Neil Mermelstein

Neil H. Mermelstein

U.S. lifts meat import restrictions for certain EU countries
On May 29, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture lifted the import restrictions placed on the following European Union countries where no cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been reported: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Import restrictions will remain in effect for the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Greece, where there have been confirmed cases of the disease in recent months.

Listeria risk assessment comment deadline extended again
The Food and Drug Adminstration, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have extended until July 18 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 May 22 (66 FR 28181-28182). For more information, contact S.B. Dennis at 202-260-3984 or K. Gombas at 202-205-4231, both at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204, or Charles Edwards at USDA/FSIS, 300 12th St., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-3700 (202-205-0675).

Grants available for research and food safety programs
FDA is making available grants for research on analytical detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in FDA-regulated products; consumer refrigeration storage-length practices for unopened and opened packages of ready-to-eat foods; microbial contamination of agricultural water; and transfer coefficients to describe the potential for Listeria cross-contamination in the retail environment. Deadline for applications is July 5. Details are in the Federal Register of May 21 (66 FR 27976-27980). For more information, contact Maura C. Stephanos at FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857 (phone 301- 827-7183). FDA is also making available to food safety regulatory agencies of state and local governments grants for innovative food safety programs. Details are in the Federal Register of May 21 (66 FR 27980-27983). Deadline for applications is July 5. For more information, contact Cynthia M. Polit at FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857 (phone 301-827-7180).

Irradiation petition clarified
FDA has clarified that its January 5, 2000, filing notice for the National Food Processors Association/Food Irradiation Coalition petition asking FDA to allow irradiation of foods should have included irradiation of multi-ingredient foods containing uncooked meat or poultry. Details are in the Federal Register of May 10 (66 FR 23943-23944). For more information, contact Lane A. Highbarger at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3032).

More acidified sodium chlorite applications
FDA is allowing use of acidified sodium chlorite solutions as a component of a post-chill carcass spray or dip when applied to poultry meat, organs, or related parts or trim, in response to a petition filed by Alcide Corp. Details are in the Federal Register of May 7 (66 FR 22921-22922). Alcide Corp. has also asked FDA to allow use of acidified sodium chlorite solutions as an antimicrobial agent in processing waters applied to processed fruits and vegetables. Deadline for comments is June 22. Details are in the Federal Register of May 23 (66 FR 28525-28526). For more information, contact Robert L. Martin at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204-0001 (202-418-3074).

Allergens compliance guide issued
FDA has issued a compliance policy guide describing its enforcement priorities concerning undeclared food allergens. The guide, “Statement of Policy for Labeling and Preventing Cross-Contact of Common Food Allergens,” is available electronically via www.fda.gov/ora under “Compliance References.” Details are in the Federal Register of May 3 (66 FR 22240-22241). For more information, contact Kathy Gombas at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-4231) or MaryLynn Datoc at FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857 (301-827-0413).

Recombinant DNA enzyme okayed as processing aid
FDA is allowing use of a recombinant DNA enzyme preparation derived from Bacillus subtilis as a processing aid to produce alcoholic malt beverages and distilled liquors, in response to a petition filed by Novozymes North America, Inc. Details are in the Federal Register of May 16 (66 FR 27020-27022). For more information, contact Rudaina H. Alrefai at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3034).

by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN
Editor

About the Author

IFT Fellow
Editor Emeritus of Food Technology
[email protected]
Neil Mermelstein