White House has released its “Current Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions” for fall 2015, which provides an overview of the Obama administration’s regulatory plans for the coming year. Two final rules expected to be released next month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) deal with catfish and ground beef. In December, the agency plans to publish its rule regarding “Mandatory Inspection of Fish of the Order Siluriformes and Products Derived From Such Fish.” The 2008 Farm Bill included provision to define “catfish” and bring the species under the jurisdiction of FSIS. On Feb. 24, 2011, FSIS published a proposed rule that outlined a mandatory catfish inspection program and presented two options for defining “catfish.” The 2014 Farm Bill replaced the term “catfish” with “all fish of the order Siluriformes.” Still listed for final action in December is the amendment to record-keeping regulations to specify that all establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef products for sale in commerce must keep records of the supplier of all source materials used and identify the names of those source materials. Another FSIS action of note are the proposed changes to egg products inspection regulations, which include requiring egg products plants to develop and implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), consistent with HACCP and Sanitation SOP requirements in the meat and poultry products inspection regulations. This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is planned for March 2016. Additional FSIS Regulation:

Stage of Rulemaking Title RIN Date of Action
Final Electronic Export Application and Certification as a Reimbursable Service and Flexibility in the Requirements for Official Export Inspection Marks, Devices, and Certificates 0583-AD41  Dec. 2015
Final Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Veal Calves 0583-AD54  March 2016
Proposed Revision of the Nutrition Facts Panels for Meat and Poultry Products and Updating Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed 0583-AD56 March 2016
Proposed Eligibility of Honduras to Export Poultry Products to the United States 0583-AD58 March 2016
Proposed Elimination of Trichina Control Regulations and Consolidation of Thermally Processed, Commercially Sterile Regulations 0583-AD59 March 2016
Proposed Product Labeling: Use of the Voluntary Claim “Natural” on the Labeling of Meat and Poultry Products 0583-AD30   April 2016
Final Classes of Poultry 0583-AD60 June 2016

  Regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory actions, the last two major rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), regarding sanitary transportation and intentional adulteration, will be finalized by March 31, 2106, and May 31, 2016, respectively. FDA is also planning a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for “Updating Tolerances for Residues in New Animal Drugs in Food” in April 2016. The comment period on the initial NPRM ended in March 2013. By August 2016, FDA will finalize its rule for the process of determining food substances as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), as decided last year in a settlement agreement with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And the agency is planning to release a NPRM for laboratory accreditation for analyses of foods in August 2016. If finalized, the proposed rule will enable FDA to recognize accreditation bodies that will ensure that laboratories performing analyses of food under certain circumstances have appropriate equipment, personnel, and procedures to conduct reliable analyses. Use of accredited laboratories will increase the number of qualified laboratories eligible to perform testing of food. Additional FDA regulation:

Stage of Rulemaking Title RIN Date of Action
Proposed Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented, Hydrolyzed, or Distilled Foods 0910-AH00 Nov. 2015
Final Use of Materials Derived From Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics 0910-AF47 Dec. 2015
Proposed Updated Standards for Labeling of Pet Food 0910-AG09 June 2016
Final Food Labeling; Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels 0910-AF22 March 2016
Final Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One-Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain RACCs 0910-AF23 March 2016
Proposed Direct Food Substances Affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe; Partially Hydrogenated Menhaden Oil and Rapeseed Oil 0910-AH28 April 2016
Final Reports of Distribution and Sales Information for Antimicrobial Active Ingredients Used in Food-Producing Animals 0910-AG45 May 2016
 Final Registration of Food Facilities: Amendments to Food Facility Registration Requirements 0910-AG69 June 2016

  (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)