Availability of Guidance: Establishments Guidance for the Selection of a Commercial or Private Microbiological Testing Laboratory
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing the availability of final guidance for federally inspected establishments in the selection of commercial and private microbiological testing laboratories. FSIS has posted this policy guidance on its Web page http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/ topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index. FSIS encourages establishments that prepare meat, poultry, or processed egg products to consider the criteria in the guidance in selecting commercial or private microbiological testing laboratories and in determining the laboratories' capability to produce accurate and reliable results. Regulated establishments are required to introduce into commerce only meat, poultry, or processed egg products that are safe and not adulterated or misbranded. Establishments that select laboratories that do not apply appropriate testing methods or maintain effective Quality Control or Quality Assurance (QC/QA) practices may not receive reliable or useful test results and thus run the risk of not being aware that the food that they have produced is unsafe.
International Standard-Setting Activities
This notice informs the public of the sanitary and phytosanitary standard-setting activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), in accordance with section 491 of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended, and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, Public Law 103-465, 108 Stat. 4809. This notice also provides a list of other standard-setting activities of Codex, including commodity standards, guidelines, codes of practice, and revised texts. This notice, which covers the time periods from June 1, 2012, to May 31, 2013, and June 1, 2013, to May 31, 2014, seeks comments on standards under consideration and recommendations for new standards.
Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food
The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are sponsoring a public meeting on August 5, 2013. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States positions that will be discussed at the 21st Session of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), which will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from August 26- 30, 2013. The Under Secretary for Food Safety and the Food and Drug Administration recognize the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 21st Session of CCRVDF, and to address items on the agenda.
Descriptive Designation for Needle- or Blade-Tenderized (Mechanically Tenderized) Beef Products
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to require the use of the descriptive designation ``mechanically tenderized'' on the labels of raw or partially cooked needle- or blade- tenderized beef products, including beef products injected with marinade or solution, unless such products are destined to be fully cooked at an official establishment. Beef products that have been needle- or- blade-tenderized are referred to as ``mechanically tenderized'' products. FSIS is proposing that the product name for such beef products include the descriptive designation ``mechanically tenderized'' and an accurate description of the beef component. By including this descriptive designation consumers will be informed that this product is non-intact. Non-intact products need to be fully cooked in order to be rendered free of pathogenic bacteria because bacteria may become translocated from the surface of the meat during mechanical tenderization. FSIS is also proposing that the print for all words in the descriptive designation as the product name appear in the same style, color, and size and on a single-color contrasting background. In addition, FSIS is proposing to require that labels of raw and partially cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products destined for household consumers, hotels, restaurants, or similar institutions include validated cooking instructions that inform consumers that these products need to be cooked to a specified minimum internal temperature, and whether they need to be held at that minimum temperature for a specified time before consumption, i.e., dwell time or rest time, to ensure that they are fully cooked. Based on the scientific evidence that indicates that mechanically tenderized beef products need to be cooked more thoroughly than intact beef products, FSIS is proposing these amendments to the regulations. FSIS is also announcing that it has posted on its Web site guidance for developing validated cooking instructions for mechanically tenderized product. The recommendations in the guidance document are based on the results from published research designed to identify minimum internal temperature and time combinations sufficient to render a product and studies designed to validate cooking instructions.