On March 10, 2016, ACS submitted two FOIA requests to FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for data pertinent to our members. One request was quickly filled, as it consisted only of FDA’s notes from our February listening session. The other request was in two parts, both for extensive and detailed raw data on sampling programs conducted by FDA to inform their risk assessments and guidance to field inspectors. This data took much longer for FDA to sort and compile, and thus much longer for ACS to receive. Several FDA staff members were helpful in continuing to keep this request moving forward, and ultimately we received the first batch of documents on June 2 (linked below).
These internal FDA documents are from the “Raw Milk Cheese Sampling Pilot Program” and the program for “Environmental Listeria Sampling in Cheese Facilities”. This information shows that artisan facilities had no greater presence of environmental listeria than larger facilities. The raw data and testing results are yet to be provided in full to ACS, but we are told they are forthcoming. These will help greatly in the development of guidelines and Preventive Controls that can have the most impact on improving and ensuring food safety in cheesemaking.
Documents provided by FDA:
- Attachment B Listeria testing methodology
- Attachment B- Schedule- FY2012 Soft Cheese Assignment Inspection Schedule with Labs 05 10 12DDFI (3)
- Attachment C Listeria testing methodology 2004_06
- Environmental Listeria Sampling at Soft Cheese Firms
- Sampling for E.coli and L.mono at Aged Gouda Cheese Firms
- Sampling for E.coli Salmonella and L.mono at Aged Gouda Cheese Firms (Single District)