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FSIS Issues Notice on Verification Activities for the Use and Labeling of Ingredients of Public Health Concern, Specifically Allergens

Thursday, September 29, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued Notice 54-11: “Verification Activities for the Use and Labeling of Ingredients of Public Health Concern.”  This notice is the follow up to FSIS Notice 35-11, “Verification Activities Related to Ingredients of Public Health Concern” and provides instructions to Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) to verify that ingredients used in product formulations are appropriately declared in the ingredients statement on final product labels.  The notice also instructs IPP to verify the control procedures an establishment uses for ingredients of public health concern and to verify that the establishment has addressed any chemical food safety hazard in its hazard analysis.

On July 7, 2011, FSIS issued FSIS Notice 35-11.  The purpose of that notice was for IPP to make establishments aware of the need for them to have appropriate controls in their HACCP programs regarding ingredients of public health concern, the need for those ingredients to be properly labeled, and the importance of taking steps to prevent the production and shipment into commerce of adulterated or misbranded meat, poultry, or egg products.

According to FSIS, Notice 54-11 is necessary because there has been a sustained number of adulterated and misbranded meat and poultry products recalled because of the presence of undeclared ingredients, especially ingredients of public health concern, specifically allergens.

The “big eight” allergens are: wheat, Crustacean shellfish (e.g., shrimp, crab, lobster), eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, walnuts) and soybeans.  These allergens cause approximately 90 percent of all food allergy reactions.

To view this notice, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISNotices/54-11.pdf.

Of note, the AMI Foundation will host a special workshop on allergens December 7-8, 2011, at the Hilton Rosemont in Chicago.  This workshop is being cosponsored by the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  For more information on this timely workshop, go to http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/72656/pid/287.



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