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Ozone approved for food use
The Food and Drug Administration is allowing use of ozone in gaseous and aqueous phases as an antimicrobial agent on food, including meat and poultry, in response to a petition filed by the Electric Power Research Institute, Agriculture and Food Technology Alliance. Deadline for written objections is July 26. Details are in the Federal Register of June 26 (66 FR 33829–33830).For more information, contact Robert L. Martin at FDA, 200 C St. SW., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3074).
Interim final rule on sterol/stanol esters health claim extended
FDA has extended until July 25 the period for issuance of a final rule in response to its interim final rule, published in the Federal Register of September 8, 2000 (65 FR 54686), that would allow use of health claims relating consumption of plant sterol/stanol esters to reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Details are in the Federal Register of June 6 (66 FR 30311–30313). For more information, contact James E. Hoadley at FDA, 200 C St. SW., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-5372).
Comments on monographs solicited
FDA is soliciting comments on proposed new specification monographs, changes to certain specification monographs, a proposed revision of a general test procedure, and proposed new test solutions in the third supplement to the fourth edition of Food Chemicals Codex, scheduled for publication this summer. Deadline for comments is July 30. Details are in the Federal Register of June 13 (66 FR 31936–31938). For more information, contact R. Molins at Food and Nutrition Board, 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 (phone 202-418-3009). Copies of the proposed changes are available at www.iom.edu/fcc.
Acidified sodium chlorite approved for use on processed meat products
FDA is allowing use of acidified sodium chlorite solutions as an antimicrobial agent on processed, comminuted, or formed meat food products (unless precluded by USDA standards of identity) prior to packaging, in response to a petition filed by Alcide Corp. Deadline for written objections is July 13. Details are in the Federal Register of June 13 (66 FR 31840–31841). For more information, contact Robert L. Martin at FDA, Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3074).
Input on agricultural research solicited
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is soliciting input and comments on the effectiveness of existing agricultural research, education, and extension programs administered by CSREES in meeting current and future challenges to the U.S. food and agriculture system. Four listening sessions are planned: July 12 in Lancaster, Pa.; July 26 in Bloomington, Minn.; and two others to be announced later. Details are in the Federal Register of June 25 (66 FR 33825–33828). For more information, contact Mary H. Humphreys at USDA/CSREES, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-2201 (phone 202-720-6012).
Shellfish risk assessment comment deadline extended
FDA has extended until July 18 the comment period on its draft risk assessment, published in the Federal Register of January 19, 2001 (66 FR 5517), on the relationship between Vibrio parahaemolyticus in raw molluscan shellfish and human health. Details are in the Federal Register of June 20 (66 FR 33101–33102). For more information, contact Sherri B. Dennis at FDA, 200 C St., SW., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-260-3984).
USDA launches new Web site
On July 2, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture launched a new Web site (www.nal.usda.gov/fsrio) providing detailed information on food safety research projects, spending, and accomplishments by federal agencies, along with links to other important food safety research information. The new site was created by the Food Safety Research Information Office at USDA’s National Agricultural Library with information from related government food safety agencies.
Redesigned poultry inspection system improves food safety
On June 7, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that the revised design of its HACCP-based inspection models project shows dramatic improvements in food safety. Approximately 20 plants that slaughter young chickens, hogs, and turkeys are voluntarily participating in the project, but data from plants operating under the models are available only for young chickens at this time. Two categories of defects are considered food safety related because they could pose a health hazard to consumers. In these food safety categories, FSIS inspector verification checks found a 99.9% reduction in defects over traditional slaughter inspection. All five categories addressing conditions that do not pose a food safety hazard showed improvements, with four of the five categories showing a greater than 50% reduction in defects.
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN