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Nominations sought for meat and poultry committee, meeting scheduled
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture on April 18 announced that it is seeking nominations for membership on the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry inspection (NACMPI), which provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture about the meat and poultry inspection programs. Nominations are being sought from individuals representing producers, processors, marketers, exporters, and importers of meat and poultry products; academia; state government officials; and consumers. Nominations must be submitted by June 30 to M. Glavin at USDA/FSIS, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-3700. NACMPI will hold a public meeting in Arlington, Va., on May 16–17 to discuss proposed changes to FSIS’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations; extending the meat and poultry inspection program to additional species; and Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria developments. The meeting agenda is available at www.fsis.usda.gov/oppde/nacmpi.
New egg safety regulations planned
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration said on April 21 that they are participating in an Egg Safety Action Plan—part of the President’s Council on Food Safety—whose goal is to reduce foodborne illnesses associated with Salmonella enteritidis in chicken eggs by 50% by 2005 and 100% by 2010. The agencies plan to propose new regulations for eggs in fall 2000 and publish a final rule next year.
Grants available to regulatory agencies for food safety programs
FDA is making available $250,000 in grants to food safety regulatory agencies of state and local governments to complement, develop, or improve state and local food regulatory programs that would reduce factors that cause foodborne illness. Deadline for submission of applications is June 12. Details are in the Federal Register of April 12 (65 FR 19774-19776). For more information, contact C.M. Polit (phone 301-827-7180) or R.H. Barnes or Anne Hope Scott (301-827-6906) at FDA, 5600 Fishers Ln., Rockville, MD 20857.
Grants available to universities for food safety programs
USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) is making available $14,277,000 in grants to colleges and universities for agricultural research, extension, and education activities that address food safety. Deadline for submission of proposals is June 6. Details are in the Federal Register of April 7 (65 FR 18837-18849). For more information, contact J. Singleton at USDA/CSREES, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-2220 (phone 202-401-1954).
Web site provides information on meat and poultry labeling procedures
FSIS announced on April 13 that it has established a Web site (www.fsis.usda.gov/oppde/larc) providing detailed labeling information to meat and poultry plants. The site provides essential information on labeling standards, policies, and procedures, including a special section that captures the small business issues. The site has all the information needed to help small food processors with technical and procedural labeling concerns, including the name of the agency staff liaison charged with facilitating resolution of small business issues.
HACCP programs result in substantial reductions in Salmonella
FSIS on March 21 reported substantial reductions in the prevalence of Salmonella in raw meat and poultry products produced under its HACCP-based inspection system at both large and small plants. Results of two years of testing in large plants under HACCP showed a nearly 50% decrease in Salmonella prevalence in young chicken carcasses and swine carcasses from the pre-HACCP baseline results, more than 20% in ground beef, and more than 30% in ground turkey. Results of one year of testing in small plants showed decreases in Salmonella prevalence of more than 40% in ground beef, nearly 20% in young chicken carcasses, and 15% in cow and bull carcasses, but an increase in swine carcasses. Since HACCP implementation, 90% of large plants and 84% of small plants have met Salmonella performance standards.
Antimicrobial agent approved for poultry carcass parts
FDA, in response to a petition filed by Alcide Corp., is allowing use of acidified sodium chlorite solutions as an antimicrobial agent on poultry carcass parts. Details are in the Federal Register of March 28 (65 FR 16312). For more information, contact Robert L. Martin at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204-0001 (phone 202-418-3074).
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN