WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Thursday issued a draft guidance on the use of labels with an FSIS-approved testing claim.

An establishment may use such voluntary claims when it demonstrates such E. coli O157:H7 testing claims are truthful and not misleading. FSIS needs to approve such claims before the establishment can use them on labeling.

Reports said that the FSIS allows the use of labels that contain special claims under certain conditions. In order to provide receiving establishments ─ particularly small and very small plants ─ with information about the HACCP system and testing done at the supplier establishment, the Labeling and Program Delivery Division (LPDD) has developed a N-60 testing claim guidance.

This labeling claim is intended to provide the receiving establishment with this information in lieu of Certificates of Analysis (COAs) that may not properly transfer with product through distributors. This claim asserts that the raw beef component has been produced under an integrated control program between the slaughter/dressing operation and the trim production operation and tested for the presence of E. coli using a particular sample method. Labels bearing this claim would not be approved for products sold at retail or directly to consumers.

FSIS is providing these draft compliance guides for review and comment. All stakeholders are encouraged to submit their comments to FSISGuidanceDocumentComments@fsis.usda.gov.

Comments will be accepted until November 17, 2008.


Source: American Meat Institute