EdNet - August 2011
EdNet, the National Food Safety Educator’s Network, is a monthly, multi-agency electronic news journal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EdNet provides up-to-date information about food safety and nutrition programs and activities for educators, consumer advocates, government officials, and industry representatives.
If you have questions or comments about this issue of EdNet, send e-mail to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA).
In this issue:
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
Resources for Educators
- FSIS Announces Final Compliance Guide for In-Plant Video Monitoring - Technology Could Improve Humane Handling, Food Safety
- After School Food Safety Tips for Kids Snacking at Home Alone (USDA-FSIS)
- Article by Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Will the Food Safety Modernization Act Help Prevent Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness?”
- FDA: Regulatory Science Plan Positions Agency to Foster Innovation Through Better Science
- FDA, State of Arkansas Sign Agreement to Advance Regulatory Science
- Landmark Birthday for FDA Research Center
- The 'Teeth' of FDA's Food Safety Law
- USDA Seeks Comments on the Proposed Rule for Animal Disease Traceability
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Tells Scientists and Researchers: 'Safe Food is a National Priority'
- USDA Grant Supports North Carolina State University-led Research To Reduce Number of Food-Borne Illnesses
- FDA Reopens Comment Period on Proposed ‘Gluten-free’ Food Labeling Rule
- Home Food Safety Mythbusters is Back!
- Agricultural Research Magazine," August 2011 - Vol. 59, No. 7
- New Podcasts (FSIS)
People in the News
- USDA Names New Member to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
- Faces of Food Safety Launches on FSIS’ Web Site
- FDA Announces End of the Discretionary Enforcement Period of the Interim Final Rule on Information Required in Prior Notice of Imported Food
- FDA: U.S. Marshals Seize Food Products Held at North Carolina Warehouse
- FDA Requests Seizure of Adulterated Seafood at California Company
- FDA Working with Mexico to Protect Safety of Imported Papayas
- FDA “FSMA” and Small Business
- USDA Announces Directive to Improve Humane Handling Enforcement
- Burden of Food and Drug Administration “Food Safety Modernization Act” Fee Amounts on Small Business; Request for Comments
- “Food Safety Modernization Act” Domestic and Foreign Facility Reinspections, Recall, and Importer Reinspection User Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2012; Notice and Frequently Asked Questions
- FDA Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Interactive Resource Disk Available
- EPA: Microbial Risk Assessment Guideline Posted to the “Federal Register”
- FSIS Policy Updates
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
On August 24, 2011, the USDA issued recommendations for residents in states that might be affected by Hurricane Irene to minimize the potential for foodborne illnesses in the event of power outages, flooding, and other problems that could be associated with the storm.
Read the news release:
FSIS Announces Final Compliance Guide for In-Plant Video Monitoring - Technology Could Improve Humane Handling, Food Safety
On August 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the availability of the final guidelines to assist meat and poultry establishments that want to improve operations by using in-plant video monitoring. The compliance guide, “Compliance Guidelines for Use of Video or Other Electronic Monitoring or Recording Equipment in Federally Inspected Establishments,” will make firms aware that video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may be used in federally inspected establishments where meat and poultry are processed. The guidelines highlight the Agency's expectations, should an establishment use video monitoring or recording equipment.
Read this news release:
On August 18, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a news release outlining food safety measures to help students prevent foodborne illness when preparing after school snacks without adult supervision
Read this news release:
FSIS has a “Food Safety After School” fact sheet with more information for families concerned about the safety of afterschool snacks. Read this fact sheet:http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Food_Safety_After_School/index.asp
Article by Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Will the Food Safety Modernization Act Help Prevent Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness?”
On August 17, 2011, an article by Michael R. Taylor, FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article was entitled, “Will the ‘Food Safety Modernization Act’ Help Prevent Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness?”
A copy of this article can be found at:
On August 17, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its “Strategic Plan for Regulatory Science,” calling for a sweeping modernization of the science used in developing and evaluating products critical to the nation’s health, economy, and security. “The breadth and scope of FDA’s regulatory oversight is extraordinary, touching the lives of every American, through the food they eat, the medicines they take, and the medical devices they use,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “As new discoveries yield increasingly complex products, this strategic plan ensures that our experts are equipped to make science-based decisions resulting in sound regulatory policy. It positions us to foster innovation through better science without compromising our high safety standard.”
To read about specific details of the “Agency’s Regulatory Science Initiative,” go to:
On August 12, 2011, an agreement to establish a virtual Center of Excellence for Regulatory Science was signed between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and the state of Arkansas. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the first between the FDA and a state establishing a joint center to enhance regulatory science. It sets the framework for joint research, educational training, collaborations and outreach in support of the FDA’s mission to protect and promote public health. The memorandum also establishes a committee to be co-chaired by NCTR and the state of Arkansas, and includes state government representatives and academic institutions as partners with the FDA.
To read this FDA News Release in its entirety, go to:
A federal research center born in the Cold War era is celebrating its 40th birthday and its reputation as one of the world’s premier science centers. The National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) is marking its anniversary by formalizing a partnership with the state of Arkansas to create a virtual Center for Regulatory Science. The Center’s goals will include modernizing this field of research to bring safer products to the market faster, and increasing the understanding of the potential toxicity of nanotechnology-based products.
