Update on Revised Appendix A & B

As most of you know the compliance to the revised Appendix A and B has been delayed until March of next year (2019). We had asked for this in order to be able to meet with FSIS and talk about where we feel the documents are lacking and the science is flawed. The goal would be to get FSIS to take new look at the science and information we are presenting and then change or remove the documents they have presented to industry. 

AAMP has partnered with a number of trade associations and have formed a working group made of meat science people from academia both present and past and other industry experts. The working group is identifying the flaws that are seen in Appendix A & B from 2017 and are looking to offer better science and more realistic expectations for industry to follow to produce safe, wholesome products. 

AAMP and its industry partners will have an initial meeting with FSIS staff in either late July or early August to explain the working group and lay the groundwork for the main meeting which we hope will take place in early fall between mid-September and mid-October. I have been a part of multiple phone calls with the group so far and am encouraged by what I hear from the science professionals on the team.


Coming Soon: Small and Very Small Plant Outreach Survey

FSIS is committed to improving customer service and developing and delivering outreach focused on enhancing the communication of technical, scientific, and regulatory compliance information. The agency developed a voluntary survey to be administered to small and very small establishments with an end goal of improving communications and outreach. These establishments will be asked about their needs and current practices as it pertains to receiving information, including regulatory compliance information and resources.

The survey will also allow the agency to gather data on humane handling and food defense directly from establishment owners in an effort to better support these activities at small and very small establishments. The survey results will be used to measure the effectiveness of FSIS’ current outreach efforts as well as to help improve FSIS’ communication and future guidance, tools, and resources.

A link to complete the survey was sent to the email of record for small and very small livestock and poultry slaughter and/or processing establishments the week of June 25, 2018. We will mail a copy of the survey to those small and very small establishments for which we do not have email addresses. The email or mail survey will come from Yolanda Kennedy (Yolanda.Kennedy@fsis.usda.gov), Agency Survey Coordinator, in FSIS’ Office of the Chief Financial Officer in the Performance, Evaluation, and Planning Staff.

The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete and individual responses will be kept confidential. Your response is vital to helping FSIS improve outreach efforts to small and very small establishments so please take time to complete the survey.


Nutrition Labeling Update

It has been some time since we have received any new developments from the USDA on their ruling on the revised Nutrient Facts Panel format. To bring everyone up to speed: Back in May 2016 the FDA published two final rules (81 FR 33742 and 81 FR 34000) and announced the release of the new Nutrition Facts label and Serving Size Guidelines. The compliance date of this final rule is January 1, 2020 for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales and January 1, 2021 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales. 

USDA released two dockets addressing the new Nutrient Facts Panel format: No. 2016-29272 and No. 2016-0030. The first docket proposes adopting FDA’s new Nutrition Facts and Labeling Guidelines format for all meat and poultry products. The second states that while FSIS is in the process of deciding, establishments may voluntarily choose to use the new FDA label format. “As long as the information on the labels is still truthful and not misleading, FSIS will not find noncompliance if companies use the FDA format.”

Since those two dockets were issued, the USDA has been quiet. AAMP’s Nutrient Analysis service has been utilizing the new Nutrient Facts Panel format for over a year now applying it to FDA inspected products and USDA inspected products if the processors request it. 

— Nelson Gaydos AAMP