Agencies help promote National Food Safety Education MonthSM
FDA and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture have joined with the restaurant and foodservice industry in promoting September 2000 as National Food Safety Education Month (NFSEM). It is sponsored by the International Food Safety Council, which was founded by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in 1993. Now in its sixth year, NFSEM has become a major food safety education focus for government and consumer organizations, as well as industry. President Clinton’s National Food Safety Initiative recognizes and encourages observance of NFSEM, whose theme this year is “Be Smart. Keep Foods Apart—Don’t Cross-Contaminate.” Materials for educators are available at www.foodsafety.gov/~fsg/fs-mon00.html.
Early data show that HACCP-based inspection improves food safety
On July 17, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that its HACCP-based inspection models project is beginning to produce results showing dramatic improvements in food safety and other consumer protection concerns, according to preliminary data now available for young chickens. According to FSIS, this system of inspection has reduced food safety defects in young chickens by at least 92% in plants that are participating in the project. On June 30, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court ruling supporting the project and sent it back for further proceedings. Meanwhile, the agency is exploring all options and is continuing the project.
Comments on approach to safety of foods during distribution requested
FSIS is requesting comments on the materials presented at its June 9 public meeting on in-distribution activities. The meeting was held to discuss the agency’s strategy for addressing the safety of meat and poultry products during distribution. Traditionally, the Agency has assigned the greater majority of its resources to inspection activities in meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants. FSIS now is looking at strategies for monitoring the safety of meat and poultry products after they leave an inspected plant. One of these strategies is through the in-distribution project, which explores the effects of redeployment of inspection personnel outside the plant. Deadline for comments is Sept. 13. For more information, contact M. Cutshall at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250 (phone 202-720-3219).
Revisions to Food Chemicals Codex proposed
FDA is requesting comments on revisions and corrections to current specification monographs for certain substances used as food ingredients, new and revised general test procedures, and revised test solutions. The changes will appear in the third supplement to the fourth edition of Food Chemicals Codex, scheduled for public release next summer. Deadline for comments is Sept. 22. Details are in the Federal Register of August 8 (65 FR 48521-48523). For more information, contact R. Molins at the Institute of Medicine, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20418 (phone 202-334-2580) or P.M. Kuznesof at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (202-418-3009).
EDTA allowed in canned legumes to retain color
FDA is allowing use of up to 365 ppm of calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA) or up to 165 ppm of disodium EDTA to promote color retention for all edible types of cooked, canned legumes, in response to a petition filed by the National Food Processors Association. Details are in the Federal Register of August 8 (65 FR 48377-48379). For more information, contact M.E. LaVecchia at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3042).
Dairy proposal withdrawn
The American Dairy Products Institute has withdrawn its Feb. 3, 1995, petition proposing that FDA affirm that the use of whey protein isolate and dairy product solids is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as direct human food ingredients. Those food ingredients were redefined from the original submission containing specifications for reduced lactose whey, reduced minerals whey, and whey protein concentrate. Details are in the Federal Register of August 9 (65 FR 48718). For more information, contact A.M. Beloian at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3082.
by NEILH. MERMELSTEIN