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May discontinue grading of imported meat products
On July 21, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture announced that it would propose later this summer to restrict the USDA grading of imported beef, lamb, veal, and calf products. Kathleen A. Merrigan, administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, said, “The proposed rule will assure U.S. consumers that the USDA grade shield only appears on meat products from livestock processed in the United States.” The National Cattleman’s Beef Association and the American Sheep Industry Association had requested in 1999 that USDA end the official grading of imported meat products, and USDA solicited comments on the issue in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published earlier this year.
Agencies seek input on egg safety approaches
The Food and Drug Administration and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service have announced the availability of their current thinking papers on national standards to ensure egg safety from farm to table. The documents discuss approaches to the production of shell eggs, processing and packaging of shell eggs and egg products, and retail sale of shell eggs, including immediate consumption, such as in a restaurant, intended to reduce the risk of consumer exposure to Salmonella enteritidis. The papers and the Egg Safety Action Plan are available on the Internet at www.foodsafety.gov. Deadline for comments is Aug. 14. Details are in the Federal Register of July 11 (65 FR 42707-42709). For more information, contact N. Bufano at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (202-401-2022) or A. Thaler (202-690-2683) or M. Workman (202-720-3219) at FSIS, Washington, DC 20250.
Irradiation of shell eggs approved
FDA is amending its food additive regulations to allow use of ionizing radiation at levels not to exceed 3.0 kGy for the reduction of Salmonella in fresh shell eggs, in response to a petition filed by Edward S. Josephson. Deadline for written objections and requests for a hearing is Aug. 21. For more information, contact W.J. Trotter at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3088).
Use of “fresh” labeling with nonthermal processes discussed
FDA is seeking input as to whether the use of the term “fresh” is truthful and not misleading on foods processed with alternative nonthermal technologies such as high-pressure processing, pulsed electric field, pulsed light, submerged arc, and filtration. FDA contracted with IFT to review and evaluate the effectiveness of these technologies in reducing and inactivating pathogens. IFT’s report, “Kinetics of Microbial Inactivation for Alternative Food Processing Technologies,” is available at www.cfsan.fda.gov. Deadline for comments is Aug. 21. Details are in the Federal Register of July 3 (65 FR 41029-41031). For more information, contact G.A. June at FDA, 200 C St. SW., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-4168).
Input into FDA priorities for fiscal year 2001 sought
FDA is requesting comments concerning the establishment of program priorities for its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for fiscal year 2001. Deadline for comments is Aug. 25. Details are in the Federal Register of June 26 (65 FR 39415-39416). For more information, contact D.J. Carrington at FDA, 200 C St., SW Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-260-5290).
Research funds available
FDA is announcing the availability of $600,000 in funds for fiscal year 2000 to support research in produce safety, egg safety, development of extraction procedures of foodborne viruses from foods to enhance detection, and foodservice, transportation, and consumer practices. Deadline for applications is Aug. 24. Details are in the Federal Register of July 10 (65 FR 42382-42386). For more information, contact M. Miliotis at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-4824).
Establishment of Daily Value for added sugars requested
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has asked FDA to establish a Daily Reference Value of 40 g for added sugars with a corresponding Daily Value, require the declaration of added sugars, and revise criteria pertaining to nutrient content claims and health claims. Deadline for comments is Sept. 25. Details are in the Federal Register of June 26 (65 FR 39414-39415). For more information, contact K. Smith at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-5372).
Premarket notification process for food contact substances proposed
FDA is proposing to implement a premarket notification process for food contact substances. Deadline for comments is Sept. 26. Details are in the Federal Register of July 13 (65 FR 43269-43284). For more information, contact M. Cheeseman at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3083).
Annual list of guidance documents published
FDA has published its annual list of all its current guidance documents. Details are in the Federal Register of July 21 (65 FR 45427-45510). For more information, contact L.D. Caldwell at FDA, 5600 Fishers Ln., Rockville, MD 20857 (phone 301-827-7010).
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN