Constituent Update February 12, 2021

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Tips for a Faster Label Approval Process
Labels are currently taking about 3-5 business days to evaluate.

TIP: Egg product labels are now eligible for generic approval if the label does not meet any of the conditions that require label approval in 9 CFR 412.1.

On October 29, 2020, FSIS published the Egg Products Inspection Regulations final rule (85 FR 68640), which aligns the egg products regulations with current requirements for meat and poultry products. For example, consistent with meat and poultry inspection regulations, the final rule provides for generic approval for egg product labels (9 CFR 590.412). Effective December 28, 2020, establishments are no longer required to submit all egg product labels to FSIS for approval. FSIS approval is now required by 9 CFR 590.411 only for egg product labels that meet the criteria for mandatory FSIS label approval in 9 CFR 412.1, such as labels bearing special statements or claims or applications for temporary label approval. Labels that do not meet any of the criteria in 9 CFR 412.1 are approved generically if the label complies with all applicable labeling regulations as described in 9 CFR 590.412.

Additionally, FSIS will no longer issue the PY-221 form nor provide an egg approval number for egg product label approvals. When FSIS approves egg product labels, the approval will still include an electronically stamped FSIS Form 7234-1, a sketch copy of the label, and any supporting documentation submitted with the label.

The final rule is available on the FSIS website at the following link: Egg Products Inspection Regulations and additional detailed information about the final rule is available in the FSIS presentation Egg Products Inspection Regulations Final Rule.

Establishments may submit questions related to generic label approval or the final rule through askFSIS.

FSIS will continue to provide updates regarding label turnaround time, as well as suggestions to assist industry to streamline label submissions in its Constituent Update.

FSIS to Post Updated Dataset on Import Refusals
On February 16, 2021, FSIS will update the publicly posted dataset on import refusals for products that the Agency regulates. Federal law requires every commercial shipment of imported meat, poultry, and egg products to be re-inspected prior to product entering U.S. commerce. FSIS re-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, or issued a replacement certificate). 

This dataset is updated around the 15th of each month and contains each shipment with product that was refused entry. To access these datasets or view more information about them, please visit the FSIS Datasets page.

FSIS to Hold Webinar on New Functions on Public Health Information System (PHIS)
The Adulterated Product Monitoring (APM) system will become available to industry users with Public Health Information System (PHIS) access beginning March 1, 2021.  APM provides a digital mechanism for industry to report shipping or receiving adulterated or misbranded product.  Industry users will access APM through their PHIS dashboard menu.

A webinar will be held on February 18, 2021 at 11:00am EST, to provide industry with a demonstration of this new module.  For more information about this webinar, please send an email to: [email protected].

FSIS Participating at Agricultural Outlook Forum
The 2021 USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held as a free, virtual event on February 18-19, 2021. This is the agricultural sector’s premiere event. It provides a unique platform for sector leaders and stakeholders to discuss key issues and emerging trends impacting agriculture. The Agricultural Outlook Forum represents all of USDA.

There is a plenary session, 30 breakout sessions, over 100 sector leaders and subject matter experts covering a wide range of topics. On Feb. 19 at 10:00 a.m., FSIS is hosting a panel session, Ensuring Food Safety Through Science, Data and Behavior Change, with a live Q&A period. Panel members represent the retail sector, extension service, a state agriculture agency and FSIS.  FSIS is also hosting a virtual booth where you can chat live with an FSIS representative. Event registration is required.

Being virtual and free for the first time, it is a unique opportunity for many people all over the country to attend the Forum for the first time without travel or fees. The Forum attracts participants each year from government, private sector, stakeholder associations and producers. Nearly 3,500 participants are expected this year.

askFSIS and Small Plant Help Desk (SPHD) to Transfer to New Platform
As we have announced in recent industry calls, on February 19th, 2021, askFSIS and the Small Plant Help Desk (SPHD) will be transferred to a new data management platform.  This change will result in some improvements.  For example, in the new system, askFSIS and SPHD customers can simply submit their question directly from the web interface without the need to create an account or login.  This change will also seamlessly connect askFSIS and the SPHD to Ask USDA and help further improve customer service. 

Existing customers will have until February 18th to save any of their submitted questions. Instructions on how to do so will be added to the askFSIS and SPHD webpages.

FSIS Announcing Publication of Campylobacter Study
FSIS recently published a study, A Comparative History of Campylobacter Contamination on Chicken and Campylobacteriosis Cases in the United States: 1994-2018, that assessed Campylobacter contamination rates on raw chicken over the last 25 years and compared these rates to human campylobacteriosis incidence using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In addition to finding that substantial reductions in contamination have occurred during this period, the study found a downward trend in campylobacteriosis during the late 1990s and early 2000s that mirrored a decline in contaminated chicken around the same time period.  Data used in the study came from FSIS sampling at slaughter establishments and sampling at retail stores by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).

These findings demonstrate progress has been made in reducing Campylobacter contamination on raw intact chicken over the last two decades, as well as support the relationship between pathogen contamination in raw poultry and the occurrence of foodborne illness.

The study is published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology and is available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2021.109075.

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

Australia

Canada

China, The People’s Republic of

Taiwan  

Complete information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/inspection/import-export/export-guidance

Policy Update

FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/policy/fsis-directives-notices The following policy update was

recently issued:

Docket No. FSIS-2021-0002 – Notice of Request for Renewal of an Approved Information Collection (Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products)

 



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