James Giese

USDA establishes national organic standards
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture launched its national organic standards for agricultural products on October 21. The new standards, developed with industry and consumer input, are designed to provide consistent labeling on organic products coast to coast. Any organic agricultural product must meet the standards to be sold as “organic.” Products with at least 95% organic ingredients can use the USDA Organic Seal. Products with 70–95% organic ingredients can say so on the label (e.g., “Made with organic fruit”) but can’t display the seal. Information on labeling and certification is available at www.ams.usda.gov/nop/. Information on organic food and beverage exporting is available at www.fas.usda.gov/agx/organics/organics.

USDA approves irradiation of imported produce
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has established regulations providing for use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for fruits and vegetables imported into the United States. The irradiation treatment provides protection against fruit flies and the mango seed weevil. Details are in the Federal Register of October 23 (67 FR 65016). For more information, contact Inder P. Gadh at USDA/APHIS, 4700 River Rd., Unit 140, Riverdale MD 20737-1236 (phone 301-734-5210).

FDA posts guidelines for labeling of irradiated foods
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a guidance document that explains the recommended process for petitioning the agency for approval of labeling for a food that has been treated by irradiation. Details are in the Federal Register of October 7 (67 FR 62487). For more information, contact Loretta Carey at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-2371).

FDA seeks comments on GRAS procedure
FDA is soliciting comments on the procedures used for submitting a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notice stating that a particular use of a substance is not subject to the premarket approval requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Deadline for comments is December 30. Details are in the Federal Register of October 31 (FR 67 66404–66406).

FSIS posts policies on E. coli O157:H7
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued 10 documents related to its policies on Escherichia coli O157:H7 contamination of beef and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system regulations. The documents are intended to be a resource for industry to consider in their reassessment of their HACCP plans. The documents can be accessed at www.fsis.usda.gov.

FDA issues juice guidelines
FDA has issued guidelines to help small fruit and vegetable juice processors achieve the 5-log pathogen reduction that is the basis for exempting juice products from the warning label requirement for juice products and is also a requirement of the final rule on use of HACCP for the safe and sanitary processing and importing of juice. Details are in the Federal Register of October 7 (67 FR 62490). For more information, contact Jennifer Burnham at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-2030).

FDA has also issued a draft guidance document that advises juice processors that the Juice HACCP Alliance’s “Juice HACCP Training Curriculum” is adequate for use in training individuals to meet the requirements of the juice HACCP regulation, and advises processors and educators on how the requirements of the juice HACCP regulation may be met using the standardized curriculum or alternative curricula. Details are in the Federal Register of October 7 (FR 67 62489). For more information, contact Michael Kashtock at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-2022, [email protected]).

FDA has also issued a draft guidance document to provide processors of juice concentrates and certain shelf-stable juice products with recommendations for the use of appropriate control measures to ensure that juice concentrates and certain shelf stable juices do not become contaminated or recontaminated with microbial pathogens during bulk transport. Details are in the Federal Register of October 7 (FR 67 62488). For more information, contact Amy Green at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-2025).

by JAMES GIESE
Internet Editor