Fall is fast approaching, and many processors are gearing up for the busiest time of year. Hunting season has begun or ready to begin in most states. We are also only a few months away from two of the biggest holidays for the industry. For me, it is the time of year when I get to work more on the regulatory front. As my travels have slowed I am able to focus on the important issues that need addressed with the various agencies that oversee the work of our members.

Our efforts continue on Appendix A & B, both from a science side of things, as well as meetings with FSIS. We held a meeting with FSIS a few months ago and were able to share with them the great scientific efforts of the working group. I believe we have made a lot of headway in bringing worthy sound science to the table and gave FSIS some items to include in a new version of Appendix A & B. The new version should make the documents easier to use by small processors. At the time of that meeting, FSIS had a new version ready to release and it was going through clearances. We expect the newer version to be released at any time; however, they may have delayed it due to some of the studies we showed them and the ongoing work that continues. We will be sure to update you as this process moves forward. It is important to remember that you are still allowed to use the 1999 versions of the documents until the new one is published. You will then have one year to be in compliance with the new document. Until then, if you are asked to switch to the new document or change from the old version, you are not required to.

Work is happening on multiple fronts. There are efforts going on that affect our retail exempt establishments. We have had a flood issues arise in multiple states with the enforcement of the new Food Safety and Modernization Act by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There seems to be a slight disparity in what is being asked for between states, which becomes confusing. We are working to get a clear answer as to what is required so that we can give consistent and correct information, no matter what state you operate in.

I was also recently in Washington for meeting with FSIS on the new guidance documents for controlling STECS in slaughter facilities and processing facilities. These two documents should be published sometime this fall, and we will be updating you on what that means. IP