In a recent meeting with meat-industry association leaders, USDA’s new Under Secretary for Food Safety, Elisabeth Hagen, outlined four priorities that she foresees for FSIS.

Phil Kimball, North American Meat Processors Association’s executive director, outlined those priorities to NAMP members as:

  1. Working with other agencies and stakeholders to develop ideas on how to move forward on pre-harvest food safety.
  2. Communicating with stakeholders, including the industry, consumers, FSIS employees and other partners.
  3. Working with inspectors and other FSIS employees to look at the FSIS workforce and determine the best ways to move forward to protect public health.

Reviewing FSIS regulations, as well as legislation that impacts FSIS.
 
Regarding pre-harvest interventions, Kimball said Hagen that she wants FSIS to support the Animal and Plant Inspection Service and other USDA agencies that have responsibility for this.

Related to non-O157:H7 STEC’s, Hagen said FSIS will focus on the top six identified that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified (those would be 026, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145). FSIS will make the testing methodology it develops public.  

Kimball noted that meat-industry leaders at the meeting encouraged Hagen also to focus on food safety inspection processes for imported goods, “because trading partners think they do not get the respect from FSIS on issues important to them.”

Source: NAMP, Meatingplace.com