[Federal Register: March 22, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 56)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 13253-13259]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 362 and 381

[Docket No. 01-045F]
RIN 0583-AC84

Mandatory Inspection of Ratites and Squabs

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is affirming the 
interim final rule that it published on May 7, 2001 (66 FR 22899) that 
amended the Poultry Products Inspection Regulations and the Voluntary 
Poultry Inspection Regulations to make the slaughtering and processing 
of ratites and squabs subject to mandatory inspection. The Agency acted 
in response to the FY 2001 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and 
Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (the 
Appropriations Act). The Agency invited interested parties to comment 
on the interim final rule. FSIS is also making minor clarifying 
modifications to the regulations concerning ratites and squabs and is 
extending for an additional 12 months the time allowed for foreign 
countries to become equivalent for exporting ratites or squabs to the 
United States.

DATES: This final rule will be effective April 22, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the final rule, 
contact Robert Ragland, DVM, Acting Director, Inspection and 
Enforcement Standards Development Staff, Office of Policy, Program 
Development, and Evaluation, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 
202, Cotton Annex, 300 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700, 
(202) 720-3219.



    On May 7, 2001, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 
published an interim final rule (66 FR 22899) that amended the Poultry 
Products Inspection Regulations (Part 381) and the Voluntary Poultry 
Inspection Regulations (Part 362) to include ratites and squabs under 
the mandatory poultry products inspection regulations. (The interim 
final rule was originally published on May 1, 2001 (66 FR 21631), but 
had to be republished on May 7, 2001 because of printing errors.) The 
Agency acted in response to the FY 2001 Agriculture, Rural Development, 
Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 
(the Appropriations Act), signed by the President on October 28, 2000, 
which provided that 180 days after the date of its enactment, U.S. 
establishments slaughtering or processing ratites or squabs for 
distribution into commerce as human food will be subject to the 
requirements of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451, et 
seq.) (PPIA), rather than the voluntary poultry inspection program 
under section 203 of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 
1622) (AMA). That provision of the Appropriations Act was effective on 
April 26, 2001.

Import Inspection

    In the interim final rule FSIS allowed foreign countries 18 months 
from the effective date (April 26, 2001) to become equivalent for 
exporting ratites and squabs to the U. S. Thus, foreign countries had 
until October 26, 2002 to do so. FSIS is now extending this time for an 
additional 12 months to allow countries exporting or wanting to export 
ratite and squab products to go through the equivalency process. A 12 
month extension is being granted because the original 18 month period 
has proved to be inadequate to complete both the equivalence 
evaluations and the notice and comment period rulemaking that are 
necessary to complete an equivalence process. The extended effective 
date will now be October 26, 2003.
    FSIS will make equivalency determinations in accordance with 9 CFR 
part 327. If FSIS finds the country's export inspection system to be 
equivalent to the U.S. domestic inspection system, FSIS will publish a 
proposal in the Federal Register to list the country as eligible to 
export ratites or squabs to the United States. After the public has had 
60 days to comment on the proposed rule, FSIS will review all of the 
public comments and make a final determination of equivalency and a 
determination whether to list the country as equivalent and, therefore, 
eligible to export ratites or squabs to the United States. This 
determination will be announced in a final rule in the Federal 
Register, along with FSIS's responses to the public comments. At that 
time, the country's inspection service may certify establishments for 
export of ratites and squabs to the United States. In the interim final 
rule FSIS also set out what countries exporting or wanting to export 
ratites and squabs needed to do prior to receiving an equivalency 
determination. These instructions remain unchanged.

Comments on the Interim Final Rule

    FSIS provided 60 days for public comment on the interim final rule, 
ending July 2, 2001. The Agency received comments from industry groups, 
the European Union, and one individual. FSIS addresses their specific 
    Comment: The commenters took issue with the definition of ``squab'' 
as a ``young flightless pigeon.'' They pointed out that this definition 
is not always correct and is unenforceable. The commenters requested 
that the definition of ``squab'' be changed to a ``young pigeon from 
one to about thirty days of age,'' the definition used by Wendell Levi 
in his authoritative book, The Pigeon.
    Response: FSIS agrees that program inspection personnel have no way 
of distinguishing between squabs that have flown and those that have 
not flown and, therefore, is changing the definition of ``squabs'' to 
``young pigeons from one to about thirty days of age.''
    Comment: Commenters stated that the Agency made a mistake including 

[[Page 13254]]

squabs and not all pigeons under the mandatory poultry products 
inspection regulations because such was the clear intent of the 
Congress to include all pigeons under the PPIA.
    Response: The Agency disagrees. The Appropriation Act states 
specifically that ``squabs'' are to be inspected under the PPIA. It 
does not mention pigeons.
    Comment: The European Union (EU) commented that because of the 
Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) equivalence agreement between the EU and 
the United States (U.S.), FSIS should not certify individual nations in 
the EU, but rather the Agency should consider the EU as a single 
    Response: The U.S. and the EU have signed an agreement that 
establishes a mechanism for the recognition of equivalent sanitary 
measures maintained by either party (Agreement between the European 
Community and the United States of America on sanitary measures to 
protect public health in trade in live animals and animal products 
commonly called the ``Veterinary Equivalence Agreement'' or ``VEA''). 
Initially, the Agreement is limited to those sanitary measures 
enumerated by both parties in an Appendix to the Articles. The 
Agreement itself is not a blanket recognition of mutual equivalence. 
Thus, there is no basis for treating the EU as a single exporting 
country of ratites or any other poultry species.
    While the U.S. has agreed in principle that EU poultry standards 
are equivalent to those of the United States, no final determination 
has been made that they meet the level of protection that the U.S. 
deems appropriate. In the interim, the U.S. will continue to accept 
poultry products from EU Member States that were judged equivalent 
prior to signing of the VEA. Other Member States may demonstrate that 
they also have equivalent poultry inspection systems.
    In order to make additional poultry equivalence determinations, the 
U.S. will require documentation (1) that all applicable EU poultry 
directives have been transposed into country legislation, as is 
required by EU law, and (2) that they have implemented EU standards 
appropriately. In addition, a Member State would also need to 
demonstrate that U.S. pathogen reduction and HACCP requirements--which 
are not covered by the VEA--have been assimilated into its poultry 
inspection system and are being implemented in an equivalent manner. 
Certain other U.S. regulatory import requirements must be met as well.
    Comment: One commenter supported any legislation that would 
increase the consumption of emus.
    Response: As is stated in the Regulatory Impact Analysis, the 
mandatory inspection of ratites and squabs should lead to increased 
consumption of ratites and squabs.

Summary of the Final Rule

    FSIS is affirming the interim final rule on the mandatory 
inspection of ratites and squabs (66 FR 22899). FSIS is also extending 
the date for foreign countries to become equivalent for exporting 
ratite and squabs to the United States for an additional 12 months. The 
new date will be October 26, 2003. The Agency is also amending the 
paragraph in Sec. 381.1(b) that defines poultry by changing the 
definition of squabs from ``young pigeons that have not flown'' to 
``young pigeons from one to about thirty days of age.'' FSIS is also 
modifying Sec. 381.71 (b) by removing the word ``carcasses'' from the 
first sentence of this paragraph to make the language clearer. 
Moreover, the Agency is adding further information to Sec. 381.94 on 
the E. coli testing and sampling for ratites and squabs as it does for 
other species under mandatory inspection. This information makes 
explicit the fact that FSIS has not established specific performance 
standards for E. coli testing of either ratites or squabs.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

Basis for Regulatory Action

    The interim final rule amended Sec. 362.1(d) by removing squab from 
the definition of poultry in the Voluntary Poultry Inspection 
Regulations and amended Part 381 to include ratites and squabs under 
the Agency's mandatory poultry inspection requirements.


    Ratites and squabs are now amenable species and are inspected by 
the Agency under the mandatory poultry inspection regulations. These 
species are also inspected under State programs. Ratites are an order 
of flightless birds that includes ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries, 
and kiwis. The most economically important species of ratites are the 
ostrich and the emu. Squabs are young pigeons from one to about thirty 
days of age. Ratite meat and squab meat are valued for their flavor and 
nutritional characteristics.
    Since 1992, when FSIS first granted a request for voluntary 
inspection for ostriches, approximately 166 establishments have been 
issued a grant of inspection for ratite operations. Currently, 
approximately 100 establishments possess a grant of inspection. In 
1999, there were a total of 48,286 (76%) ratites inspected in Federal 
establishments, and 14,427 (24%) ratites inspected in State 
establishments, or a total of 62,713 ratites inspected (Table 1). 
Ostriches made up the largest share (69%) of the ratites inspected 
under the Federal program, whereas emus made up the largest share (56%) 
of the ratites inspected under State programs.

                    Table 1.--Ratites and Squab Inspection Volume and Establishments, FY 1999
                                                     Federal establishments   State establishments
                                                    ------------------------------------------------    Total
                      Species                           Number     Percent      Number     Percent    inspected
                                                      inspected    of total   inspected    of total
    Ostrich........................................       33,521         86        5,254         14       38,775
    Emu............................................       14,745         64        8,068         36       22,813
    Other..........................................           20          2        1,105         98        1,125
Total..............................................       48,286         76       14,427         24       62,713
Squabs.............................................      175,496         14    1,122,131         86    1,297,627
Totals.............................................      223,782         16    1,136,558         84    1,360,340
Ests...............................................       Number                  Number
    Squabs.........................................            2                       2
    Ratites........................................           99                      95

[[Page 13255]]

    In 1999, States with a large share of ratites inspected under the 
Federal program were California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, 
Oklahoma, and Texas. Alabama, California, Mississippi, North Carolina, 
Ohio, and Texas inspected a large share of ratites under State 
programs. There were almost an equal number of establishments involved 
in slaughter of ratites under the Federal (99) and State (95) 
inspection programs.


    Ostrich is the largest bird in the world, standing about seven to 
eight feet tall and weighing 300-400 pounds when fully grown. Industry 
representatives indicate that there were about 600 ostrich growers 
1998, down from 1000 growers in 1996. There is significant uncertainty 
about the annual production of ostriches and other ratites at this 
    Ostriches are slaughtered at an average age of 12 months. The 
average weight at slaughter is 350 pounds. Ostrich meat is sold as 
steaks, fillets, medallions, roasts, and ground meat. Because of their 
size ostriches are currently slaughtered in establishments that are 
equipped to process other red meat species such as cattle, sheep, 
goats, and swine.


    A mature emu reaches a height of 5 to 6 feet, weighing 90 to 120 
pounds. In 1999, 22,813 emus were inspected under Federal and State 
programs (Table 1). There are a number of valuable products derived 
from emus in addition to their meat.
    There is also significant uncertainty about the annual production 
of emus. Some sources indicate that there may be as many as 500,000 
birds on 5,000 to 6,000 farms in the U.S., with the majority of them in 
Texas, Oklahoma, and elsewhere in the Southwest.


    Squabs are young pigeons from one to about thirty days of age. 
Squabs usually weigh 1 pound or less at the time of slaughter (about 4 
weeks old). In 1999, California and Oregon were the only two States 
that inspected squabs under the Federal voluntary inspection program. 
In that year, 175,496 squabs were inspected (Table 1). During that same 
period 1,122,131 squabs were inspected under the State inspection 
programs of California and South Carolina.

Regulatory Alternatives

    FSIS considered two options in developing its interim final rule. 
The first option was to only change the definition of ``poultry'' in 
the Poultry Products Inspection Regulations to include ratites and 
squabs. This approach may have caused confusion in the industry because 
it would be difficult to apply some of the current poultry regulations 
to ratites and squabs, e.g., chilling and certain handling 
    The Agency's second option was to make the changes required by 
statute and other changes as noted above. FSIS selected this option 
because it provided a more orderly transition from voluntary inspection 
to mandatory inspection of ratites and squabs than the first option at 
little or no additional cost. The Agency is now affirming this option 
in this final rule.


