These Regulatory Updates are brought to you by Michael Best & Friedrich. 

This Regulatory Update includes information from August 16 – 31, 2020. Please contact Paul BensonTaylor Fritsch, or Leah Ziemba for additional information on regulatory issues that may affect your business.

For access to articles and resources from our Premium Member law firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, to help navigate this challenging time, please follow these hyperlinks to Michael Best’s COVID-19 Resource Center and CARES Act Relief Resource Center.

 

COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS

  • Secretary Perdue Hints at Round 2 of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) MUST READ

  • FDA and OSHA Release Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During Pandemic MUST READ

FDA UPDATES

  • FDA Releases Investigation Update on Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak from Peaches

  • FDA Provides Resources for Food Producers Affected by Storms Laura and Marco

  • FDA Promotes Educational Materials on New Nutrition Facts Label

USDA UPDATES

  • USDA and EPA Announce Competition to Advance Agricultural Sustainability in U.S.

  • Beef Producers Urge Prioritization of US Meat Processors in USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program

PUBLIC MEETINGS

  • USDA-FSIS and USDA-OFS to Host Virtual Meeting on Salmonella (Sept. 22)

  • National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) to Convene Virtually (Sept. 24-25)

  • USDA-FSIS to Host Virtual Meeting on Consumer Outreach and Education (Oct. 6)

  • FDA, CDC, and USDA Release National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Strategic Plan and Announce Public Meeting (Oct. 13-14)


COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS

Secretary Perdue Hints at Round 2 of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
August 26: During a media call, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue confirmed USDA’s intent to offer a second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) assistance – “CFAP 2” – that could become available around Labor Day.

According to the Feedstuffs news site, a USDA spokesman told media representatives, “Agricultural producers continue to be impacted by COVID-19, and USDA is working to assist our farmers and ranchers. Our team will reflect on what worked well under the current CFAP and on the information and feedback we gathered as part of the process to make the next round even stronger and more effective for our producers.”

On August 11, 2020, USDA extended the CFAP application deadline from August 31 to September 11, 2020. As of that date, just 24% of CFAP-eligible farms had signed up to receive CFAP program assistance.

Read our discussion of the CFAP deadline extension in the August 2020 Regulatory Update (Part 1) here.

 

FDA and OSHA Release Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During Pandemic
August 19: FDA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which advises industry on re-starting operations after a COVID-19 shut-down and on reassessing operations because of changes necessitated by COVID-19.

According to FDA’s Constituent Update, the checklist consists of two sections. The first addresses “employee health, screening, and operation configuration for social distancing…based on guidelines provided by CDC and OSHA,” and the second focuses on “food safety requirements, found in existing regulations, that can help the food industry assess the potential impact of COVID-19-related operational changes on food safety practices.”

Read FDA’s Constituent Update here and the checklist here (PDF).


FDA UPDATES

FDA Releases Investigation Update on Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak from Peaches
August 28: FDA released an update on its investigation of a multistate Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that had resulted in 78 total illness as of August 27. Although its traceback investigation was ongoing as of August 28, the agency identified Prima Wawona / Wawona Packing Company as the likely source of contaminated bagged peaches.

According to FDA’s Constituent Update, “On August 22, 2020, Prima Wawona recalled bagged and bulk, or loose, peaches that they supplied to retailers nationwide.” As of August 28, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand also had issued recalls of Prima Wawona peaches. For an up-to-date list of recall information related to the outbreak, see FDA’s Outbreak Investigation page. 

Read about FDA’s outbreak investigation and recall information here

 

FDA Provides Resources for Food Producers Affected by Storms Laura and Marco
August 25: FDA shared resources from its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to help farmers respond to the severe damage caused by Hurricanes Laura and Marco in the U.S. Southeast and Gulf Coasts.

In its Constituent Update, the agency included links to its October 2011 “Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption” and its July 2020 “Resources for Animal Food Producers in Puerto Rico and the Southeastern U.S. Affected by Hurricane Isaias,” which offers guidance on salvaging crops deemed unsuitable for human consumption to use as animal food.

Read FDA’s Constituent Update here

 

FDA Promotes Educational Materials on New Nutrition Facts Label
August 26: FDA shared educational resources on the new Nutrition Facts label – “the first major update to the label in more than 20 years,” according to its Constituent Update – for teachers, parents, and youth. Resources include two educational games available at the “Snack Shack” in the online Whyville community; “Read the Label” outreach materials; “Science and Our Food Supply” supplementary curricula; and an online “Interactive Nutrition Facts Label.”

Read FDA’s Constituent Update here


USDA UPDATES

Agricultural Sustainability in U.S.
August 26:The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and USDA announced the “Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges,” a joint EPA-USDA competition promoting the advancement of agricultural sustainability through two challenges “that seek proposals for new and existing fertilizer technologies to maintain or improve crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizers on the environment,” according to USDA’s Press Release.

