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Notice

National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice of public meeting; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) will hold a public meeting of the full committee on February 13, 2004. The committee will discuss: (1) Performance standards for broilers (young chickens)/ground chicken, (2) the scientific basis for establishing safety-based “use by” date labeling for refrigerated ready-to-eat foods, and (3) scientific criteria for redefining pasteurization. Subcommittees will also meet as follows:

February 10th—Microbiological Performance Standards for Broilers (young chicken)/Ground Chicken 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

February 11th—Criteria for Refrigerated Shelf-Life Based on Safety 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

February 12th—Scientific Criteria for Redefining Pasteurization 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and Criteria for Refrigerated Shelf-Life Based on Safety 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

DATES:

The full Committee will hold an open meeting on Friday, February 13, Start Printed Page 49192004 from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Subcommittee meetings will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, February 10, 11 and 12, 2004. Subcommittee meetings are open to the public.

Note:

FSIS was not able to publish notification of this public meeting in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the meeting, as required by Departmental Regulation 1041-001, due to late changes in the agenda.

ADDRESSES:

The February 10-13 sub- and full-committee meetings will be held at the Sheraton Buckhead, 3405 Lenox Road; NE, Atlanta, GA 30326; telephone number 404-261-9250. Public comments and all documents related to full committee meetings will be available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Room between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The comments and NACMCF documents will also be available on the Internet at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​OPPDE/​rdad/​Publications.htm.

FSIS will finalize an agenda on or before the meeting date and post it to its Internet web page. Send an original and two copies of comments to the Food Safety and Inspection Service Docket Room: Docket #03-049N, Room 102 Cotton Annex Building, 300 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20250. Comments may also be sent by facsimile to (202) 205-0381. The comments and official transcripts of the February 13, 2004 full committee meeting, when they become available, will be kept in the FSIS Docket Room at the above address and will also be posted on http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​OPHS/​NACMCF/​transcripts.

FSIS intends to post all comments associated with this docket on its web page in the near future. The comments will also be made available in the FSIS Docket Room. See the disclaimer section below regarding modifications that may be necessary due to the presentation of the comments.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Persons interested in making a presentation, submitting technical papers, or providing comments should contact Karen Thomas, phone (202) 690-6620, Fax (202) 690-6334, e-mail address: karen.thomas@fsis.usda.gov, or mailing address: Food Safety and Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture, Office of Public Health and Science, Aerospace Center, Room 333, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700. Persons requiring a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations should notify Ms. Thomas by January 30, 2004.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The NACMCF was established on April 18, 1988, in response to a recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences for an interagency approach to microbiological criteria for food, and in response to a recommendation of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, as expressed in the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 1988. The Charter for the NACMCF is available for viewing on the FSIS Internet Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​OA/​programs/​nacmcf_​chart.htm

The NACMCF provides scientific advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on public health issues relative to the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply including development of microbiological criteria and review and evaluation of epidemiological and risk assessment data and methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards in foods. The Committee also provides advice to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Departments of Commerce and Defense.

Dr. Merle Pierson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA, is the Committee Chair, Dr. Robert E. Brackett, Director of Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), is the Vice-Chair, and Gerri Ransom, FSIS, is the Executive Secretariat.

At the February 13, 2004, meeting, the Committee will:

  • Discuss performance standards work on the commodities of broilers (young chickens)/ground chicken
  • Discuss continuing work on the scientific basis for establishing safety-based “use by” date labeling for refrigerated ready-to-eat foods
  • Discuss continuing work on the scientific criteria fora redefining pasteurization.

Documents Reviewed by NACMCF

FSIS intends to make available to the public all materials that are reviewed and considered by NACMCF regarding its deliberations. Generally, these materials will be made available as soon as possible after the full committee meeting. Further, FSIS intends to make these materials available in both electronic format on the FSIS Web page, as well as in hard copy format in the docket room. Often, an attempt is made to make the materials available at the start of the full committee meeting when sufficient time is allowed in advance to do so.

DISCLAIMER: For electronic copies, all NACMCF documents and comments are electronic conversions from a variety of source formats into HTML that may have resulted in character translation or format errors. Readers are cautioned not to rely on this HTML document. Minor changes to materials in electronic format may be necessary in order to meet the electronic and information technology accessibility standards contained in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in which graphs, charts, and tables must be accompanied by a text descriptor in order for the vision-impaired to be made aware of the content. FSIS will add these text descriptors along with a qualifier that the text is a simplified interpretation of the graph, chart, or table. Portable Document Format (PDF) and/or paper documents of the official text, figures, and tables can be obtained from the FSIS Docket Room.

Copyrighted documents will not be posted on the FSIS Web site, but will be available for inspection in the FSIS docket room.

Additional Public Notification

Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, in an effort to better ensure that minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are aware of this notice; FSIS will announce it and make copies of this Federal Register publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is communicated via Listserv, a free e-mail subscription service. In addition, the update is available on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov. The update is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, recalls, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The constituent Listserv consists of industry, trade, and farm groups, consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, scientific professionals, and other individuals that have requested to be included. Through the Listserv and Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience.

For more information contact the Congressional and Public Affairs Office, at (202) 720-9113. To be added to the free e-mail subscription service (Listserv) go to the “Constituent Update” page on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​oa/​update/​update.htm. Click on the “Subscribe to Start Printed Page 4920the Constituent Update Listserv” link, then fill out and submit the form.

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Done at Washington, DC, on January 29, 2004.

Garry L. McKee,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 04-2131 Filed 1-29-04; 1:41 pm]

BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P