    There are three primary benefits that may result from extending 
mandatory inspection services to ratites and squabs: industry growth, 
public health, and industry cost savings.
    Having the mark of inspection on ratite and squab products will 
likely lead to greater consumer confidence and acceptance of the 
products. Demand would be expected to increase as a result. 
Establishments that are able to capitalize on the change in consumer 
preference would realize increased sales of these products. To the 
extent that inspection promotes growth in the ratite and squab 
industry, society could benefit also from the increased employment and 
earnings of workers in these establishments. Studies are not available 
to identify the potential growth in the industry that may occur.
    The public health benefits of inspection are related to the 
reduction in risk associated with consumption of all ratite and squab 
meat that must be inspected using the same procedures employed in the 
meat and poultry industries. HACCP systems, Sanitation SOPs, and 
process control practices have been shown to reduce contamination by 
harmful foodborne pathogens.
    A shift to the mandatory inspection system eliminated the payment 
of fees for inspection services. This is not a benefit from an economic 
perspective as the costs of inspection are transferred elsewhere in the 
economy. Since FSIS is recovering these costs through appropriated 
funds, the change to a mandatory inspection system results in an income 
transfer from the public to the ratite and squab industry. The total 
cost savings to the industry will be about $2 million in 2001, with the 
possibility of increasing over time with the expansion of the industry.

Industry Costs

    The compliance cost of extending mandatory inspection to ratite and 
squab species is negligible. All establishments involved in 
slaughtering amenable species, as of January 25, 2000, must be in 
compliance with the provisions of Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis 
Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) final rule. Under the provisions of 
the rule, all slaughter establishments under mandatory inspection are 
required to have HACCP plans and meet process control requirements. 
Nearly all establishments that slaughter and process ratites and 
squabs, because they also slaughtered other species under mandatory 
inspection, had already implemented HACCP, Sanitation SOPs, and other 
measures consistent with mandatory inspection. These establishments 
were required under the interim final rule to make changes to their 
HACCP or sanitation procedures to include ratites and squabs. The 
Agency estimates that establishments that had not included ratites and 
squabs in their HACCP plans\1\ incurred a minimal cost of $500.00 
associated with HACCP plan modification.

    \1\ HACCP plans are not required to cover non-amenable species.

    Because poultry is subject to mandatory Federal inspection, ratites 
and squabs are now subject to E. coli testing requirements. 
Establishments that slaughter more than one kind of poultry and 
livestock are required to test the species that the establishment 
slaughters in the greatest number. Agency research indicates that the 
number of establishments where ratites and squabs are the species being 
slaughtered in the greatest number is very low. Consequently, very few 
establishments are being required to perform additional E. coli testing 
for process control verification. The costs per establishment for E. 
coli testing are shown in Table 2.
    For those establishments that slaughtered and processed ratites and 
squabs under voluntary inspection, the transition to mandatory 
inspection did not require changes in equipment and processing methods. 
Ratites are currently being slaughtered and processed in establishments 
that are equipped to process cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. Squabs 
are processed using the same equipment and procedures as those used for 
young chickens.
    The Agency estimates that 50% of the Federal establishments (50 
establishments) and 25% of the State establishments (24 establishments) 
made minor changes in their HACCP

[[Page 13256]]

plan to accommodate mandatory inspection requirements for ratites.

       Table 2.--Potential Costs for Mandatory Federal Inspection
                                             Per est.        Industry
                  Costs                      (dollars)      ($thousand)
Start up Cost:
    HACCP Plan Modification.............             500            37.0
    SSOP Modification...................             100             7.4
Recurring Cost:
    E. coli Sampling (26 samples@$20 per             520            38.5
     sample per establishment)..........
    Recordkeeping.......................             300            22.2
        Total...........................           1,420           105.1

    Another cost that applies to all establishments applying for 
Federal mandatory inspection is the application cost. This cost is 
negligible, as it is limited to a one-time cost for filling out an 
application, about $10. The total compliance cost to the establishments 
identified above are estimated to be $105,100.

FSIS Costs

    The Agency anticipates the need to conduct baseline microbiological 
studies. These studies constitute the major costs to the Agency 
totaling $205,000.

Microbiological Testing

    The microbiological studies will help the Agency determine the 
prevalence of harmful bacteria or pathogens in ratites and squabs. 
These studies can also be used to develop performance standards for 
pathogen reduction. The cost of a microbiological baseline testing for 
ratites will be $110,000 and for squabs, $95,000 (Tables 3 and 4).

     Table 3.--Cost to FSIS of a Mandatory Ratite Inspection Program
                One-time costs                     hours      $Thousand
Microbiological Baseline......................                     110.0
Transfer Payment \1\:
  Federally-Inspected Ests....................       38,524    $1,959.0
\1\ The hourly rate for Federal inspection in FY 2000 is estimated to be
  $38.44 per hour.

         Table 4.--FSIS Mandatory Squab Inspection Program Costs
                One-time costs                     hours      $Thousand
Microbiological Baseline......................                      95.0
Transfer Payment \1\:
  Federally-Inspected Ests....................          322        16.4
\1\ The hourly rate for Federal inspection in FY 2000 is estimated to be
  $38.44 per hour.

Transfer Payments

    Under voluntary inspection, establishments pay for inspection 
services. The funds for mandatory inspection activities are 
appropriated from Federal tax revenues. The transition from voluntary 
to mandatory inspection changes the source of inspection program 
funding. The Agency estimates that the industry cost of inspection of 
ratites and squabs for 1999 in Federal establishments was $1,975,000, 
of which ratites accounted for $1,959,000 and squabs for $16,400, 
including overhead (Tables 3 and 4).
    With ratite and squab inspection mandatory, it is possible that the 
volume of ratites and squabs inspected at Federally inspected 
establishments will increase beyond what is currently being inspected. 
An establishment that was under a State inspection program that shipped 
ratites and squabs in interstate commerce had to shift to Federal 
inspection to maintain its markets. It is expected that 25% of the 
establishments that were under State voluntary inspection will migrate 
to the Federal mandatory program. This analysis does not take into 
account the potential increase in the demand for inspection services. 
Both species currently account for an extremely small share of meat and 
poultry inspection. Changes in the required level of inspection program 
personnel are not expected to be significant in the near-term.
    The estimated total cost of inspection in State establishments was 
$554,400 for 14,427 ratites and 1,122,131 squabs for FY 1999. Under the 
agreement the Agency formerly had with a State having a voluntary 
inspection program, the Agency paid half of the inspection program 
costs, or $277,191 (Table 5).
    Under the mandatory program, States no longer are able to collect 
fees for inspection services. States may decide to terminate their 
ratite and squab inspection programs. If terminations occur, FSIS will 
take over inspection at the facilities operating under the State 
program and thereby absorb the total costs of inspection at these 
establishments. For those States that did not have a State voluntary 
program for ratites and squabs, the impact of a Federal mandatory 
inspection program is minimal. The payment of these costs at previously 
State inspected establishments is an income transfer similar to that 
occurring for Federally inspected establishments.
    The total transfer payment to Federal and State establishments is 
$2,252,000 ($1,975,000 plus $277,000).

                  Table 5.--Ratites and Squabs Inspection Cost at State Establishments--FY 1999
                                                                      Number        inspection     Total cost of
                             Species                                 inspected         hours        inspections
                                                                                     required           \1\
Ratites.........................................................          14,427          11,510           442.4

[[Page 13257]]

Squabs..........................................................       1,122,131           2,912           111.9
    Total.......................................................       1,136,558          14,422          554.4
\1\ FSIS hourly base rate of $38.44 times inspection hours required.

Consumer Cost

    In large part, the costs of ratite and squab inspection were 
transferred from producers to taxpayers. With the burden of paying for 
inspection service eliminated, establishments may transfer these cost 
savings to consumers through lower prices.

Economic Impact on International Trade Assessment

    Countries that previously had little interest in export 
certification may petition FSIS because these additional species now 
come under mandatory inspection. Foreign establishments that specialize 
in exotic species may seek to broaden their markets by exporting to the 
United States. The Agency may need to evaluate the equivalence of a 
greater number of foreign food regulatory inspection systems.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Because this final rule has been determined to be significant, the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed it under Executive 
Order 12866.
    The Administrator, FSIS, has determined that this final rule will 
not have a significant economic impact, as defined by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601), on a substantial number of small 
    Small establishments will not be adversely affected by this final 
rule. Few establishments slaughter and process ratites or squabs 
exclusively. For small slaughtering establishments as well as large 
ones, ratites and squabs do not comprise all or even most of their 
business. Of the 100 establishments that slaughter or process ratites 
and squabs, only two slaughter over 90% of the squabs consumed in the 
market. There are no establishments that dominate the slaughtering of 
ratites. Small entities will benefit along with the rest of the 
industry with the increased marketability of their product and the cost 
savings realized because they no longer have to pay fees to either FSIS 
or the State for voluntary inspection service.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. This final rule: (1) Preempts State and local 
laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no 
retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule. However, 
the administrative procedures specified in 9 CFR 306.5 and 381.35, 
respectively, must be exhausted before any judicial challenge of the 
application of the provisions of this final rule, if the challenge 
involves any decision of an FSIS employee relating to inspection 
services provided under the PPIA.

Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism,'' requires that agencies 
assess the federalism implications of their policy statements and 
actions, i.e., the effects of those statements and actions on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) 
and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) preempt State and local 
laws in regard to the manufacture and distribution of meat and poultry 
products. Therefore, FSIS policy statements and actions affect 
federalism within the context of these statutory preemptions.
    States and local jurisdictions are preempted by the FMIA and PPIA 
from imposing any marking, labeling, packaging, or ingredient 
requirements on federally inspected meat and poultry products that are 
in addition to, or different than, those imposed under the FMIA and the 
PPIA. States and local jurisdictions may, however, exercise concurrent 
jurisdiction over meat and poultry products that are within their 
jurisdiction and outside official establishments for the purpose of 
preventing the distribution of meat and poultry products that are 
misbranded or adulterated under the FMIA and PPIA, or, in the case of 
imported articles, that are not at such an establishment, after their 
entry into the United States.
    Specifically, under section 301 of the FMIA and section 5 of the 
PPIA, a State may administer State meat and poultry inspection programs 
provided that it has developed and is effectively enforcing State meat 
and poultry inspection requirements at least equal to those imposed 
under titles I and IV of the FMIA and sections 1-4, 6-10, and 12-22 of 
the PPIA. These titles contemplate continuous ongoing programs. When 
States can no longer effectively enforce meat and poultry inspection 
requirements at least equal to Federal requirements, they must be 
``designated'' by the Secretary to receive Federal inspection.
    When FSIS revises its meat and poultry inspection requirements, 
States that administer their own inspection programs may be affected, 
since they must continue to enforce requirements equal to those of 
FSIS. To minimize any additional costs States must incur to modify 
their inspection programs, FSIS grants the States significant 
flexibility under the ``equal to'' provisions of the FMIA and PPIA. 
Further, States are eligible to receive up to 50 percent Federal 
matching funds to cover the costs of their inspection programs.

Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements

    The Office of Management and Budget has approved the paperwork and 
recordkeeping requirements under approval number 0583-0122.

