[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 61 (Friday, March 29, 2013)]
[Pages 19182-19183]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07385]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2012-0037]

Electronic Filing of Import Inspection Applications for Meat, 
Poultry, and Egg Products: Availability of Draft Compliance Guide and 
PGA Message Set Pilot Program

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
the availability of and requesting comments on a draft compliance guide 
for U.S. importers and brokers on the electronic filing of import 
inspection applications for certain meat, poultry, and egg products 
through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). ACE is the Web-
based portal for the collection and use of international trade data 
maintained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). FSIS is also 
announcing a pilot program intended to test the transfer of data from 
the Participating Government Agency (PGA) Message Set in ACE to FSIS's 
Web-based data analytics system, the Public Health Information System 
(PHIS). The PGA Message Set is the data that CBP will collect 
electronically from U.S. importers and brokers from PGAs. This data 
will enable agencies to make decisions about which products can come 
into the U.S. without the multiple paper forms currently used. FSIS 
encourages U.S. importers and brokers to review the draft compliance 
guide and, if they are interested, to request participation in FSIS's 
pilot program. The Agency will consider all comments submitted and will 
revise the draft compliance guide as necessary.

DATES: Submit electronic or written requests to participate in the 
pilot program on or before May 28, 2013. Comments on the draft 
compliance guide should be submitted on or before June 27, 2013.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit requests to 
participate in the pilot program and comments on the compliance guide. 
Written or email requests to participate in the pilot program should be 
submitted to Mary Stanley, whose contact information can be found 
below. Comments on the compliance guide 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 on-line instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
     Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Office 
of Policy and Program Development, Risk, Innovations, and Management 
Division, Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence 
Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
     Hand-or courier-delivered submittals: Send to Docket 
Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection 
Service, Office of Policy and Program Development, Risk, Innovations, 
and Management Division, Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza 3, 355 
E. Street SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2012-0037. Comments 
received in response to this notice 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 8:30 a.m. 
and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Stanley, Director, International 
Policy Division, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, USDA, 
South Agriculture Building, Room 2925-S, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington DC 20250; telephone: (202) 720-0287, fax: (202) 720-4929 or 
email: [email protected].


I. Background

    The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and 
the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.) 
prohibit the importation of meat and poultry products into the United 
States if such products are adulterated or misbranded and unless they 
comply with all the inspection, building construction standards, and 
all other provisions of the Acts and regulations as are applied to 
domestic products (21 U.S.C. 620, 466). The Egg Products Inspection Act 
(EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031 et seq.) prohibits the importation of egg 
products unless they have been processed under an approved continuous 
inspection system of the government of the foreign country of origin 
and comply with all other provisions of the Act and regulations that 
apply to United States domestic products (U.S.C. 1046).
    FSIS meat, poultry, and egg products import regulations require 
importers to apply for the inspection of imported product (9 CFR 327.5, 
381.198, and 590.920). Applicants complete FSIS Form 9540-1, ``Import 
Inspection Application and Report,'' for meat, poultry products, and 
egg \1\ products. Until recently, the applicants gave the completed 
Form 9540-1 to FSIS import inspection program personnel, who entered 
the information from the form into the Automated Import Inspection 
System (AIIS), the computer system that

[[Page 19183]]

generated reinspection assignments and received and stored reinspection 
results. The egg products import request form (FSIS Form 5200-8) 
information was entered into the Egg Product Database, which was used 
to track imported egg products and identify shipments for reinspection.

    \1\ For egg products, applicants had to submit FSIS Form 5200-8, 
Import Request Egg Products. The Agency has revised FSIS Form 9540-
1, Import Inspection Application, to include egg products and 
additional information the Agency needs to accurately assigning 
reinspection tasks and sampling of the product.

    On May 29, 2012, FSIS replaced AIIS and the Egg Product Database 
with the import component of PHIS. PHIS has replaced many of the 
Agency's current systems and has automated many business processes. 
PHIS provides a streamlined, electronic alternative to the paper-based 
import inspection application process.
    PHIS electronically links with CBP's ACE system, the Web-based 
portal for the collection and use of international trade data, to 
create a unified import processing system for entering data. Currently, 
the PHIS interface with ACE enables the transfer to FSIS of a limited 
number of data elements collected by CBP that are also required by 
FSIS. The PGA Message Set defines the additional information FSIS 
requires from importers to complete the Agency's import application 
process. The PGA Message Set will enable U.S. importers and customs 
brokers to enter FSIS import inspection application information 
directly into the Automated Broker Interface (ABI), which transfers 
data into ACE as part of the CBP entry process.
    The PGA Message Set is a harmonized data set containing information 
that CBP will collect electronically from U.S. importers and brokers 
for PGAs, like FSIS. This capability will provide a complete import 
application, which will facilitate FSIS data entry and clearance of 
shipments presented for reinspection without using the paper forms 
currently employed. The PGA Message Set will ultimately provide U.S. 
importers and brokers with a ``single window'' to electronically 
transmit all required import data to the U.S. Government.
    Import inspection application information filed with ACE will be 
sent to PHIS through a data transfer in advance of a shipment's 
arrival. The electronic receipt of this import information to PHIS will 
expedite data entry and shipment clearance by FSIS.
    To facilitate the implementation of the electronic filing of FSIS-
specific data elements, FSIS has developed the draft compliance guide 
Data Samples and Guidelines for Using the PGA Message Set for 
Electronic Completion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 
Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Application for Import 
Inspection(FSIS Form 9540-1). The draft compliance guide is intended to 
help U.S. importers and brokers understand the additional FSIS data 
that will need to be submitted through CBP's ACE system in order to 
complete the import application process. FSIS has posted this draft 
compliance guide on its Web page (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Data_Samples_Guidelines_PGA_Message_Set.pdf) and is requesting comments 
on the guidance.

Pilot Program

    FSIS intends to initiate a pilot program on May 28, 2013 to test 
the transfer of data from the PGA Message Set in ACE to PHIS. The 
Agency encourages U.S. importers and brokers to request to join this 
pilot program. Instead of submitting the paper-based FSIS Form 9540-1, 
participating U.S. importers and brokers will use the PGA Message Set 
to send the additional FSIS-specific data elements through ACE to PHIS 
before their cargo arrives in to the United States. The specific data 
elements are outlined in the draft compliance guide. FSIS will 
determine whether sending data from the PGA Message Set in ACE to PHIS 
expedites the clearance process. FSIS anticipates that this pilot 
program will help prepare for the efficient transition from the paper-
based FSIS Form 9540-1 to PHIS.

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this notice on-line through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Federal_Register_Notices/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, 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 email subscription service which 
provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news 
and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_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 in Washington, DC on: March 25, 2013.
Alfred V. Almanza,
[FR Doc. 2013-07385 Filed 3-28-13; 8:45 am]