Codex Alimentarius Commission: 2nd Session of the Codex ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance
The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are sponsoring a public meeting on September 25, 2008, to discuss the agenda items coming before the 2nd session of the Codex ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and to present draft U.S. positions on the agenda items. The 2nd session of the AMR will be held in Seoul, Korea, October 20-24, 2008. The Under Secretary and FDA recognize the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to comment on the agenda items that will be discussed at this forthcoming session of AMR.
Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses
The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), are sponsoring a public meeting on September 24, 2008. 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 30th Session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), which will be held in Capetown, South Africa, on November 3- November 7, 2008. In addition, a working group will meet on November 1, 2008, to discuss agenda items on the Scientific Basis of Health Claims and Nutrient Reference Values for food labeling purposes, and any other matters related to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health which are under consideration by the CCNFSDU. The Under Secretary for Food Safety and FDA recognize the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 30th Session of CCNFSDU and to address items on the agenda.
Revised FSIS Testing Methodology for Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that, since January 28, 2008, its laboratories have implemented a revised laboratory methodology for detecting and identifying E. coli O157:H7 in regulatory verification samples. This new method can be found in the Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG), Chapter 5.04.
Accredited Laboratory Program
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is revising, editing, and consolidating provisions of the standards and procedures for the accreditation of non-Federal analytical chemistry laboratories. Laboratories in the Accredited Laboratory Program (ALP) are accredited to analyze official meat and poultry samples for (1) specific chemical residues or classes of chemical residues, and (2) moisture, protein, fat, and salt. In particular, FSIS is amending its current regulations regarding the accreditation of non-Federal analytical chemistry laboratories to accommodate the adoption of newer methods for analyzing chemical residues and to correct some data. In addition, FSIS is making editorial changes to its accredited laboratory regulations to reflect Agency reorganizations and program changes and to improve the clarity and consistency of application for all laboratories participating in the ALP. Finally, FSIS is consolidating the accredited laboratory regulations from 9 CFR 318.21 of the meat inspection regulations and 9 CFR 381.153 of the poultry products inspection regulations into a single new part, 9 CFR part 439.
Determining Net Weight Compliance for Meat and Poultry Products
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending its regulations to reference the most recent version of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 133 that contains standards for determining the reasonable variations allowed for the declared net weight on labels of immediate containers of meat and poultry products; the procedures to be used to determine the net weight and net weight compliance of meat and poultry products; and related definitions. The Agency is also consolidating the separate net weight regulations for meat and poultry products in a new CFR part, applicable to both meat and poultry products. This final rule does not incorporate by reference sections in Handbook 133 that concern the ``wet tare'' method for determining net weight. The ``wet tare'' method does not include free-flowing liquid as part of the product but as part of the tare weight. The Agency regards any solutions that are added to meat or poultry to be part of the product and considers free-flowing liquids to be an integral component of these products, and therefore uses the ``dry tare'', not the ``wet tare'' method.
Irradiation as a Processing Aid
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that it has received a petition from the American Meat Institute (AMI) to recognize the use of low penetration and low dose electron beam irradiation on the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid. Based on its consideration of the data and information contained in the petition, FSIS believes that the petition has merit. FSIS will hold a public meeting on September 18, 2008, to review the information contained in the petition and to receive public comments on what action it should take with respect to the petition. A copy of the petition is available on the FSIS Web site.
Allowing Bar-Type Cut Turkey Operations To Use J-Type Cut Maximum Line Speeds
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the Federal poultry products inspection regulations to provide that turkey slaughter establishments that open turkey carcasses with Bar-type cuts may operate at the maximum line speeds established for J-type cuts if the establishment uses the specific type of shackle described in this final rule. Under this final rule, as under current regulations, the inspector in charge will reduce line speeds when, in his or her judgment, the prescribed inspection procedure cannot be adequately performed within the time available because of the health conditions of a particular flock or because of other factors. Such factors include the manner in which birds are being presented to the inspector and the level of contamination among the birds on the line.
Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Meat and Poultry Products
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that it did not conduct a review of the interim final rule, Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products, in 2007 as stated in its amended schedule plan for reviewing regulations under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended. The Agency has decided to wait until it publishes a final rule in this proceeding before amending its plan so it can conduct a review of that final rule instead of the interim final rule.