[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 130 (Monday, July 7, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38343-38346]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-15289]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 130 / Monday, July 7, 2008 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 38343]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 71

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0039]
RIN 0579-AC61


Recordkeeping for Approved Livestock Facilities and Slaughtering 
and Rendering Establishments

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the regulations regarding the 
interstate movement of livestock to require approved livestock 
facilities and listed slaughtering and rendering establishments to 
maintain certain records for 5 years. Currently, approved livestock 
facilities are required to retain certain records for 2 years, and 
there are no record retention provisions that apply to listed 
slaughtering and rendering establishments. Requiring the retention of 
certain records for 5 years would allow us to trace the prior movements 
of diseased livestock further into the past than is currently possible, 
thus providing the opportunity to locate potentially infected or 
exposed livestock that might otherwise remain unidentified. We are also 
proposing to require the operators of slaughtering and rendering 
establishments to sign listing agreements to document their agreement 
to comply with the requirements of the regulations for listed 
slaughtering and rendering establishments. Such agreements are 
currently required for approved livestock facilities, but not for 
slaughtering and rendering facilities. The proposed change would 
eliminate that inconsistency.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
September 5, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0039 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0039, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0039.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 
docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of 
the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to 
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Debra C. Cox, Senior Staff 
Veterinarian, Surveillance and Identification Program, National Center 
for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 200, 
Riverdale, MD 20737; 301-734-4397.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The regulations in subchapter C of chapter I, title 9, of the Code 
of Federal Regulations contain provisions designed to prevent the 
dissemination of livestock or poultry diseases in the United States and 
to facilitate the control and eradication of such diseases. The 
regulations in 9 CFR part 71 (referred to below as the regulations) 
include general prohibitions on the interstate movement of animals that 
could spread livestock or poultry diseases.
    The regulations in Sec.  71.20 contain provisions under which 
livestock facilities may acquire and retain status as an approved 
facility. To obtain approval, facilities must enter into an agreement 
with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in which 
they agree to follow certain procedures when handling livestock 
entering the facility. Part of this agreement states that documents 
such as weight tickets, sales slips, and records of origin, 
identification, and destination that relate to livestock that are in, 
or that have been in, the facility shall be maintained by the facility 
for a period of 2 years. Such records would be critical in the event 
that APHIS or State animal health officials needed to conduct a disease 
traceback investigation.
    We are proposing to amend Sec.  71.20 to extend the records 
retention period from 2 to 5 years. Due to increased globalization, the 
threat of an animal disease introduction has increased during the past 
few years. In the case of chronic livestock diseases like bovine 
tuberculosis, signs and symptoms of the disease may not appear for 
years and apparently healthy animals may be found to be infected only 
at slaughter. In these cases, being able to trace the animals' 
movements as far in the past as possible is important to identify any 
other potentially exposed or infected animals. Requiring the retention 
of certain records for 5 years would allow APHIS to trace the prior 
movements of diseased livestock further into the past than is currently 
possible, thus providing the opportunity to locate potentially infected 
or exposed livestock that might otherwise remain unidentified. We are 
not proposing to make any changes to the records which must be kept, 
only extending the time for which they must be kept.
    We recognize that our current regulations require that livestock 
facilities keep records for no more than two years and that listed 
slaughtering and rendering establishments are not required to retain 
records for APHIS purposes. Therefore, we would not expect these 
establishments to start retaining records for a longer period prior to 
the adoption of a final rule establishing a longer retention period, 
only that they would extend their records retention to 5 years after 
such a final rule became effective.
    The regulations Sec.  71.21 are designed to enhance the level of 
animal disease surveillance in the United States. Specifically, these 
regulations state that livestock or poultry moving interstate for 
slaughter or rendering can only be moved to a slaughtering or rendering

