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New safeguards issued by USDA from foodborne illnesses

The FSIS is implementing three new provisions that have either been proposed to be, or are already implemented. Formally the FSIS would only implement traceback procedures when a product was confirmed positive for E. coli O157:H7. A proposal has been drafted for new traceback procedures to be implemented when the FSIS or state agency finds a presumptive positive for E. coli O157:H7 in contaminated products. Therefore the traceback procedure will be initiated sooner to identify the supplier and any processors who received the potentially contaminated product. This will reduce the amount of contaminated product shipped to consumers and thus required to be recalled. The comments period for this proposal ends on 6th July 2012.

The FSIS has issued a final regulation requiring notification within 24 hours, of any misbranded or adulterated products from an official USDA establishment, if they believe or have reason to believe that such a product could harm consumers. Whereas the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) Reportable Food Registry program requires 24 hour notification only when a product may cause severe illness or death to humans and animals, the FSIS requirements apply to any adulterated and misbranded products. FSIS will now require all facilities to prepare and maintain a recall program.

All food production facilities will be required to document their reassessment of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program. Some such requirements have already become effective, as of 8th May 2012, whereas the recall program requirement will become effective from 8th November 2012 for large facilities and 8th May 2013 for small and very small facilities.

Proposed guidance, clarifying the FSIS requirement for a facility to validate its HACCP plan, has also been issued. Validation for the critical control points (CCPs) in the HACCP plan and the intervention or processes used to support the Hazard Analysis must be sought. This validation involves scientific support in designing the HACCP system along with evidence to show the successful implementation of the plan, in introducing the critical operational parameters established by the scientific support. The comment period for this proposed guidance ends on 9th July 2012.

by S. C.
22 june 2012, World News > America

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