USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed this week to remove sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid from the list of substances that regulations prohibit for use in meat or poultry products. Under this proposal, new uses of these substances in meat or poultry products would continue to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and by FSIS for suitability. FSIS would add approved uses of these substances to the list of approved substances contained in the agency’s directive system.

In its notice, FSIS stated that on January 19, 2007, Kraft Foods Global petitioned the agency to amend the federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to permit the use of sodium benzoate and sodium propionate as acceptable antimicrobial agents that may be used in combination with other approved ingredients to inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogens (Lm) in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products.  Also, on July 26, 2010, Kemin Food Technologies petitioned FSIS to amend the regulations to permit the use of liquid sodium propionate and liquid sodium benzoate as acceptable antimicrobial agents in meat and poultry products.  FSIS said it needed additional data regarding the safety of sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid at the proposed levels of use before making a final suitability determination. Both companies provided sufficient additional data to support the use of sodium propionate, sodium benzoate, and benzoic acid as antimicrobial agents in RTE meat and poultry products.  Therefore, FSIS said it is initiating this rulemaking proposing to remove these substances from the list of substances prohibited for use in meat or poultry products.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received by FSIS by July 6, 2012.  The proposed rule is available here.

 

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