Category Archives: Food Safety

GCCA-Supported Coalition Submits Letter to United States House and Senate Supporting FAAAA Amendment

The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) recently joined a number of organizations in food and agriculture industries in signing a letter addressed to the United States House of Representatives and Senate supporting an amendment of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA). The full letter can be found below.

For more information, please contact GCCA Vice President of Government & Legal Affairs Lowell Randel at lrandel@nullgcca.org. Continue reading

FSIS to Issue Food Defense Plan Survey

In April 2016, FSIS will issue its annual food defense plan survey to inspectors in regulated facilities. FSIS has conducted this survey since 2006 as a way to better understand how establishments are adopting food defense plans and implementing security measures to protect against intentional adulteration. FSIS asserts that a functional food defense plan can help establishments prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from an intentional adulteration incident. A functional food defense plan is one that is documented, implemented, tested, and reviewed/maintained. According to FSIS, adoption of functional food defense plans by FSIS-regulated establishments has increased from 34% in 2006 to 85% in 2015.

The attached letter from the FSIS Deputy Under Secretary was sent to all FSIS-regulated establishments in early March to inform them of the upcoming survey. FSIS is requesting associations like GCCA to encourage FSIS-regulated establishments to implement food defense practices and adopt a functional food defense plan.FSIS has developed a number of tools and resources to assist industry with implementing food defense activities, which can be found at FoodDefense.

FSIS Food Defense Plan Survey Letter.pdf

WTO Rules on COOL, GCCA Joins Groups Urging Congressional Action

On December 7th, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that Mexico and Canada are authorized to retaliate against the United States because of the U.S. mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for meat and poultry. The announcement comes after a lengthy process by which the WTO found that the mandatory COOL regulations violate U.S. trade obligations. The WTO stated that Mexico and Canada are authorized to impose retaliatory tariffs in the amount of $1.01 billion annually. These tariffs are likely to be impose of food and agriculture products exported by the U.S. to Canada and Mexico.

The Global Cold Chain Alliance joined with 249 organizations in sending a letter to the United States Senate urging action to repeal mandatory COOL for meat and poultry. The House of Representatives passed repeal legislation earlier this year, but the Senate has yet to take action. A copy of the coalition letter is attached to this post and can also be found on the GCCA Advocacy Portal.

Guidance on China Pork Export Certification

The Global Cold Chain Alliance is working with the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the North American Meat Institute regarding export certification of pork exports to China. The following guidance is intended to help cold storage facilities comply with the ractopamine free certification required for exports to the People’s Republic of China. The full requirements are listed in the USDA-FSIS Export Library at the following link: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/export-library-requirements-by-country/Peoples-Republic-of-China

In accordance with the “Ractopamine Residue Program,” where by one carcass per lot of live hogs entering the slaughter facility is sampled and tested for ractopamine residue, it is important to note that cold storages are not permitted to conduct ractopamine residue testing. GCCA members should be aware that cold storage facilities receiving, purchasing or selling pork intended for export to China must receive either a ractopamine residue certificate of analysis (COA) or the FSIS Transfer Certificate (FSIS Form 2630-9) from the slaughter establishment.

Any establishments other than the slaughter facility are prohibited from conducting ractopamine residue testing. Therefore, FSIS IICs at any other establishments must obtain either the COA or FSIS Transfer Certificate prior to certifying pork products for export to China. These documents must be submitted to the FSIS Inspector with the Export Application 9060-6.

For cold storages purchasing or handling pork products for export to China produced by a slaughter establishment approved under the USDA-AMS Never Fed Beta Agonist program, the pork products will have unique product codes or an alternative system identifier approved by AMS. Neither the COA nor the FSIS transfer certificate is required for product produced under the AMS Never Fed Beta Agonist program. FSIS inspectors will utilize the unique product code or alternative system identifier to assure product is compliant for export to China.

It is the responsibility of the cold storage facility to determine if the product you receive from the slaughter establishment was produced under the FSIS Ractopamine Residue Program or the USDA-AMS Never Fed Beta Agonist program and present the certifying FSIS inspector the proper documents along with the China Export Application 9060-6.

If you have additional questions, please contact Lowell Randel at the Global Cold Chain Alliance at 703-373-4300/ lrandel or Travis Arp at the U.S. Meat Export Federation at 303-623-6328/ tarp.

FDA Finalizes more FSMA Rules

On November 13th, the Food and Drug Administration released the final Food Safety Modernization Act Rules for Produce Safety, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Accredited Third-Party Certification. According to FDA:

· The Produce Safety rule establishes science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce that are designed to work effectively for food safety across the wide diversity of produce farms.

· The FSVP rule requires food importers to verify that foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that meets U.S. safety standards. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that imported food accounted for about 19 percent of the U.S. food supply, including about 52 percent of the fresh fruits and 22 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by Americans.

· The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule establishes a program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies to conduct food safety audits and to certify that foreign food facilities and food produced by such facilities meet applicable FDA food safety requirements.

FDA also announced a series of webinars to provide more information on the rules.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET (please connect at 1:45 PM)
Final Rule for Produce Safety: Significant Provisions of the Rule

Monday, November 23, 2015
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM ET (please connect by 9:45 AM)
Final Rules for Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) and Third Party Auditors

More information on the final rules can be found at the links below:

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