[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 225 (Tuesday, November 23, 2010)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 71344-71346]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-29492]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 317 and 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2010-0031]
RIN 0583-AD


Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is establishing 
January 1, 2014, as the uniform compliance date for new meat and 
poultry product labeling regulations that are issued between January 1, 
2011, and December 31, 2012. FSIS periodically announces uniform 
compliance dates for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations 
to minimize the economic impact of label changes.

DATES: This rule is effective November 23, 2010. Comments on this final 
rule must be received on or before December 23, 2010.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
final rule. Comments may be submitted by either of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the 
ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this 
Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs, and hand- or 
courier-delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, USDA, FSIS, Room 2-2127, 
George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5272, 
Beltsville, MD 20705.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2010-0031. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go 
to the FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 8 a.m. and 
4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, Food Safety 
and Inspection Service, USDA, Room 2-2125, George Washington Carver 
Center, Beltsville, MD 20705 (telephone: 301-504-0879; fax: 301-504-
0872).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FSIS periodically issues regulations that require changes in the 
labeling of meat and poultry food products. Many meat and poultry 
establishments also produce non-meat and non-poultry food products 
subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 
and FDA periodically issues regulations that require changes in the 
labeling of such products.
    On December 14, 2004, FSIS issued a final rule that provided that 
the Agency will set uniform compliance dates for new meat and poultry 
product labeling regulations in 2-year increments and will periodically 
issue final rules announcing those dates. The final rule also 
established January 1, 2008, as the uniform compliance date for meat 
and poultry product labeling regulations that were issued between 
January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2006 (69 FR 74405). Consistent with 
the 2004 final rule, FSIS subsequently issued final rules on March 5, 
2007, and December 18, 2008, that established uniform compliance dates 
of January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2012, for meat and poultry product 
labeling regulations issued between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 
2008, and January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, respectively (72 FR 
9651) (73 FR 75564).

The Final Rule

    This final rule establishes January 1, 2014, as the uniform 
compliance date for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations 
that are issued between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, and is 
consistent with the previous final rules establishing uniform 
compliance dates.
    FSIS's approach for establishing uniform compliance dates for new 
food labeling regulations is consistent with FDA's approach in this 
regard. FDA is also establishing January 1, 2014, as the uniform 
compliance date for new food labeling regulations that are issued 
between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012.
    A uniform compliance date of January 1, 2014, for all food product 
labeling regulations issued between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 
2012, will ensure that changes take effect on a timely basis and will 
minimize the economic impact of those changes on the industry because 
companies will not have to respond separately to each labeling change 
as it occurs (69 FR 74406). This policy also serves consumers' 
interests because the cost of the multiple short-term label revisions 
that would otherwise occur would

[[Page 71345]]

likely be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
    It will remain FSIS's policy, however, to encourage industry to 
comply with new labeling regulations as quickly as feasible. Thus, when 
industry members voluntarily change their labels, they should consider 
incorporating any new requirements that have been published as final 
regulations up to that time.
    The new uniform compliance date will apply only to final FSIS 
regulations that require changes in the labeling of meat and poultry 
products and that are published after January 1, 2011, and before 
December 31, 2012. In each of these regulations, FSIS will specifically 
identify January 1, 2014, as the compliance date. All meat and poultry 
food products that are subject to labeling regulations promulgated 
between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, will be required to 
comply with these regulations when introduced into commerce on or after 
January 1, 2014. If any food labeling regulation involves special 
circumstances that justify a compliance date other than January 1, 
2014, the Agency will determine for that regulation an appropriate 
compliance date, which will be specified when the final regulation is 
published.
    The Agency received only four comments in response to the May 4, 
2004, proposed rule that solicited comments on the concept of 
establishing uniform compliance dates for labeling requirements (69 FR 
74406), all of which were fully supportive of the policy to set uniform 
compliance dates. Therefore, in the March 5, 2007, final rule, FSIS 
determined that further rulemaking for the establishment of uniform 
compliance dates for labeling requirements is unnecessary (72 FR 9651). 
In response to the December 12, 2008, final rule, which established 
January 1, 2012, as the uniform compliance date for meat and poultry 
labeling regulations issued between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 
2010 (73 FR 75564), FSIS received only one comment. This comment 
concerned the listing of all ingredients and preservatives in food and 
was outside the scope of the final rule. Therefore, consistent with its 
statement in 2007, FSIS finds at this time that further rulemaking on 
this matter is unnecessary. However, FSIS is providing an opportunity 
for comment on whether the uniform compliance date established in this 
final rule should be modified or revoked.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. Under this final rule: (1) All state and local 
laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be 
preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and 
(3) no retroactive proceedings will be required before parties may file 
suit in court challenging this rule.

Executive Order 12866

    FSIS has examined the impacts of the final rule under Executive 
Order 12866, which directs agencies to assess costs and benefits of 
available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to 
select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including 
potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). This action has been 
determined to be not significant and, therefore, has not been reviewed 
by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Establishing a uniform compliance date for all future Federal food 
product labeling regulations affecting the meat and poultry industry 
that are issued by FSIS over a 2-year period will eliminate potentially 
burdensome requirements otherwise faced by the industry.
    The regulation also greatly limits the possibility of potentially 
conflicting compliance dates for labeling requirements developed for 
meat and poultry products and labeling requirements developed for non-
meat and non-poultry products. It thus provides for an orderly industry 
adjustment to any new labeling requirements. Labeling changes in 
response to Federal regulations will likely be less frequent, and 
establishments will be able to plan for full utilization of their 
labeling stocks.

Need for the Rule

    Establishing uniform compliance dates for food labeling regulations 
issued within specified time periods minimizes the economic impact of 
label changes for industry and may indirectly benefit consumers if cost 
savings are passed on in the form of lower prices.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    This rule does not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Consequently, an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required (5 U.S.C. 601-612). The 
uniform compliance date does not impose any burden on small entities. 
The Agency will conduct regulatory flexibility analyses of future 
labeling regulations if such analyses are required.

Paperwork Requirements

    There are no paperwork or recordkeeping requirements associated 
with this policy under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501-3520).

E-Government Act Compliance

    FSIS and USDA are committed to achieving the purposes of the E-
Government Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) by, among other things, 
promoting use of the Internet and other information technologies and 
providing increased opportunities for citizen access to Government 
information and services, and for other purposes.

Executive Order 13175

    This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation 
will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and 
will not have significant Tribal implications.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination 
in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, 
sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited 
bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require 
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, 
large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at 
202-720-2600 (voice and TTY).
    To file a written complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office 
of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TTY). 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that 
minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are aware of this 
final rule, FSIS will announce it on-line through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/2010_Interim_&_Final_Rules_Index/index.asp.
    FSIS also will make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures,

[[Page 71346]]

regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other 
types of information that could affect or would be of interest to 
constituents and stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, 
a free electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, 
consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals 
who have asked to be included. The Update is available on the FSIS Web 
page. Through the Listserv and the Web page, FSIS is able to provide 
information to a much broader and more diverse audience.
    In addition, FSIS offers an e-mail subscription service that 
provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news 
and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_and_events/email_subscription/.
    Options range from recalls to export information to regulations, 
directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions 
themselves and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    Done at Washington, DC, on November 16, 2010.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2010-29492 Filed 11-22-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P