Performance standards for RTE meat and poultry proposed
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing to establish food safety performance standards for ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, including dried products, salt-cured products, fermented products, cooked and otherwise processed products, and thermally processed, commercially sterile products. The proposed standards set levels of pathogen reduction and limits on pathogen growth that official meat and poultry establishments must achieve but allow the use of customized, plant-specific processing procedures. FSIS is also proposing to require the establishments to test food contact surfaces for Listeria spp. to verify that they are controlling the presence of Listeria monocytogenes within their processing environments. Establishments that have developed and implemented HACCP controls for L. monocytogenes would be exempt. FSIS is also proposing to eliminate its regulations that require that pork and products containing pork be treated to destroy Trichinella spiralis, since the regulations are inconsistent with HACCP and some will be unnecessary if the proposed standards are finalized. Deadline for comments is May 29. Details are in the Federal Register of February 27 (66 FR 12589-12636). For more information, contact D.L. Engeljohn at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250 (phone 202-720-5627).
Vibrio risk assessment comment deadline extended
The Food and Drug Administration is extending until May 21 the deadline for comments on a draft risk assessment (available at www.foodsafety.gov/dms/fs-toc.html) on the relationship between Vibrio parahaemolyticus in raw molluscan shellfish, specifically oysters, and human health. Details are in the Federal Register of March 6 (66 FR 13546). For more information, contact S.B. Dennis at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-260-3984).
What should be included in dietary supplement guidance?
FDA is requesting comments on the types of information that should be included in a guidance on applying the regulations on structure/function statements made for dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act authorizes manufacturers of dietary supplements to claim effects on the “structure or function” of the body, but not to make claims to mitigate, treat, prevent, cure, or diagnose disease. FDA’s structure/function rule distinguishes between disease claims, which require that evidence of safety and efficacy be presented to the agency before marketing, and structure/function claims, which don’t. Deadline for comments is May 23. Details are in the Federal Register of February 22 (66 FR 11172) and are also available on-line at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/ds-ind.html. For more information, contact R.E. Cunningham at FDA, 5600 Fishers Ln., Rockville, MD 20857 (phone 301-594-5468).
Listeria risk assessment comment deadline extended
FDA, FSIS, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have extended until May 21 the deadline for comments on a draft risk assessment on the relationship between foodborne Listeria monocytogenes and human health and a proposed risk management action plan based on the risk assessment (both available at www.foodsafety.gov). Details are in the Federal Register of March 6 (66 FR 13545-13546). For more information, contact S.B. Dennis at 202-260-3984 regarding the risk assessment or K. Gombas at 202-205-4231 regarding the action plan, both at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204.
Certain limitations for natamycin use on cheese changed
FDA, in response to a petition filed by Cultor Food Science, Inc., DSM Food Specialities, and Protein Technologies International, is allowing use of natamycin as an antimycotic on cheese at levels no higher than 20 ppm in the finished product, regardless of the form (e.g., cuts, slices, or grated) or method of application. Previously, the regulations specified the methods of application. The agency is also specifying a test method that will ensure that natamycin does not exceed that level. Details are in the Federal Register of March 8 (66 FR 13846-13847). For more information, contact A.J. Zajac at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3095).
More descriptive term allowed for dimethyl dicarbonate
FDA, in response to a petition filed by Bayer Co., is allowing use of a more descriptive term, “microbial control agent,” in place of “inhibitor of yeast” for use of dimethyl dicarbonate. The additive is used as a microbial control agent in wine, ready-to-drink teas, beverages containing added electrolytes, and carbonated juice-containing beverages. Details are in the Federal Register of March 7 (66 FR 13652-13653). For more information, contact M.D. Peiperl at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3077).
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN