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FDA Announces Meeting of Presidential Interagency Working Group on Safety of Imported Foods

CFSAN Constituent Update - Fruit Basket
CFSAN Constituent Update - CFSAN FDA

August 31, 2007

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced a public meeting for the Presidential Interagency Working Group on Import Safety. The Working Group was established by Executive Order on July 18, 2007 to conduct a comprehensive review of current import safety practices and determine where improvements can be made.

The objective of this meeting is to identify and recommend actions that persons involved in the production, distribution, importation, regulation, and use of imported products, including government, industry, and consumers, can take to promote the safety of such products.

The meeting will be held on October 1, 2007, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium, South Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington D.C. Persons interested in attending the meeting in person or by teleconference and/or making a presentation must register by close of business September 17, 2007, by sending an e-mail to the FDA's Erik Mettler (erik.mettler@fda.hhs.gov) with the following information: name, company name, address, telephone number and e-mail address; whether you will attend the meeting in person or by teleconference; and whether you wish to speak at the meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852. Comments may also be submitted electronically through the following links: FDA Dockets Open for Comment or Regulations.gov. All comments should be identified with the Docket Number 2007N-0330.

Additional information regarding this meeting and the Working Group is available through the FDA website at 72 FR 50374 or by contacting Erik Mettler, Office of Policy (HF-11), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, 301-827-3360, FAX: 301-594-6777, erik.mettler@fda.hhs.gov.

 

FDA Announces Final Rule Amending Food Labeling Regulations on Safe Handling Statements for Shell Eggs

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on August 20, 2007, an amendment to its food labeling regulations, permitting the egg industry to place the safe handling statement for shell eggs on the inside lid of egg cartons if the statement "Keep Refrigerated" appears on the principal display panel (PDP) or information panel.

On December 5, 2000, FDA published a final rule to require a safe handling statement on cartons of shell eggs that have not been treated to destroy Salmonella microorganisms. FDA issued the final rule because of the number of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and deaths caused by Salmonella Enteriditis that are associated with the consumption of shell eggs. After the publication of the final rule, the egg industry asked FDA to allow safe handling statements to be placed on the inside lid of egg cartons because of:

  1. the lack of equipment to print on the side panels of egg cartons,
  2. the high cost to purchase equipment to print on the sides of egg cartons, and
  3. the high cost to change the graphic design of the PDP for each brand that manufacturers produce for each customer.

On May 5, 2005, FDA published a proposed rule to allow the egg industry to place the required safe handling statement on the inside lid of egg cartons, if the statement "Keep Refrigerated" appeared on the PDP or information panel.

FDA amended the egg labeling regulations in response to a request from the egg industry. FDA believes that providing flexibility in the placement of the safe handling statement may result in cost savings for the egg industry as well as consumers. In addition, consumers will benefit from this placement of the safe handling statement, which they will see every time they open the egg carton. "To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly."

The final rule is available through the FDA website at 72 FR 46375.

 

The Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign Releases Three New Preparedness Resource Videos for Seniors, People With Disabilities and Pet Owners

 

On August 13, 2007, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign announced the release of three new demonstration videos designed to highlight the specific steps that older Americans, individuals with disabilities and special needs, and pet owners should take to prepare themselves and keep their families safe in the event of an emergency situation or natural disaster.

The videos recommend that seniors include the necessary items in their emergency supply kits, such as water, food, first aid and any prescription medications. It also encourages Americans with disabilities or special needs to create a personal support network that they can rely on during an emergency. Pet owners are also advised to learn which emergency shelters in their area and/or along their evacuation route will allow pets.

The Department of Homeland Security worked closely with AARP, National Organization on Disability and The Humane Society of the United States to develop these new emergency preparedness resources. These new videos will be released just in time for National Preparedness Month 2007, a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies.

Individuals interested in more information about emergency preparedness or the new videos can visit the Ready America Campaign at www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.