The first challenge, “EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge,” asks challenge participants to identity existing “Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs) that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria.” The challenge will not include a monetary prize, “but winners will receive scientific evaluation of their product and recognition from EPA, USDA, and other collaborators and participants.”

The second challenge, the “Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge,” asks participants “to generate new concepts for novel technologies that can help address environmental concerns surrounding agriculture practices while maintaining or increasing crop yields.” The winner(s) will receive a prize of at least $10,000.

The Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges opened on August 26, 2020. “Registrants must submit their entries by October 30, 2020, for the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge and by November 30, 2020, for the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge. Winners will be announced in the winter of 2021.” EPA and USDA will host an informational webinar on the competition on September 24, 2020 at 10:00-11:00 AM EST.

Read USDA’s Press Release and register for the informational webinar here.

 

Beef Producers Urge Prioritization of US Meat Processers in USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program

August 24:The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and eleven other state and national beef-producing groups pushed for the inclusion of US meat processors in USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS), the program supplies “food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits” with “food boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products.” Though the program is intended to assist both American consumers and “American producers of all sizes” affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter-writing organizations expressed concern that the program was “misspending…federal aid dollars…on imported, foreign goods” due to a regulatory loophole that “allows for imported beef to be labeled ‘Product of the U.S.A.’” Thus, the letter requested “that USDA prioritize applicants who have demonstrated established relationships with independent regional meat processors to fill their order.”

Read about the Farmers to Families Food Box Program here.


 

PUBLIC MEETINGS

USDA-FSIS and USDA-OFS to Host Virtual Meeting on Salmonella (Sept. 22)
USDA-FSIS and USDA’s Office of Food Safety (USDA-OFS) will host a virtual public meeting with participation by FDA, CDC, and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) on September 22, 2020, from 9:00AM-3:15 PM EST. The meeting will focus on USDA’s “commitment to reduce pathogen contamination by leading with science, building relationships, and influencing behavior change to decrease Salmonella infections associated with FSIS-regulated products and save lives,” according to USDA-FSIS’s News Release. Questions must be submitted for consideration by September 10, 2020.

In the week prior to the meeting, USDA-OFS will release the “Roadmap to Reducing Salmonella: Driving Change through Science-Based Policy,” which will detail USDA’s strategies for “advanc[ing] programs and policies that are science-based, data-driven, and promote innovation to reduce Salmonella in meat, poultry, and egg products.”

Read USDA-FSIS’s News Release and register for the meeting here

 

National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) to Convene Virtually (Sept. 24-25)
The National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) will convene virtually on September 24 and 25, 2020. Authorized under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Committee will review and advise about both “the steps FSIS should take to ensure better control of artisanal, shelf-stable ready-to-eat (RTE) fermented, salt-cured, or dried products that rely on multiple hurdles for lethality” and “whether the Agency should continue not to test boxed beef primal and sub-primal products for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), if they are intended for intact cuts,” according to USDA-FSIS’s Federal Register Notice. 

The virtual meeting will be open to the public from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM EST on September 24 and from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM EST on September 25. “Stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide oral comments during the public meeting,” and meeting transcripts will be accessible on the USDA-FSIS website.

Read USDA-FSIS’s Federal Register Notice and register for the NACMPI meeting here.

 

USDA-FSIS to Host Virtual Meeting on Consumer Outreach and Education (Oct. 6)

USDA-FSIS will host a virtual public meeting with participation by FDA, CDC, and the Partnership for Food Safety Education on October 6, 2020, from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM EST.

According to the agency’s Federal Register Notice, the meeting will address USDA-FSIS’s “consumer education efforts over the years and how [its] multi-year research project [begun in 2017] has helped identify gaps in outreach to focus engagement where it is needed most.” Industry members, “consumer representatives, non-profits, food safety advocates working at state, county and local levels, and other interested individuals” are invited to join the forum discussion.

Read USDA-FSIS’s Federal Register Notice and register for the meeting here

 

FDA, CDC, and USDA Release National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Strategic Plan and Announce Public Meeting (Oct. 13-14)
FDA, in partnership with CDC and USDA-FSIS, announced the release of the 2021-2025 strategic plan for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), a program that “examines bacteria isolated from humans…raw retail meats…and animals at slaughter…to analyze and report on patterns of resistance to the most important antimicrobial agents,” according to the agency’s Constituent Update. 

The NARMS Strategic Plan details the program’s strategic goals and the central theme of “One Health,” a “collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach to health…with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.” In accordance with One Health, NARMS will expand testing to environmental water samples through collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).

FDA also announced the 2020 Public Meeting on NARMS, which will be held virtually on October 13 and 14, 2020. Registration will be open through 4:00 PM EST on September 22, 2020.

Read FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine Update here and the strategic plan here (PDF). Register for the NARMS 2020 Public Meeting here.

 

THANKS TO OUR PREMIUM MEMBERS