[Federal Register: April 20, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 76)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 21047-21049]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr20ap04-5]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 320 and 381

[Docket No. 01-034E]

 
Need To Complete New Registration Form

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Extension of date by which businesses required to register with 
FSIS must do so.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that all parties required to register with the Agency, including those 
that are currently registered, have until May 24, 2004, to file the new 
registration form that the Agency has developed. On June 25, 2003, FSIS 
announced that it had developed the new registration form, and that all 
businesses required to register with FSIS were to submit the form by 
March 22, 2004. FSIS is extending the deadline for submitting the new 
registration form because it was not available at the time FSIS 
projected that it would be available. This document addresses issues 
that have arisen concerning the registration requirement.

DATES: All parties required to register with FSIS, including those 
currently registered, must complete the new registration form and 
submit it to FSIS by May 24, 2004.

ADDRESSES: The new registration form (FSIS Form 5020-1) is available 
over the Internet at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fsisforms. To obtain a 

copy of the registration form, parties may also write to USDA, FSIS, 
Program Evaluation, Enforcement and Review (PEER), Evaluation and 
Enforcement Division (EED), 300 West End Court Building, 1255 22nd 
Street, NW., Room 300, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Arshad Hussain, Division Director, 
Data Analysis and Statistical Support Staff, Food Safety and Inspection 
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (202) 720-3219.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 25, 2003, FSIS published a document 
that announced the need for certain businesses to complete a new 
registration form that the Agency had developed, and that explained the 
importance of compliance with recordkeeping and registration 
requirements in the Federal meat and poultry products inspection 
regulations (68 FR 37730).
    As explained in that document, the Federal Meat Inspection Act 
(FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) prohibit any person, 
firm, or corporation from engaging in commerce as a meat or poultry 
products broker, renderer, animal food manufacturer, wholesaler of any 
carcasses, or parts or products of the carcasses of livestock (that is, 
cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines) or 
poultry, or public warehouseman storing any such articles in or for 
commerce, or from buying, selling, or transporting, or importing any 
dead, dying, disabled or diseased livestock or poultry or parts of the 
carcasses of livestock or poultry that died otherwise than by 
slaughter, unless they have registered their business as required by 
the regulations, 9 CFR 320.5 and 381.179 (see section 203 of the FMIA 
(21 U.S.C. 643) and section 11(c) of the PPIA (21 U.S.C. 460(c)). 
Sections 320.5(c) and 381.179(c) of 9 CFR provide that the registration 
requirements do not apply to persons that conduct any of the businesses 
listed above only at an official establishment. Therefore, official 
establishments are not required to register with FSIS.
    Following publication of the June 25, 2003, document, a retail 
association contacted FSIS and asked whether retailers are required to 
register with FSIS, and whether warehouses and distribution centers 
owned by retail stores are required to register with FSIS. The Agency 
advises that retail stores that sell meat or poultry products to 
household consumers only are not required to register with FSIS. 
However, if they sell meat or poultry products to hotels, restaurants, 
institutions, or other retailers, they are wholesalers of such products 
and thus are subject to the registration requirement.
    With regard to warehouses and to distribution centers that store 
product and thus function as warehouses, the statutes and regulations 
require that public warehouses register with FSIS but do not require 
that private warehouses register. Whether a warehouse is considered 
public or private turns on several factors. If a warehouse is owned by 
a retail store and stores only meat and poultry products that are the 
property of that retail store, the warehouse is a private warehouse and 
is not required to register with FSIS. However, if the warehouse stores 
any meat or poultry products that are not owned by the retail store 
that owns the warehouse, that warehouse would be considered a public 
warehouse and would be required to register with FSIS. For example, if 
a retail store has consigned meat or poultry products to a hotel, 
restaurant, institution, or other retailer, and the product is stored 
in the warehouse owned by the retail store, the warehouse is 
functioning as a public warehouse, because the retail store no longer 
owns the products, and would be required to register.
    As explained in the June 25, 2003, document, registration 
information, along with business records, is critical in any FSIS 
investigation related to public health, food safety, or misbranding of 
meat or poultry products (68 FR 37730). Registration information and 
business records are crucial in tracing sources of foodborne disease 
associated with consumption of meat or poultry products and in tracing 
the sources of contamination of meat or poultry products. Registration 
information and business records are also crucial in preventing the 
spread of disease associated with the consumption of meat or poultry 
products.
    According to Sec. Sec.  320.5(a) and 381.179(a) of the regulations, 
parties required to register with FSIS must do so by filing a form with 
the Agency. These regulations require parties to register within 90 
days after they begin to engage in any of the businesses that require 
them to register. Sections 320.5(b) and 381.179(b) of the regulations 
require that, whenever any change is made in the registrant's name, 
business address, or any trade or business name under which it conducts 
its business, the registrant must report such change in writing to the 
Administrator within 15 days after making the change.
    As explained in the June 25, 2003, document, FSIS has developed a 
new registration form. Because the form asks for certain information 
that was not included on the previous form, including an e-mail 
address, phone number, and subsidiaries' hours of operation, all 
parties required to register, including those that are currently 
registered, need to complete the new form and submit it to FSIS. 
Parties must submit the form to FSIS by May 24, 2004.
    FSIS previously announced that parties were required to submit the 
form by March 22, 2004. FSIS is extending

[[Page 21048]]

the deadline for submitting the new registration form to FSIS because 
the form did not become available when FSIS projected it would. The 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reviewed information collection 
associated with the registration form in accordance with the Paperwork 
Reduction Act. On February 20, 2004, the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) approved information collection associated with the new 
registration form (OMB control No. 0583-0218).
    The registration form (FSIS Form 5020-1) can be obtained over the 
Internet at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fsisforms.

    To obtain the form, parties can also write to USDA, FSIS, Program 
Evaluation, Enforcement and Review (PEER), Evaluation and Enforcement 
Division (EED), 300 West End Court Building, 1255 22nd Street, NW., 
Room 300, Washington, DC 20250-3700. The form will also be available 
from FSIS personnel that visit businesses required to register. Once 
parties complete the form, they should mail it to USDA, FSIS, Program 
Evaluation, Enforcement and Review (PEER), Evaluation and Enforcement 
Division (EED), 300 West End Court Building, 1255 22nd Street, NW., 
Room 300, Washington, DC 20250-3700 (the same address as for obtaining 
forms) or fax it to Director, Evaluation and Enforcement Division (EED) 
at (202) 418-8941.
    FSIS intends to issue instructions to FSIS personnel concerning the 
registration requirement.

Comments

    FSIS received two comments in response to the June 25, 2003, 
document on recordkeeping and registration, one from a consumer 
organization and one from the government of a foreign country that is 
eligible to export to the United States (U.S.) product from livestock 
covered by the FMIA.
    The consumer group stated that FSIS should require additional 
registration information, such as the specific types of animals 
slaughtered and animal products processed, transported, or handled; 
whether the registrant operates on a seasonal basis, and if so, the 
hours of operation; whether the types of animals slaughtered, processed 
or transported change depending on the season; and the name and 
telephone number of a contact person in the event of an emergency, 
particularly during non-working hours. This commenter also recommended 
that FSIS re-examine the existing regulatory recordkeeping requirements 
to assure that the type and form of the records required to be kept 
would be sufficient for FSIS to conduct both a trace back and a trace 
forward in the event of a food emergency. Finally, the commenter 
recommended that FSIS work with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) to assure that the strongest possible cattle 
identification system is in place so that animals can be traced back to 
their source as quickly as possible.
    FSIS believes that existing registration and recordkeeping 
requirements are adequate to conduct both a trace back and a trace 
forward in the event of a food emergency. With regard to a cattle 
identification system, on December 30, 2003, Agriculture Secretary 
Veneman announced that USDA will begin implementation of a verifiable 
system of national animal identification.
    The consumer organization also recommended additional measures, 
other than those concerning registration and recordkeeping, that FSIS 
should take to assure that the public is protected if Bovine Spongiform 
Encephalopathy (BSE) is ever discovered in the U.S. The commenter 
stated that the additional measures could include designation of 
certain tissues from all downer cattle and cattle over 24 months as 
Specified Risk Material (SRM) and banning vertebral columns and other 
potentially infectious tissues in advanced meat recovery (AMR) systems.
    On January 12, 2004, FSIS published three interim final rules in 
response to the discovery of a BSE-positive cow in this country. These 
rules include provisions that are consistent with the consumer 
organization's comments (69 FR 1862, 1874, and 1885).
    The government of the foreign country wanted assurances that 
registration and recordkeeping measures applied to products exported to 
the United States are not more trade restrictive than necessary to meet 
objectives; are based on sound risk assessments that address real 
risks; focus on outcomes rather than prescribing specific measures to 
achieve them; allow for the application of equivalence in achieving 
objectives; and avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable differences in the 
level of protection applied in different situations. That government 
also wanted assurances that the increased enforcement of registration 
and recordkeeping requirements and changes to current registration data 
will meet the U.S Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures agreement and the 
U.S. Technical Barriers to Trade agreement. In addition, the government 
asked for clarification on the timing of FSIS's increased enforcement 
of registration and recordkeeping requirements and asked whether this 
increased enforcement by FSIS would cause time delays and potential 
increases in costs at port of entry for exporters who endeavor to 
comply with registration requirements.
    The government also wanted assurance that that country's export 
establishments would be allowed to maintain rendering facilities 
associated with their slaughtering premises and asked specific 
questions concerning the registration of the country's rendering 
facilities. The government also asked whether transport companies and 
other handlers of dead, dying, diseased, or disabled stock, other than 
the final handler (or exporter) of the product need to comply with FSIS 
registration and recordkeeping requirements.
    Even though FSIS has developed a new registration form that 
requires that parties provide certain information that was not required 
on the previous form, FSIS did not impose any substantive new 
registration requirements or any new recordkeeping requirements in the 
June 25, 2003, document. The requirement that U.S. companies submit the 
new registration form will not result in a trade barrier.
    For companies in foreign countries to be eligible to export to the 
U.S. product from livestock covered by the FMIA, the foreign country 
must have requirements equivalent to those in the Federal Meat 
Inspection Act and the Federal meat inspection regulations that apply 
to establishments preparing product for export to the U.S. (Sec.  
327.2). Therefore, the government that commented should have existing 
registration and recordkeeping requirements that are equivalent to 
those in the FMIA and Federal meat inspection regulations with which 
businesses in that country must comply. The June 25, 2003, statement 
did not affect the equivalency requirements in Sec.  327.2 or the meat 
inspection requirements of the foreign country.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to better ensure 
that the public and in particular that minorities, women, and persons 
with disabilities are aware of this notice, FSIS will announce it on-
line through the FSIS Web page located at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

    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, recalls, and other types of 
information that could affect or

[[Page 21049]]

would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The update 
is communicated via Listserv, a free e-mail subscription service 
consisting of industry, trade, and farm groups, consumer interest 
groups, allied health professionals, scientific professionals, and 
other individuals who have requested to be included. The update is also 
available on the FSIS Web page. Through Listserv and the web page, FSIS 
is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse 
audience.

    Done in Washington, DC, on April 15, 2004.
Linda M. Swacina,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 04-8948 Filed 4-15-04; 4:15 pm]