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United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
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View Glossary terms beginning with:  
Absorbent Packing
Material within a package which absorbs liquids from product; pad in meat trays is made from paper and has a plastic liner.

Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)
An estimate by the Joint Food and Agricultural Organization (United Nations)/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the amount of a veterinary drug, expressed on a body weight basis, that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk (standard man=60 kg).

Accredited Laboratory Program (ALP)
The Accredited Laboratory Program accredits nonfederal analytical chemistry laboratories to analyze meat and poultry food products for moisture, protein, fat, and salt (MPFS) content, and/or certain specific classes of chemical residues. Currently the specific chemical residues are chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHC), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), sulfonamides, nitrosamines, and arsenic.

A list of popular acronyms used widely by and within FSIS.

Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR)
Product derived from AMR systems is defined as “meat.” AMR is a process that uses machinery to separate edible meat from bones by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone. AMR machinery is not permitted to break, grind, crush, or pulverize bones to separate meat, and bones must emerge intact and in natural physical conformation. Meat produced using this method is comparable in appearance, texture, and composition to meat trimmings and similar meat products derived by hand trimming of bones. Product derived from AMR systems cannot contain spinal cord tissue. FSIS verifies that establishments using AMR systems do not incorporate spinal cord tissue into the products as a consequence of the pressure used to force meat tissue from the bone. Questionable products may be sampled by FSIS for analytical testing for the presence of spinal cord.

Adulterated Food
Generally, impure, unsafe, or unwholesome; however, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act contain separate language defining in very specific (and lengthy) terms how the term “adulterated” will be applied to the foods each of these laws regulates. Products found to be adulterated under these laws cannot enter into commerce for human food use.

see Dry Aged.

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
USDA agency that establishes standards for grades of cotton, tobacco, meat, dairy products, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. It also operates inspection, grading, and market news services, and provides supervisory administration for federal marketing orders.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
USDA agency employing federal scientists to conduct basic,applied, and developmental research in the following fields: livestock; plants; soil, water and air quality; energy; food safety and quality; nutrition; food processing, storage, and distribution efficiency; non-food agricultural products; and international development.

Animals subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act’s mandatory inspection requirements. USDA exempts from its inspection foods containing three percent or less raw (or less than two percent cooked) red meat or other edible portions of a carcass, or products which historically have not been considered by consumers as products of the meat industry. For poultry products, see 9 CFR §381.15.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
USDA agency established to conduct inspections and regulatory and control programs to protect animal and plant health. It utilizes border inspections to prevent international transmission of pests and disease, administers quarantine and eradication programs, and certifies that U.S. exports meet importing countries’ animal and plant health standards.

Animal Disposition Reporting System (ADRS)
The Animal Disposition Reporting System contains slaughter totals and disposition summaries for federally inspected livestock and poultry slaughter establishments. Each animal carcass is inspected for diseases and other conditions, which if present, may result in the animal being condemned as unfit for human consumption. If a carcass is condemned, the reason for condemnation, also referred to as the disposition, is recorded in the ADRS database.

Animal (Veterinary) Drugs
Drugs intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in animals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the broad mandate under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to assure the safety and effectiveness of animal drugs and their use in all animals, including farm animals. Before FDA formally approves an animal drug, the sponsor or manufacturer of the drug must show in its premarket approval application that the drug is “safe and effective” in scientific testing. Such testing data, included with the application, must demonstrate a methodology to detect and measure any residue left in edible animal products and show that edible animal products when ready-to-eat are free from unsafe residues. Farmers and veterinarians treating farm animals must adhere to any restrictions about withdrawal times, or any warning or use constraints stated on the drug label.

Animal Food
Any article intended for use as food for dogs, cats, or other animals derived wholly, or in part, from the carcass or parts or products of the carcass of any livestock, except that the term animal food as used herein does not include:
  1. Processed dry animal food or
  2. Livestock or poultry feeds manufactured from processed livestock byproducts (such as meatmeal tankage, meat and bonemeal, bloodmeal, and feed grade animal fat).
Animal Food Manufacturer
Any person engaged in the business of manufacturing or processing animal food.

Animal Identification and Traceback
Currently, the private marketing system, assisted by computerization of records, generally can trace products back to their original suppliers, although not necessarily all the way to the farm. It has been suggested that a type of traceback program might be formalized to monitor and contain outbreaks of foodborne illness better. USDA has called “animal identification” an important element of any traceback system. Many livestock producers currently identify their animals using backtags, ear tags, tattoos, and other devices, so incorporating animal identification into a traceback program might not be difficult.

Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

Antemortem Inspection
As used in the meat and poultry inspection program, the term refers to the examination that USDA meat and poultry inspectors are required to conduct of all live animals prior to slaughter.

A disease of mammals and humans caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax has an almost worldwide distribution and is a zoonotic disease, meaning it may spread from animals to humans. All mammals appear to be susceptible to anthrax to some degree, but ruminants such as cattle, sheep, and goats are the most susceptible and commonly affected, followed by horses, and then swine.

Chemical substances produced by microorganisms or synthetically that inhibit the growth of, or destroy, bacteria. Rules guiding the use of veterinary drugs and medicated animal feeds, including tolerance levels for drug residues in meats for human consumption, are set by the Center for Veterinary Medicine of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) enforces the FDA rules through a sampling and testing program that is part of its overall meat and poultry inspection program.

Antibiotic Resistance Action Plan
Public health action plan developed by an Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance that was created in 1999 to combat antimicrobial resistance. The task force is co-chaired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, and Health Resources and Services Administration.

Antimicrobial Resistance
Bacteria and other disease-causing organisms have a remarkable ability to mutate and acquire resistance genes from other organisms and thereby develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs. When an antimicrobial drug is used, the selective pressure exerted by the drug favors the growth of organisms that are resistant to the drug’s action.

Substance added to food to prevent the oxygen present in the air from causing undesirable changes in flavor color. BHA, BHT, and tocopherols are examples of antioxidants.

Artificial Coloring
A coloring containing any dye or pigment manufactured by a process of synthesis or other similar artifice, or a coloring which was manufactured by extracting naturally produced dyes or pigments from a plant or other material.

Artificial Flavoring
Artificial flavors are restricted to an ingredient which was manufactured by a process of synthesis or similar process. The principal components of artificial flavors usually are esters, ketones, and aldehyde groups. These ingredients are declared in the ingredients statement as “Artificial Flavors” without naming the individual components. See 9 CFR 317.2(j)(3) and 381.119.

Aseptic Packaging
Technique for creating a shelf-stable container by placing a commercially sterile product into a commercially sterile container in a commercially sterile environment. The sealed container is designed to maintain product sterility until the seal is broken.

Automated Import Information System (AIIS)
A centralized FSIS database that stores inspection results and provides a record of how each exporting country maintains inspection controls.
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Last Modified: November 26, 2004



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