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Notice

Reopening of Nomination Period for Membership on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods

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AGENCY:

Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

On December 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in a Federal Register notice that it was soliciting nominations for membership on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) to fill 15 vacancies. The closing date for nominations was January 6, 2017. This notice reopens the nomination period for 30 days. This notice also announces that there are two more vacancies on the committee. Since the original announcement was made, two additional members have left the committee. The USDA is now seeking nominations to fill 17 vacancies. Nominations submitted during the original submission period do not need to be resubmitted.

DATES:

All materials must be received by September 27, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

Nomination packages should be sent via email to karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov and mailed to: Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250, Attn: FSIS\Office of Public Health Science/National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (Karen Thomas-Sharp).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Karen Thomas-Sharp, Advisory Committee Specialist, by telephone at 202-690-6620 or by email karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) invites interested persons to submit comments on this notice. Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site (http://www.regulations.gov/​) provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments. Mail, including CD-ROMS and hand or courier delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, USDA, FSIS Docket Room, Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Instructions: All items submitted by mail or email must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2016-0042. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov/​.

Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. All comments submitted in response to this notice, as well as background information used by FSIS in developing this document, will be available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The NACMCF was established in March 1988, in response to a recommendation in a 1985 report of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Food Protection, Subcommittee on Microbiological Criteria, “An Evaluation of the Role of Microbiological Criteria for Foods.” The current charter for the NACMCF and other information about the Committee are available to the public for viewing on the FSIS Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​nacmcf.

Nominees are sought who have scientific expertise in the fields of in the fields of microbiology, epidemiology, food technology (food, clinical, and predictive), toxicology, risk assessment, infectious disease, biostatistics, and other related sciences. Persons from the government, industry, academia, and consumer advocacy groups are invited to submit nominations.

The Committee provides scientific advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services concerning the development of microbiological criteria by which the safety and wholesomeness of food can be assessed. For example, one of the most recent efforts of the Committee is to provide the best scientific information available on Shiga Toxin producing E. coli, including providing recommendations on optimal detection and identification methodologies.

Appointments to the Committee will be made by the Secretary of Agriculture after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that recommendations made by the Committee take into account the needs of the diverse groups served by the Department. On December 7, 2016, the USDA announced that it was seeking nominations to fill 15 vacancies (81 FR 88197). Since the original announcement was made, two additional members have left the committee. The USDA is now seeking to fill 17 vacancies. Advisory Committee members serve a two-year term, renewable for two consecutive terms.

The full Committee expects to meet at least once a year by teleconference or in-person, and the meetings will be announced in the Federal Register. The subcommittees will meet as deemed necessary by the chairperson through working group meetings in an open public forum. Subcommittees also may meet through teleconference or by computer-based conferencing (Webinars). Subcommittees may invite technical experts to present information for consideration by the subcommittee. The subcommittee meetings will not be announced in the Federal Register. FSIS will announce the agenda and subcommittee working group meetings through the Constituent Update, available online at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​cu.

NACMCF holds subcommittee meetings in order to accomplish the work of NACMCF; all subcommittee work is reviewed and approved during a public meeting of the full Committee, Start Printed Page 40745as announced in the Federal Register. All data and records available to the full Committee are expected to be available to the public when the full Committee reviews and approves the work of the subcommittee. Advisory Committee members are expected to attend all in-person meetings during the two-year term to ensure the smooth functioning of the advisory committee. However, on rare occasions, attendance through teleconferencing may be permitted.

Members must be prepared to work outside of scheduled Committee and subcommittee meetings and may be required to assist in document preparation. Committee members serve on a voluntary basis; however, travel expenses and per diem reimbursement are available.

Regarding Nominees Who Are Selected

All SGE and Federal government employee nominees who are selected must complete the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) 450 Confidential Financial Disclosure Report before rendering any advice or before their first meeting. With the exception of the consumer representative committee member, all committee members will be reviewed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 208 for conflicts of interest relating to specific NACMCF work charges, and financial disclosure updates will be required annually. Members subject to financial disclosure must report any changes in financial holdings requiring additional disclosure. OGE 450 forms are available on-line at: https://www2.oge.gov/​web/​oge.nsf/​Confidential%20Financial%20Disclosure.

Additional Public Notification

Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​federal-register.

FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/​sites/​default/​files/​docs/​2012/​Complain_​combined_​6_​8_​12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.

Fax: (202) 690-7442.

Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

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Done at Washington, DC, August 23, 2017.

Paul Kiecker,

Acting Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 2017-18168 Filed 8-25-17; 8:45 am]

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