Extension urged on non-O157 STEC declaration comment period

by Staff
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WASHINGTON – Eight industry associations, including the American Meat Institute, have requested an extension of the comment period regarding the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s recent Federal Register publication, Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli in Certain Raw Beef Products, which declares that six non-O157 strains will be treated as adulterants when found in certain beef products.

The AMI, American Association of Meat Processors, Eastern Meat Packers Association, Meat Import Council of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Meat Association, North American Meat Processors Association and the Southwest Meat Association signed the letter.

“Many members of the undersigned organizations will be directly subject to the new policy set forth in the Final Determination and Request for Comments [FDRC] and all will be affected. For that reason, the undersigned organizations need additional time to prepare comments that will help guide the agency as it prepares for and implements the new policy,” the letter stated. The groups also requested a delay in the effective date of the new policy.

“Several of the topics about which the agency is requesting comment dictate such an extension. For example, the agency suggests in the Final Determination and Request for Comments that a technical meeting may be warranted, as well as another public meeting about implementation. Both of these events may be warranted and if so, it seems unlikely that they could be held in a timely fashion and still afford the affected industries sufficient time to prepare for what might come from such meetings,” the letter stated.
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