Departmental Regulation 4300-4, ``Civil Rights Impact Analysis''

    FSIS has considered under Departmental Regulation 4300-4, ``Civil 
Rights Impact Analysis,'' dated September 22, 1993, the potential civil 
rights impact of this final rule on minorities, women, and persons with 
    The purpose of the final rule is to affirm the interim final rule 
(66 FR 22899) that included ratites and squabs under mandatory Poultry 
Products Inspection Regulations.
    Congress mandated the inspection of ratites and squabs by April 26, 
2001. The Agency promulgated an interim final rule that made all of the 
necessary changes to the mandatory poultry

[[Page 13258]]

products regulations to include ratites and squabs. This final rule 
affirms the interim final rule and makes two minor amendments to the 
    The requirements placed on the relatively small number of 
establishments that slaughter or process ratites or squabs are 
consistent with FSIS mandatory regulatory requirements for other 
species. The economic impacts on these establishment are in line with 
the benefits that the public should expect and with what the 
establishments should expect to recover as a result of moving from 
voluntary to mandatory inspection. For the overwhelming majority of 
establishments potentially affected by the move to mandatory 
inspection, the impacts will be beneficial.
    Of the 7,500 Federal and State inspected meat and poultry 
establishments for which data are available, 317 are owned by females 
and 297 are owned by non-whites--or a total of about 4 percent of these 
establishments are female or minority owned. This compares to the 1992 
Census figures for all U.S. firms which showed that minorities owned 
6.3 percent and women owned 11.2 percent of businesses. No data are 
available at this time on the disabilities of the owners of meat and 
poultry establishments. Nor is any data available on the ownership of 
establishments that slaughter or process ratites and squabs.
    There is no evidence to suggest that the establishments owned by 
minorities would be any more or less affected than establishments owned 
by non-minorities.
    Neither will the final rule have a significant adverse impact on 
low-income consumers or minority employment. The costs associated with 
implementing the final rule will not be unduly burdensome to industry 
and will provide an economic benefit to the industry as a whole. 
Consumers may realize lower prices for ratites and squabs.
    FSIS has used the available information to evaluate the potential 
impacts of the proposal on small entities and to determine civil rights 

Additional Public Notice

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to better ensure 
that minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are aware of this 
final rule, FSIS will announce and provide copies of this Federal 
Register publication in the FSIS Constituent Update. FSIS provides a 
weekly FSIS Constituent Update via fax to over 300 organizations and 
individuals. In addition, the update is available on line through the 
FSIS web page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov. The update is used 
to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, 
regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, recalls, 
and any other types of information that could affect or would be of 
interest to our constituents/stakeholders. The constituent fax list 
consists of industry, trade, and farm groups, consumer interest groups, 
allied health professionals, scientific professionals, and other 
individuals that have requested to be included. Through these various 
channels, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more 
diverse audience than would be otherwise possible. For more information 
or to be added to the constituent fax list, fax your request to the 
Congressional and Public Affairs Office, at (202) 720-5704.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 381

    Poultry and poultry products

    Accordingly, the interim final rule published on May 7, 2001 (66 FR 
22899) amending 9 CFR parts 362 and 381 is adopted as final, with the 
following changes:


    1. The authority citation for Part 381 continues to read as 

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 138f, 450; 21 U.S.C. 451-470; 7 CFR 2.18, 

    2. Section 381.1 (b) is amended by revising the definition of 
poultry to read as follows:

Sec. 381.1  Definition

* * * * *
    Poultry. ``Poultry'' means any domesticated bird (chickens, 
turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas, ratites, or squabs, also termed young 
pigeons from one to about thirty days of age), whether live or dead.
* * * * *
    3. Amend Sec. 381.71 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:

Sec. 381.71  Coverage of all poultry and poultry products processed in 
official establishments.