[[Page 38344]]

establishment that has been listed by the Administrator. In order for 
an establishment to be listed, the operator of the establishment must 
agree to a number of provisions, such as allowing access to the 
facility by APHIS and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 
personnel, or APHIS contractors, for the purpose of taking blood and 
tissue samples from animals at the facility. These establishments must 
allow those personnel access to the processing line to collect the 
samples, and they must provide office and sample collection space, 
including sufficient lighting and adequate ventilation. They must also 
allow APHIS, FSIS, or APHIS contractors to record the identification of 
individual animals and retain any external or internal identification 
devices.
    We are proposing to amend Sec.  71.21 to require that the owner or 
operator of a slaughtering or rendering establishment sign a listing 
agreement in which he or she agrees, in writing, to meet the 
requirements of Sec.  71.21 in order for the slaughtering or rendering 
establishment to be listed. Failure to sign a listing agreement would 
result in the establishment not being listed, or being de-listed if it 
is currently listed. APHIS already has a listing agreement that we make 
available to such establishments, but the regulations do not refer to 
this agreement nor do they require that the owner or operator of the 
establishment sign the agreement. Such listing agreements are currently 
required for approved livestock facilities but not for listed 
slaughtering and rendering facilities. The proposed change would 
eliminate that inconsistency.
    The regulations in Sec.  71.21 currently contain no provisions 
concerning the retention of records (such as sales slips) by listed 
slaughtering and rendering establishments. For the same reasons as 
discussed earlier in this document with respect to the records 
retention provisions of Sec.  71.20, we believe it is necessary to 
amend the regulations regarding listed slaughtering and rendering 
establishments to require that these establishments retain certain 
records for 5 years. This would allow us to verify the disposition of 
herdmates or other animals exposed to the infected animal.
    Specifically, we would add a new paragraph (a)(5) to Sec.  71.21 
that would require that the management of the slaughtering or rendering 
establishment agree to maintain, for 5 years, documents such as weight 
tickets, sales slips, and records of origin, identification, and 
destination that relate to livestock that are in, or that have been in, 
the establishment. We would also require that APHIS, APHIS contractors, 
and State animal health representatives be permitted to review and copy 
or scan these documents during normal business hours.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. 
The rule has been determined to be significant for the purposes of 
Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by the Office 
of Management and Budget.
    The proposed rule would extend the time period for which livestock 
facilities must retain records from 2 to 5 years. The proposed rule 
would also require that slaughtering facilities and rendering 
facilities retain records for 5 years. This would allow APHIS to trace 
the prior movements of diseased livestock for up to 5 years, thus 
enabling the Agency to locate livestock that have potentially been 
exposed to disease. The proposed rule would also require that operators 
of slaughtering and rendering establishments agree in writing to the 
listing requirements in 9 CFR 71.21.
    For this proposed rule, we have prepared an economic analysis. The 
analysis, which is set out below, provides a cost-benefit analysis, as 
required by Executive Order 12866, as well as an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis that considers the potential economic effects of 
this proposed rule on small entities, as required by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act.
    The proposed rule has the potential to benefit APHIS, other animal 
health authorities, and the operators of slaughtering and rendering 
facilities in the event that a traceback is required to locate the 
origin of a diseased animal. The livestock, slaughtering, and rendering 
industries may also benefit because the added information could 
decrease the traceback time, thus reducing the time a particular area 
may need to be quarantined pending the outcome of an investigation. The 
proposed changes could also result in benefits from a trade perspective 
when our ability to more rapidly conclude a disease traceback 
investigation allows us to provide timely reporting to our trading 
partners regarding the disposition of the animals associated with a 
particular disease outbreak and thus facilitates our efforts to retain 
market access.

Records Retention

    As described previously, record documents such as weight tickets, 
sales slips, and records of origin, identification, and destination 
that relate to livestock that are in, or that have been in, an approved 
facility are required to be maintained by the livestock facility for a 
period of 2 years. Retention of such records is not currently required 
for slaughtering and rendering establishments. Under the proposed rule, 
approved livestock facilities and listed slaughtering and rendering 
establishments would be required to retain these records for 5 years.
    The proposed provisions regarding the retention of records should 
not have a significant economic impact on affected entities. Any costs 
of retaining these records by approved livestock facilities for an 
additional 3 years are expected to be negligible. Although rendering 
and slaughtering facilities are not currently required to retain these 
records, most reportedly do so. APHIS therefore does not expect costs 
of records retention for these businesses to differ significantly from 
costs being borne at present. Records may be maintained in paper or 
electronic form.
    For the reasons discussed above, costs of complying with the 
proposed requirements for records retention should be minimal in most 
cases, and may depend on the method of record retention (paper copy or 
electronic) and the size of the facility. Clearly, a large-scale 
operation that maintains paper records would be faced with higher 
potential recordkeeping costs than would be a smaller-scale operation 
that maintains records electronically. We welcome the submission of 
information from potentially affected entities or any other sources 
that would help us to better estimate any additional costs that may 
result from the proposed records retention provisions.
    The proposed records retention provisions have the potential to 
benefit APHIS, other animal health authorities, and the operators of 
livestock, slaughtering, and rendering facilities in the event that a 
traceback is required to locate the origin of a diseased animal. 
Increasing the records retention time would extend the ability of State 
and Federal animal health authorities to trace the prior movements of 
diseased livestock for up to 5 years, thus enabling the Agency to 
locate other livestock that may have been exposed to diseases. This 
could prove particularly helpful during tracebacks connected to 
diseases with longer incubation periods such as some transmissible 
spongiform encephalopathies. The livestock, slaughter, and rendering 
industries would also benefit because the added information has the 
potential to reduce the amount of time needed to conduct a traceback 
investigation, thus reducing

