USDA Appoints New Members to Food Safety Advisory Committee
On Oct. 27, 2023, USDA announced the appointment of 21 new members and nine returning members to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). NACMCF provides impartial scientific advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on public health issues relative to the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply, including development of microbiological criteria and review and evaluation of epidemiological and risk assessment data and methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards in foods. The committee also provides scientific advice and recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Departments of Commerce and Defense.
Members of the committee are chosen based on their expertise in microbiology, risk assessment, epidemiology, public health, food science, and other relevant disciplines. One individual affiliated with a consumer group is included in the membership of the committee to serve and five members are federal government employees representing the five federal agencies involved in NACMCF.
NACMCF will hold a virtual public meeting of the full committee and subcommittees from November 14-16, 2023. The committee will introduce a new charge from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on genomic characterization of pathogens and continue working on the response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) charge on Cronobacter spp. in Powdered Infant Formula. More details about NACMCF charges are available on the FSIS website. You may also register to attend the NACMCF meeting, on FSIS’ website.
The activities of NACMCF are carried out, in part, by subcommittees that are focused on specific areas being considered by the full committee. NACMCF has made important contributions to a broad range of critical food safety issues. The committee reports provide current information and scientific advice to federal food safety agencies and serve as a foundation for regulations and programs aimed at reducing foodborne disease and enhancing public health. Federal food safety agencies involved with NACMCF are the USDA FSIS, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Commerce National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Department of Defense Veterinary Services.
The full list of NACMCF members is available on the FSIS website.
NACMCF Report on Cyclospora Now Available
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) report, “Response to Questions Posed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Cyclospora cayetanensis in Produce,” is now available on the FSIS website. The report provides four recommendations addressing the prevention and management strategy questions posed to the committee by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The report was adopted during the August 30, 2023, NACMCF public meeting. The finalized report includes edits made in response to comments received during the 30-day public review period and at the August 30, 2023, public meeting.
NACMCF provides impartial scientific advice to federal food safety agencies, including FSIS, FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Department of Defense's Veterinary Services. NACMCF reports often serve as foundations for regulations and programs aimed at reducing foodborne disease and enhancing public health.
FSIS Posts Quarterly Sampling Data
FSIS has updated the following quarterly sampling data sets:
- Quarterly U.S. National Residue Sampling Report – Residue sampling report is available for the fourth quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2023. The report includes domestic (scheduled and inspector-generated) and import sampling programs.
- Quarterly Sampling Results – The quarterly sampling reports were updated to include results through the fourth quarter of FY 2023. Quarterly, FSIS calculates prevalence, volume weighted percent positive, or percent positive calculations for microbial pathogens in FSIS regulated products that are currently sampled through existing sampling projects using the prior 12 months of sampling data. This posting includes sampling results for raw beef, raw pork, raw chicken, raw turkey, processed eggs, and ready-to-eat products.
- Quarterly Sampling Reports on Antimicrobial Resistance Profile – The quarterly sampling reports for Antimicrobial Resistance Profile data were updated to include results through the third quarter of FY 2023. This data release includes the sampling projects and pathogens reported under the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). It also includes the antimicrobial resistance data on pathogens Salmonella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), including E. coli O157:H7, isolate counts and resistance profile by FSIS product and cecal categories.
- Quarterly Sampling Reports for Salmonella Serotype Information – The quarterly sampling reports for Salmonella serotype Information were updated to include results through the third quarter of FY 2023. This post includes quarterly Salmonella serotype data for Salmonella isolates collected from FSIS product categories.
Tips for Faster Label Approval
Labels are currently taking about 3-5 business days to evaluate.
TIP: When submitting a label for approval that bears text in a foreign language, including the English translation in the application will result in a faster label evaluation process.
English translations are not required on final product labels unless one or more of the mandatory labeling features is in a foreign language (9 CFR 317.2(b), 381.116(a)). However, as part of the label approval process, FSIS must determine whether all the information on the label is truthful and not misleading, which means that the English translations must be included in label applications.
The translation may be included as a separate attachment in the application, or it may be included elsewhere within the application if it is easily accessible to the staff officer who is evaluating the label application. If the entire label includes both English and a foreign language translation, the submitter may simply stipulate in the application that all foreign language is a direct translation of English on the label. If a translation is not provided with the application, then the application will be returned, which will delay the evaluation time.
The addition of foreign language to labels is not considered a special statement or claim; therefore, the label is not required to be submitted to FSIS for approval unless other information on the label places it into one of the categories of labels described in 9 CFR 412.1 that requires FSIS evaluation. If the label is generically approved, the label record must include a translation of all foreign language (9 CFR 320.1(b)(10), 381.175(b)(6) and 590.200(c)).
For additional information about special statements or claims requiring FSIS approval, please see the FSIS Compliance Guideline for Label Approval.
FSIS will continue to provide updates regarding label turnaround time, as well as suggestions to assist industry to streamline label submissions in its Constituent Update.
Available for Public Comment
FSIS seeks public comments on proposed rules and notices, which are viewable on the FSIS Federal Register & Rulemaking webpage. FSIS is currently seeking comments on the following:
FSIS notices and directives on public health and regulatory issues are available on the FSIS Policy webpage. The following policy update was recently issued:
FSIS Notice 59-23 - Responsibilities of Federal Employees Regarding Drug Use
Export Requirements Update
The Library of Export Requirements has been updated for products for the following:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- French Polynesia (Tahiti)
- European Union
- Dominican Republic
Complete information can be found at the FSIS Import & Export Library.