This consumer update can be found at:
The “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”), signed into law by President Obama in January, has been called “historic” because it puts the focus of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on prevention—working to ensure that unsafe foods are not distributed in the first place. The new law provides FDA with new enforcement and inspection authorities. Keeping foodborne outbreaks from happening is what FDA intends to do by implementing the following key provisions: preventive measures, enforcement measures, and positive feedback.
To read about these key provisions in detail, visit:
On August 9, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a proposed rule to establish general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate when animal disease events take place.
Read this news release:
On August 3, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at the annual conference of the International Association for Food Protection about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s ongoing efforts to safeguard American consumers from foodborne illnesses. Recent actions taken by USDA to strengthen industry safeguards are aimed at improving the safety of the food Americans serve their families.
USDA Grant Supports North Carolina State University-led Research To Reduce Number of Food-Borne Illnesses
On August 3, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced research funding to North Carolina State University (NCSU) to study human noroviruses in an effort to design effective control measures across the food supply chain and reduce the number of food-borne illnesses caused by viruses. Vilsack announced the $25 million grant to NCSU today while speaking before the annual conference of the International Association for Food Protection in Milwaukee.
Read the news release:
On August 2, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reopened the comment period for its 2007 proposal on labeling foods as “gluten-free.” The Agency is also making available a safety assessment of exposure to gluten for people with celiac disease (CD) and invites comment on these additional data. One of the criteria proposed is that foods bearing the claim cannot contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten. The Agency based the proposal, in part, on the available methods for gluten detection. The validated methods could not reliably detect the amount of gluten in a food when the level was less than 20 ppm. The threshold of less than
20 ppm also is similar to “gluten-free” labeling standards used by many other countries.
For more detailed information, visit:
The FDA encourages members of the food industry, state and local governments, consumers, and other interested parties to offer comments and suggestions about gluten-free labeling in docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 at www.regulations.gov.
A more detailed description of FDA’s safety assessment on gluten and celiac disease is available at:
September is National Food Safety Education Month. The Partnership for Food Safety Education will debunk four new common home food safety myths. Look for new materials for consumers and educators, including a Power Point presentation, fliers, radio scripts, a quiz, and an educator's kit.
Visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education:
The August 2011 issue of the "Agricultural Research Magazine" from USDA's Agricultural Research Service is now available.
Tune in to podcasts on selecting, handling and preparing meat and poultry products to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS has released the following new podcasts in Spanish:
- Food Safety At Home:
- “Food Safety after Fire” (English and Spanish) – August 24
- “Preparación Adecuada de Alimentos por Estudiantes Universitarios” (Spanish only - “Safe Food Preparation for College Students”) – August 10
Check out these podcasts at:
Visit FSIS’ Food Safety page on YouTube:
For other food safety podcasts:
Videocasts in American Sign Language:
People in the News
On August 12, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Susan V. Grooters has been appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). Currently serving as Director of Research and Education with STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority), Grooters will serve a two-year term on the NACMCF as a consumer representative. In this capacity, she will provide an important consumer viewpoint to the committee's food safety work
Read this announcement:
A visit to the FSIS Web site will reveal something new: an Initiative called “Faces of Food Safety.”
Consumer confidence in our food supply comes as a result of the work of the men and women of FSIS. "Faces of Food Safety" will introduce you to employees who play a key role in making our food safe. “Faces of Food Safety” will be a monthly feature. FSIS’ first “face of food safety” is
Dr. Katherine E. Ralston, a public health veterinarian in the Dallas district office, who takes pride in promoting public health and proper livestock handling. In the future, FSIS will continue to profile more employees like Dr. Ralston, who take the FSIS public health mission to heart.
Check out FSIS’ “Faces of Food Safety:”
FDA Announces End of the Discretionary Enforcement Period of the Interim Final Rule on Information Required in Prior Notice of Imported Food
On August 30, 2011, the FDA announced that the discretionary enforcement period of the Interim Final Rule on, “Information Required in Prior Notice of Imported Food,” ends on
September 6, 2011. The Interim Final Rule which was published on May 4, 2011, and became effective on July 3, 2011, is a requirement of the FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”). FDA issued the Interim Final Rule to require a person submitting prior notice of imported food, including food for animals, to report an additional element of information; the name of any country to which the article has been refused entry.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
On August 25, 2011, at the request of the FDA, U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination or other filth held at the Durham, NC, warehouse of CFSD, Inc., which does business as Chan’s Food Service. The products were seized under a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. According to the government’s complaint, the products are adulterated under the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” because they have been held under insanitary conditions, whereby they may have become contaminated by filth.
