[Federal Register: January 31, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 21)]
[Notices]               
[Page 4983-4984]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr31ja03-50]                         


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Food Safety and Inspection Service


[Docket No. 03-003N]


 
Codex Alimentarius Commission: 4th Session of the Codex Ad Hoc 
Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived From Biotechnology


AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.


ACTION: Notice of public meeting, request for comments.


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SUMMARY: The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug 
Administration (FDA) are sponsoring a public meeting on February 20, 
2003, to provide information and receive public comments on agenda 
items that will be discussed at the 4th Session of the Codex Ad Hoc 
Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology (FBT) 
to be held in Yokohama, Japan, on March 11-14, 2003. The Under 
Secretary and FDA recognize the importance of providing interested 
parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 4th 
Session of the Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods 
Derived from Biotechnology and to address items on the Agenda for the 
4th FBT.


DATES: The public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 20, 2003 
from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.


ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held in the Lincoln Room, White 
House Conference Center, 726 Jackson Place, NW., Washington, DC. To 
receive copies of the documents referenced in the notice contact the 
FSIS Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and 
Inspection Service, Room 102, Cotton Annex, 300 12th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-3700. The documents will also be accessible via 
the World Wide Web at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.codexalimentarius.net/ccfbt4/bt03_01e.htm.
 If you have comments, please send an original and two copies 
to the FSIS Docket Clerk and reference Docket 03-003N. All 
comments submitted will be available for public inspection in the 
Docket Clerk's Office between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: F. Edward Scarbrough, Ph.D., U.S. 
Manager for Codex, U.S. Codex Office, Food Safety and Inspection 
Service, Room 4861, South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20250, Phone: (202) 205-7760, Fax: (202) 720-3157.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:


Background


    Codex was established in 1962 by two United Nations organizations, 
the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health 
Organization (WHO). Codex is the major international organization for 
protecting the health and economic interests of consumers and 
encouraging fair international trade in food. Through adoption of food 
standards, codes of practice, and other guidelines developed by its 
committees, and by promoting their adoption and implementation by 
governments, Codex seeks to ensure that the world's food supply is 
sound, wholesome, free from adulteration, and correctly labeled. In the 
United States, USDA, FDA, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
manage and carry out U.S. Codex activities.
    The Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from 
Biotechnology was established to develop standards, guidelines or 
recommendations, as appropriate, for foods derived from biotechnology 
or traits introduced into foods by biotechnology, on the basis of 
scientific evidence, risk analysis and having regard, where appropriate 
to other legitimate factors relevant to the health of consumers and the 
promotion of fair trade practices. The Task Force, which was given four 
years to complete its work, held its first session in 2000.


Issues To Be Discussed at the Public Meeting


    The provisional agenda items will be discussed during the public 
meeting:
    1. Adoption of the Agenda (CX/FBT 03/1).
    2. Matters Referred to the Task Force by Other Codex Committees 
(CX/FTB 03/2).
    3. Matters of Interest from Other International Organizations with 
respect to the Evaluation of the Safety and Nutrition Aspects of Foods 
Derived from Biotechnology (CX/FBT 03/3).


[[Page 4984]]


    4. Consideration of Draft Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety 
Assessment of Foods Produced Using Recombinant-DNA Microorganisms (CL 
2002/40-FBT, ALINORM 03/34, Appendix V).
    5. Open Discussion on Traceability.


Public Meeting


    At the February 20th public meeting, the agenda items will be 
described, discussed, and attendees will have the opportunity to pose 
questions and offer comments. Comments may be sent to the FSIS Docket 
Room (see ADDRESSES). Written comments should state that they relate to 
activities of the 4th Session of the Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental 
Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology, Docket 03-
003N.


Additional Public Notification


    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 
notice, FSIS will announce it and make copies of this Federal Register 
publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update. FSIS 
provides a weekly Constituent Update, which is communicated via 
Listserv, a free e-mail subscription service. In addition, the update 
is available 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.
 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 Listserv 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 the Listserv and Web page, FSIS is able to provide 
information to a much broader, more diverse audience.
    For more information, contact the Congressional and Public Affairs 
Office, at (202) 720-9113. To be added to the free e-mail subscription 
service (Listserv) go to the ``Constituent Update'' page on the FSIS 
Web site at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/update/update.htm. Click on the 
``Subscribe to the Constituent Update Listserv'' link, then fill out 
and submit the form.


F. Edward Scarbrough,
U.S. Manager for Codex Alimentarius.
[FR Doc. 03-2307 Filed 1-30-03; 8:45 am]