The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) is set to hold a meeting via conference call to discuss food safety questions from the department’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchasing requirements for ground beef that supplies federal nutrition programs.

The NACMCF is set to discuss microbiological criteria, pathogen testing methodology, and sampling plans.

The full committee is scheduled to meet by phone conference on Wednesday, March 28, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. The meeting is open to the public. Those interested in participating can contact Karen Thomas-Sharp at the FSIS Office of Public Health Science, at 202-690-6620 or email:

According to the federal register notice, the NACMCF was established in 1988, in response to a recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences for an interagency approach to microbiological criteria for foods, 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 on the FSIS website.

“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, as well as the review and evaluation of epidemiological and risk assessment data and methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards in foods,” according to the register. “The Committee also provides scientific advice and recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Departments of Commerce and Defense.”