To read about how the FDA acts to prevent distribution of food from rodent-infested facility in Durham, NC, visit:
On August 24, 2011, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Marshals, seized seafood products manufactured by the Meiko Food Co., South El Monte, CA, because the products are adulterated. A complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Meiko Foods manufactures and packages ready-to-eat seafood, including cooked seafood balls and fried fish cakes, without having a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan in place, in violation of the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
To read about how Meiko Food allegedly fails to have a required preventive control plan for seafood products, go to:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart agencies in the Mexican government, the National Service for Agroalimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), are expanding their collaboration to reduce the risk of contamination of food that moves across the U.S.-Mexican border. This new level of collaboration has added importance as papayas from Mexico have been linked to approximately 100 cases of “Salmonella” Agona in 23 U.S. states.
To read the entire press announcement, visit:
The FDA ‘Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”) recognizes the role of small businesses in the food industry and provides for various ways to assist small businesses in meeting the new food safety requirements of the law. Specifically for several key provisions, the law mandates “plain language” guidance documents and phased-in effective dates. These include: registration, hazard analysis and preventive controls, produce safety, tracking and tracing, and training and education.
To read detailed information about these key provisions, go to:
On August 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a Directive with new instructions to its inspectors that will better ensure the humane treatment and slaughter of livestock presented for processing at FSIS-inspected facilities. FSIS will train its personnel to ensure they are prepared to carry out these new instructions.
Read this news release:
Burden of Food and Drug Administration “Food Safety Modernization Act” Fee Amounts on Small Business; Request for Comments
The FDA is announcing the establishment of a docket to obtain information that will be used to formulate a proposed set of guidelines in consideration of the burden of fee amounts on small business, as set forth in the FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”). “FSMA” provides the Agency with authority under the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” (the “FD&C Act”) to assess and collect user fees, including those for costs associated with certain domestic and foreign facility reinspections, failure to comply with a recall order, and importer reinspections. The Agency is seeking public comment on what burdens these fees impose on small business, and whether and how the Agency should alleviate such burdens.
For more information and how to submit either electronic or written comments by
October 17, 2011, visit:
“Food Safety Modernization Act” Domestic and Foreign Facility Reinspections, Recall, and Importer Reinspection User Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2012; Notice and Frequently Asked Questions
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the fiscal year (FY) 2012 fee rates for certain domestic and foreign facility reinspections, failure to comply with a recall order, and
importer reinspections that are mandated in the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” (the “FD&C Act”), amended by the FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”). These fees are effective on October 1, 2011, and will remain in effect through September 30, 2012. Invoices for
these fees for FY 2012 will be issued using the fee schedule established in this document. FDA is accepting comments to this document and intends to consider such comments in implementing these user fees in FY 2013.
To read this FDA Notice (Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0528) posted on the “Federal Register,” go to:
Questions and Answers regarding this Notice can be found at:
The FDA is releasing the Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Interactive Resource Disk for use by foodservice establishments and retail food stores in preventing transmission of foodborne pathogens that are often transmitted by sick food employees. The disk includes an interactive tool to assist the persons in charge of these establishments make the correct decisions to prevent sick employees from working with food. In addition, it contains several FDA resource documents such as the “2009 FDA Food Code,” an Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook, a recording of a satellite broadcast on “Using Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Measures,” and education and training materials in multiple languages on employee health and personal hygiene.
Read more about this Constituent Update at:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a 60-day public comment period for the “External Review Draft of Microbial Risk Assessment Guideline: Pathogenic Microorganisms with Focus on Food and in Water.” EPA developed the guidance in collaboration with FSIS and scientists from other federal agencies. This draft document is being released for public comment prior to a peer review. The date of the external peer review meeting will be announced in a subsequent “Federal Register” Notice. Comments must be received by
September 26, 2011, and may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments can also be sent to ORD Docket - EPA, Mailcode 28221T,
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460. All comments must identify docket number EPA-HQ-ORD-2011-0532.
Individuals may obtain the draft guidance from:
FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
- FSIS Directive 5000.9: “Verifying Video or Other Electronic Monitoring Records”
- Docket No. FSIS-2011-0013: “Availability of Final Compliance Guide for the Use of Video or Other Electronic Monitoring or Recording Equipment in Federally Inspected Establishments”
- FSIS Notice 46-11: “Communicating With the Office of Inspector General”
- FSIS Directive 5100.1, Revision 3: “Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officer (EIAO) Food Safety Assessment Methodology”
- FSIS Notice 44-11: “Using the Kidney Inhibition Swab (KIS™) Test to Detect Antimicrobial Drug Residues in Swine in Selected Establishments - Phase III”
- Directive 5020.1: “Verification of Salmonella Initiative Program”
- Directive 5420.3, Revision. 6: “Food Defense Surveillance Procedures and National Terrorism Advisory System Alert Response for the Office of Program Evaluation, Enforcement and Review”
- FSIS Notice 43-11: “Announcing the Final Rule Requiring Nutrition Labeling of the Major Cuts of Single-Ingredient, Raw Meat and Poultry Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products”
- FSIS Notice 42-11: “Requesting the Scheduling of a Salmonella Verification Set when an Establishment’s Process Changes”
- FSIS Notice 41-11: “Discontinuation of FSIS Form 10,240-1, Production Information On Post- Lethality Exposed Ready-To- Eat (RTE) Products”
- FSIS Notice 40-11: “Instructions For Carcass Selection For The National Residue Program Scheduled Samples”
All Notices and Directives are available at: