With more than half of the seats open on its National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, the USDA is again seeking nominations for the 30-member panel.

In a notice posted Monday in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Agriculture set a Sept. 27 deadline for people to nominate themselves or others for the 17 open seats on the advisory committee. The department has been trying to fill 15 slots on the committee since Dec. 7, 2016.

“The closing date for nominations was Jan. 6,” according to the Federal Register. “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.”

Nominations made during the initial period do not need to be resubmitted.

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods “provides impartial scientific advice to federal agencies to use in developing integrated food safety systems from farm to table and to ensure food safety in domestic and imported foods,” according to the USDA’s website.

The committee was established in 1988, with a new, two-year charter filed Feb. 3 this year. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is charged with appointing members of the committee. The secretary also names the chairperson of the committee.

“Members of the committee will be chosen based on their expertise in microbiology, risk assessment, epidemiology, public health, food science, and other relevant disciplines,” according to USDA.

“Non-Federal Government employee members will be appointed as Special Government Employees (SGEs). One individual affiliated with a consumer group will be included in the membership of the Committee to serve in a representational capacity.”

Recent work by the advisory committee has involved optimum methods of detection and identification of E. coli bacteria and Salmonella control strategies for poultry.

Nominations can be made via email or standard mail at the following addresses.

  • Email nominations to: karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov
  • Mail nominations 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)

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

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