Neil Mermelstein

Neil H. Mermelstein

FSIS asks FDA to increase irradiation dosage for poultry products
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has asked the Food and Drug Administration to increase the maximum dose of ionizing radiation permitted in the treatment of poultry products, include specific language intended to clarify the poultry products covered by the regulations, and remove the limitation that any packaging used during irradiation of poultry shall not exclude oxygen. Details are in the Federal Register of Dec. 21 (64 FR 71461). For more information, contact R.H. Alrefai at FDA, 200 C St. S.W., Washington, DC 20204, 202-418-3034.

FSIS asks FDA to allow irradiation of unrefrigerated meat products
FSIS has asked FDA to allow use of a 4.5-kGy maximum dose of ionizing radiation to treat unrefrigerated (as well as refrigerated) uncooked meat, meat products, and certain meat food products to reduce levels of foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life. The current regulations provide for the use of a maximum dose of 4.5 kGy to treat refrigerated products only. Details are in the Federal Register of Dec. 22 (64 FR 71792-71793). For more information, contact R.H. Alrefai at FDA, 200 C St. S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3034).

FSIS amends irradiation regulations for meat products
FSIS is allowing use of ionizing radiation for treating refrigerated or frozen, uncooked meat, meat by-products, and certain other meat food products to reduce levels of foodborne pathogens and to extend shelf life. FSIS also is revising the regulations governing irradiation of poultry products to make them consistent with those governing irradiation of meat food products. Details are in the Federal Register of Dec. 23 (64 FR 246). For more information, contact D.L. Engeljohn at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250 (phone 202-720-5627).

FSIS harmonizes its irradiation regulations with those of FDA
FSIS is amending its meat and poultry products inspection regulations to harmonize and improve the efficiency of the procedures used by FSIS and FDA for reviewing and listing or approving the use of food ingredients and sources of radiation in the production of meat and poultry products. FDA will list in its regulations in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations food ingredients and sources of radiation that are safe for use in the production of meat and poultry products. Requests for approval to use food ingredients and sources of radiation not currently permitted under Title 9 or Title 21 in the production of meat and poultry products will have to be submitted to FDA. Details are in the Federal Register of Dec. 23 (64 FR 72167-72194). For more information, contact R.C. Post at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250-3700 (phone 202-205-0279).

NFPA petitions FDA for irradiation of various foods
The National Food Processors Association, on behalf of The Food Irradiation Coalition, has asked FDA to allow use of ionizing radiation for control of foodborne pathogens, and extension of shelf life, in a variety of human foods up to a maximum irradiation dosage of 4.5 kGy for non-frozen and non-dry products and 10.0 kGy for frozen or dry products. The petition does not cover products composed in whole or in part of raw meat, poultry, or fish, nor does it cover “ready-to-eat” fish products or ingredients made from fish. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 5 (65 FR 493). For more information, contact L.A. Highbarger at FDA, 200 C St. S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3032).

Most countries meet U.S. food safety equivalency requirements
FSIS on Dec. 14 announced that it has completed its review of the countries that export meat and poultry products to the U.S. to determine the equivalence of food safety systems to new U.S. regulations. Of the 37 countries evaluated, 32 have implemented equivalent pathogen reduction/HACCP requirements. Paraguay is currently suspended for both insanitary establishment conditions and for failing to implement E. coli requirements. Guatemala, Honduras, Slovenia, and the Dominican Republic voluntarily delisted all establishments certified for export to the U.S. while they continue to implement pathogen reduction/HACCP systems. In addition, FSIS has published its response to comments regarding the process for evaluating foreign meat and poultry inspection systems. Details are in the Federal Register of Dec. 17 (64 FR 70690-70693). For more information, contact C. Danford at USDA’s International Policy Division (phone 202-720-6400).

FDA defines structure/function claims for dietary supplements
FDA has defined the types of statements that can be made concerning the effect of a dietary supplement on the structure or function of the body. This action is intended to clarify the types of claims that may be made for dietary supplements without prior review by FDA and the types of claims that require prior authorization as health claims or as drug claims. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 6 (65 FR 999-1050). For more information, contact A.M. Witt at FDA, 5600 Fishers Ln., Rockville, MD 20857 (phone 301-827-0084).

by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN 
Senior Editor

About the Author

IFT Fellow
Editor Emeritus of Food Technology
[email protected]
Neil Mermelstein