Food Engineering
Regulatory Watch

FSIS indifferent to advisory committees?

A member of Congress is questioning USDA processes for ensuring that imported meat products are as safe as domestically produced items.

March 6, 2013
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) complained that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) “fundamentally” changed the process with no notice. DeLauro said she became aware a change had been made after the fact, when she read a notice in the Federal Register related to the process used for ongoing verification of equivalence of foreign food regulatory systems.
 
“Alarmingly, it seems that FSIS fundamentally changed the process used to assess ongoing equivalency with our trade partners without publishing a single public notice in the Federal Register on the revisions or seeking public comment on the proposed changes,” DeLauro wrote. “It appears that the agency has been implementing and refining these changes for several years. Yet, a July 2011 document from FSIS entitled ‘Process for Evaluating the Equivalence of Foreign Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products Food Regulatory Systems,’ failed to explicitly note these changes.”