[[Page 38345]]

the time a particular area may need to be quarantined pending the 
outcome of an investigation. As noted previously, we expect these 
proposed provisions could also produce benefits in terms of helping our 
efforts to retain access to international markets in the aftermath of a 
disease outbreak by giving us the ability to more rapidly conclude a 
disease traceback investigation and subsequently provide timely 
reporting to our trading partners regarding the disposition of the 
animals associated with that disease outbreak.

Listing Agreement

    APHIS has a listing agreement for slaughtering and rendering 
facilities; however, it is not currently required that operators agree 
in writing to meet the requirements in Sec.  71.21 of the regulations 
for becoming a listed establishment. Under the proposal, they would 
have to agree in writing to meet the requirements in Sec.  71.21 of the 
regulations to become a listed establishment.
    The proposed requirement for signed listing agreements should not 
have a significant economic impact on slaughtering or rendering 
facilities. To the extent that these operations already follow listing 
requirements, there should not be any cost associated with signing a 
listing agreement. Requiring operators to agree in writing to meet the 
requirement for an approved slaughtering or rendering facility will 
increase accountability.

Potentially Affected Entities

    The proposed rule would affect approved livestock facilities and 
listed rendering and slaughtering establishments. This is because, at 
the present time, none of those entities are required to retain records 
for the proposed 5-year time period. The operators of listed 
slaughtering and rendering establishments are not currently required to 
sign a listing agreement to be listed by APHIS.
    Livestock facilities include posted stockyards and bonded packers. 
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, 
Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) recorded a total of 
2,658 posted stockyards and a total of 502 bonded packers.\1\ While the 
employment numbers are not listed for these industries, APHIS employees 
who work closely with stockyards and packers estimate the majority of 
these industries employ 500 or fewer employees, and thus under the 
criteria established by the Small Business Association (SBA) would 
qualify as small entities.
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    \1\ USDA, GIPSA, Packers and Stockyards Statistical Report, 2002 
Reporting Year. (Table 43, page 67, ``Bonded packers and Posted 
stockyards.'')
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    The animal (except poultry) slaughtering industry (North American 
Industry Classification System [NAICS] 311611) is composed of 1,869 
establishments, of which 96 percent can be classified as small 
entities. According to the SBA, establishments in NAICS 311611 that 
employ 500 or fewer employees are classified as small.
    The rendering and meat byproduct processing industry (NAICS 311613) 
is composed of 231 establishments of which 100 percent can be 
classified as small entities. According to the SBA, establishments in 
NAICS 311613 that employ 500 or fewer employees are classified as small 
entities.
    This proposed rule would require approved livestock facilities and 
listed slaughtering and rendering establishments to maintain certain 
records for 5 years, and would require the operators of slaughtering 
and rendering establishments to sign listing agreements to document 
their agreement to comply with the requirements of the regulations for 
listed slaughtering and rendering establishments. As noted previously, 
APHIS already has a listing agreement that we make available to such 
establishments, but the regulations do not refer to this agreement nor 
do they require that the owner or operator of the establishment sign 
the agreement. Such listing agreements are currently required for 
approved livestock facilities but not for listed slaughtering and 
rendering facilities. However, because having a listing agreement in 
place can facilitate the prompt resolution of APHIS disease 
investigations, thus allowing the resumption of normal business 
activities, many of these establishments have signed listing 
agreements.

