Additional Changes to the Schedule of Operations Regulations
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the meat and poultry products regulations pertaining to the schedule of operations. FSIS is proposing to amend these regulations to define the 8-hour workday as including time that inspection program personnel need to prepare the inspection station, if necessary, or retrieve and return lot tally sheets; the time necessary for FSIS inspection program personnel to sharpen knives, if necessary; and the time necessary to conduct duties scheduled by FSIS, including administrative activities. The activities are integral and indispensable to inspectors' work and are part of the continuous workday as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, they are activities that need to be part of the Agency's regulatory definition for the 8-hour workday.
Notice of Availability and Opportunity for Comments (Establishment Guidance for the Selection of a Commercial or Private Microbiological Testing Laboratory)
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing the availability of policy 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/Regulations_&_ Policies/Compliance_Guides_Index/index.asp#Micro. FSIS encourages establishments that prepare meat, poultry, or processed egg products to follow the criteria in the guidelines in selecting commercial or private microbiological testing laboratories and in determining their capability to provide accurate and reliable results. Regulated establishments are required to enter into commerce food 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 from the laboratory and run the risk of producing food that is unsafe.
National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
This notice is announcing that the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) will hold a meeting of the full Committee by an audio conference call that is open to the public on March 28, 2012. The Committee will discuss: Food Safety Questions from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service to Support Ground Beef Purchase for the Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs. Specifically NACMCF will address food safety questions to assist the 2012-2013 ground beef purchase for the School Lunch Program on microbiological criteria, pathogen testing methodology, and sampling plans.