Pizza regs updated

Under the new USDA standards, pizza products will no longer be required to contain tomato sauce, cheese and a bread-based crust, as prescribed by current standards. In addition, manufacturers will be permitted to reduce the minimum meat content from 12 percent cooked or 15 percent raw to 2 percent cooked or 3 percent raw. The agency said it modernized its regulatory standards for pizza containing meat or sausage because it believes the old regulations may have “inhibited manufacturers from producing and marketing styles of pizzas that today’s consumers demand.” USDA says its data indicates that consumer expectations of the term “pizza” are broader than what is prescribed by current standards.

FSIS to open new training centers

USDA has taken steps to beef up its safety inspection force, announcing five new regional training centers for its growing workforce of Food Safety and Inspection Service’ (FSIS) field employees. Following a review, FSIS has decided to revamp its education and training programs to better prepare field employees to implement and enforce new food safety regulations. Five training centers will be established in Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia, Des Moines and Boulder, Colo. In addition, FSIS will be conducting interactive and on-site training sessions that will be easily accessible to its field employees.

Transport guidelines increase protection of meat, poultry, eggs

FSIS is issuing new food safety and security guidance for transporters and distributors of meat, poultry and egg products to protect against intentional and unintentional contamination. The guidelines provide recommendations to ensure the security of food products through all phases of distribution. “Protecting food during transportation and storage is a critical component in our defense against all types of food-borne contaminants,” said FSIS Administrator Garry McKee. Meat, poultry and egg products are frequently transported multiple times on their way to the consumer and may be exposed to hazards at each step, McKee stated.