* * * * *
    (b) Dead-on-arrival ratites and ratites condemned on ante mortem 
inspection will be tagged ``U.S. Condemned'' by an establishment 
employee under FSIS supervision and disposed of by one of the methods 
prescribed in Sec. 381.95.
* * * * *
    4. Amend Sec. 381.94 by revising paragraphs (a)(2)(ii), 
(a)(2)(iii)(B), (a)(2)(v)(A), Table 1 in paragraph (a)(5)(i), and Table 
2 in paragraph (b)(1) as follows:

Sec. 381.94  Contamination with Microorganisms; process control 
verification criteria and testing; pathogen reduction standards.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii)Sample collection. A whole bird must be taken from the end of 
the chilling process. If this is impracticable, the whole bird can be 
taken from the end of the slaughter line. Samples must be collected by 
rinsing the whole carcass in an amount of buffer appropriate for that 
type of bird. Samples from turkeys or ratites also may be collected by 
sponging the carcass on the back and thigh.\1\

    \1\ A copy of FSIS's ``Guidelines for Escherichia coli Testing 
for Process Control Verification in Poultry Slaughter 
Establishments,'' and ``FSIS Turkey Microbiological Procedures for 
Sponge Sample Collection and Methods of Analysis'' are available for 
inspection in the FSIS Docket Room.

    (iii) * * * (B) Turkeys, Ducks, Geese, Guineas, Squabs, and 
Ratites: 1 sample per 3,000 carcasses, but at a minimum one sample each 
week of operation.
* * * * *
    (v) * * * (A) Very low volume establishments annually slaughter no 
more than 440,000 chickens, 60,000 turkeys, 60,000 ducks, 60,000 geese, 
60,000 guineas, 60,000 squabs, 6,000 ratites, or a combination of all 
types of poultry not exceeding 60,000 turkeys and 440,000 birds total. 
Very low volume establishments that slaughter turkeys, ducks, geese, 
guineas, squabs, or ratites in the largest number must collect at least 
one sample during each week of operation after June 1 of each year, and 
continue sampling at a minimum of once each week the establishment 
operates until June of the following year or until 13 samples have been 
collected, whichever comes first.
* * * * *
    (5)(i) * * *

[[Page 13259]]

                                  Table 1.--Evaluation of E. Coli Test Results
                                                                                                  Maximum number
                                                  Lower limit of  Upper limit of     Number of     permitted in
                Types of poultry                  marginal range  marginal range  samples tested  marginal range
                                                        (m)             (M)             (n)             (c)
Chickens........................................         \1\ 100       \1\ 1,000              13               3
Turkeys.........................................             *NA             *NA             *NA             *NA
Ducks...........................................             *NA             *NA             *NA             *NA
Geese...........................................             *NA             *NA             *NA             *NA
Guineas.........................................             *NA             *NA             *NA             *NA
Squabs..........................................             *NA             *NA             *NA             *NA
Ratites.........................................             *NA             *NA             *NA            *NA
\1\ CFU/ml.
* Values will be added upon completion of data collection programs.

* * * * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *

                                   Table 2.--Salmonella Performance Standards
                                                                Standard          Number of      Maximum number
                     Class of product                           (percent       samples tested    of positives to
                                                              positive for           (n)        achieve standard
                                                             salmonella) \a\                           (c)
Broilers..................................................             20.0%                51                12
Ground chicken............................................              44.6                53                26
Ground turkey.............................................              49.9                53                29
Turkeys...................................................              b NA                NA                NA
Squabs....................................................              b NA                NA                NA
Ratites...................................................              b NA                NA               NA
a Performance Standards are FSIS's calculation of the national prevalence of Salmonella on the indicated raw
  products based on data developed by FSIS in its nationwide microbiological baseline data collection programs
  and surveys. (Copies of Reports on FSIS's Nationwide Microbiological Data Collection Programs and Nationwide
  Microbiological Surveys used in determining the prevalence of Salmonella on raw products are available in the
  FSIS Docket Room.)
b Not available; baseline targets for turkeys, squabs, or ratites will be added upon completion of the data
  collection programs for that product.

* * * * *

    Done at Washington, DC, on March 18, 2002.
Margaret O'K. Glavin,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 02-6836 Filed 3-21-02; 8:45 am]