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Input for FDA priorities for fiscal year 2001 requested
The Food and Drug Administration is requesting comments concerning the establishment of program priorities in its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for fiscal year 2002 (October 1, 2001, through September 30, 2002). Deadline for comments is September 17. Details are in the Federal Register of July 18 (66 FR 37480-37481). For more information, contact Donald J. Carrington at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-260-5290)
Chewing gum base specifications changed
FDA has changed the softening point specifications for currently listed gum or wood rosin derivatives and is allowing their use as plasticizing materials (softeners) in chewing gum base, in response to a petition by Hercules, Inc. Deadline for objections is August 22. Details are in the Federal Register of July 23 (66 FR 38152-38153). For more information, contact Mary E. LaVecchia at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3072).
Must identify blended products on school menus
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is requiring, as of August 24, school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs to identify blended products or dishes containing more 30% fully hydrated vegetable protein in a manner which does not characterize the product or dish solely as beef, pork, poultry or seafood. Details are in the Federal Register of July 24 (66 FR 38349-38350). For more information, contact Robert M. Eadie at USDA/FNS, 3101 Park Center Dr., Alexandria, VA 22302 (phone 703-305-2620).
Access to seafood HACCP records clarified
FDA has announced the availability of a guidance document entitled “Refusal of Inspection or Access to HACCP Records Pertaining to the Safe and Sanitary Processing of Fish and Fishery Products.” The document clarifies that a processor’s refusal to allow FDA to inspect its processing facilities, or to provide HACCP records or plans to an inspector during an inspection, violates the regulations and thus may trigger a regulatory response. The document is intended for domestic processors and foreign processors that export fish and fishery products to the U.S. industry. It is available electronically at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/dms/guidance.html. Details are in the Federal Register of July 18 (66 FR 37482). For more information, contact Anthony P. Brunetti, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, (HFS-415) At FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3150).
Poultry standards deadline extended again
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is extending until September 10 the deadline for comments on its proposed performance standards for the production of processed meat and poultry products. The agency proposed food safety performance standards applicable to all ready-to- eat (RTE) and partially heat-treated meat and poultry products, as well as environmental testing requirements to reduce the incidence of Listeria monocytogenes in RTE products. It also proposed to convert to performance standards the existing regulatory requirements for thermally processed, commercially sterile (most often canned) meat and poultry products and to rescind certain requirements requiring the elimination of trichina from products that contain pork. Details are in the Federal Register of July 3 (66 FR 35112). For more information, contact Daniel Engeljohn at USDA/FSIS, 300 12th St., S.W., Washington, DC 20250 (phone 202-720-5627).
Certain plant-pesticide proposals finalized
The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized certain proposals related to the substances plants produce for protection against pests. The agency has changed the name of this type of pesticide from “plant-pesticide” to “plant-incorporated protectant”; clarified the relationship between plants and plant-incorporated protectants; exempted from Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act requirements plant-incorporated protectants derived through conventional breeding from sexually compatible plants; and established a new part in the Code of Federal Regulations specifically for plant-incorporated protectants. EPA is also soliciting comments on the issues raised by commenters in response to its 1994 proposed exemptions for plant-incorporated protectants derived from sexually compatible plants, as well as on two proposed regulatory alternatives. Deadline for comments is August 20. Details are in the Federal Register of July 19 (66 FR 37771-37817 and 37855-37869). For more information, contact Philip Hutton at EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20460 (phone 703-308-8260).
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN