The U. S. Department of Agriculture is requesting comments on proposed changes to the U.S. Standards for Condition of Food Containers.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which develops and revises inspection standards to ensure that the quality of food product packaging is sufficient to maintain food product quality, is proposing modifications to reflect current industry practices.

“Updating the standards to reflect the advances in packaging technologies will help ensure that food containers are germ-free and the food supply is safe,” said Robert Keeney, AMS acting administrator.

Modifications to the standards would include:

* Simplifying and streamlining the standard

* Incorporating standards for new packaging technologies

* Including optional guidelines for evaluating container interiors

The changes would support over 22,000 food manufacturing establishments that may request inspections to ensure that the quality of their packaging maintains the quality of their food products.

Notice of the proposed new U.S. Standards for Condition of Food Containers was published in the Jan. 18, 2012, Federal Register. Comments must be received by March 19, 2012. Written comments may be sent to Lynne E. Yedinak, Processed Products Division, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Stop 0247, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-0247, or by fax to (202) 690-1527. If you would like to submit a comment online or receive a copy of the notice, please visit