and sought comments on the concept and phased roll-out. FSIS received four comments from a single egg products association and has thoroughly considered the comments provided. The Constituent Update stated that FSIS would not conduct any PHREs or FSAs until the comment period closed and a public webinar was held.

FSIS is now announcing the public webinar to describe the phased roll-out and how the PHRE methodology and FSA methodology will be applied at egg products plants to address comments received, and to answer any questions. The webinar will be held on Aug. 9, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. People who wish to attend in person can do so at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Whitten Building, 1400 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.

To register for this event, please send an email to: Buckley.Mckay@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 for the webinar will be sent closer to the date to registered participants attending by teleconference.

Export Requirements Updates

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

  • Cuba
  • European Union
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • United Arab Emirates

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 https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations. The following policy update was recently issued:

  • Notice 41-17 - FY 2017 USDA Travel Credit Card Training