Alternatives

    Alternatives to the proposed rule would be to either leave the 
regulations unchanged, or require a different set of criteria than 
currently proposed. Leaving requirements for the retention of records 
unchanged would be unsatisfactory because it would not provide APHIS 
with information to expedite an animal disease traceback. It is also 
necessary that the operators of slaughtering and rendering facilities 
formally acknowledge accountability by agreeing in writing to meet the 
requirements for a listed facility.
    APHIS considers the proposed set of criteria to be the minimum 
necessary to accomplish the proposed rule's objectives. Due to the 
threat of animal disease introductions and the realization that for 
certain diseases, such as tuberculosis, an infected animal may not show 
signs of illness for a number of years, it is essential that livestock 
records be retained for a longer period of time than is currently 
required.
    For reasons discussed above, we expect that operating costs to 
comply with the proposed requirements for the signing of listing 
agreements should be negligible. However, we welcome public comment on 
this proposed rule, particularly any comments from potentially affected 
entities that would allow us to better estimate the costs associated 
with its implementation and suggestions for how the proposed rule could 
be modified to reduce expected costs for these small entities 
consistent with its objectives.
    Estimates of the expected reporting and recordkeeping burden 
associated with the proposed changes are discussed below under the 
heading ``Paperwork Reduction Act.''

Executive Order 12372

    This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State 
and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will 
be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and 
(3) administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may 
file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been 
submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 
Please send written comments to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, 
DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-
2007-0039. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. 
APHIS-2007-0039, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, 
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238, 
and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, room 404-W, 14th Street

[[Page 38346]]

and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250. A comment to OMB is 
best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 
days of publication of this proposed rule.
    Disease surveillance plays an important role in APHIS' mission of 
protecting the health of livestock populations in the United States, 
and testing animals for disease is an important surveillance tool. To 
enhance APHIS' surveillance capabilities, we are proposing to amend the 
regulations regarding the movement of livestock to require approved 
livestock facilities and listed slaughtering and rendering 
establishments to maintain certain records for 5 years. Currently, 
approved livestock facilities are required to retain certain records 
for 2 years, and there are no record retention provisions that apply to 
listed slaughtering and rendering establishments.
    Requiring the retention of certain records for 5 years would allow 
APHIS to trace the prior movements of diseased livestock further into 
the past than is currently possible, thereby providing the opportunity 
to locate potentially infected or exposed livestock that might 
otherwise remain unidentified. We are also proposing to require the 
operators of slaughtering and rendering establishments to sign listing 
agreements to document their agreement to comply with the requirements 
of the regulations for listed slaughtering and rendering 
establishments. Such listing agreements are currently required for 
approved livestock facilities, but not for slaughtering or rendering 
facilities. The proposed change would eliminate that inconsistency.
    We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected 
agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us:
    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper performance of our agency's functions, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; and
    (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who 
are to respond (such as through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses).
    Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to average 0.0830985 hours per response.
    Respondents: Livestock auction market, slaughtering, and rendering 
plant personnel.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 710.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 1.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 710.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 59 hours. (Due to 
averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of 
the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per 
response.)
    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Mrs. 
Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 
851-2908.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to 
compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet 
and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities 
for citizen access to Government information and services, and for 
other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act 
compliance related to this proposed rule, please contact Mrs. Celeste 
Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 71

    Animal diseases, Livestock, Poultry and poultry products, 
Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 9 CFR part 71 as follows:

PART 71--GENERAL PROVISIONS

    1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.


Sec.  71.20  [Amended]

    2. In Sec.  71.20, paragraph (a)(7), the number ``2'' is removed 
and the number ``5'' is added in its place.


Sec.  71.21  [Amended]

    3. In Sec.  71.21, paragraph (a) is amended as follows:
    a. Paragraphs (a)(l), (a)(2), and (a)(3) are redesignated as 
paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(4), respectively, and a new 
paragraph (a)(l) is added to read as set forth below.
    b. A new paragraph (a)(5) is added to read as set forth below.


Sec.  71.21  Tissue and blood testing at slaughter.

    (a) * * *
    (1) The owner or operator of the establishment must agree, in 
writing, to meet the requirements for a listed facility under this 
section by signing a listing agreement.
* * * * *
    (5) The management of the slaughtering or rendering establishment 
agrees that weight tickets, sales slips, and records of origin, 
identification, and destination that relate to livestock that are in, 
or have been in, the establishment will be maintained by the 
establishment for 5 years. APHIS, APHIS contractors, and State animal 
health representatives will be permitted to review and copy or scan 
these documents during normal business hours.
* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of June 2008.
Bruce Knight,
Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. E8-15289 Filed 7-3-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P