[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 237 (Friday, December 9, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 76890-76891]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-31625]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 317 and 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2005-0018]


Nutrition Labeling of Single-Ingredient Products and Ground or 
Chopped Meat and Poultry Products; Delay of Effective Date and 
Correction

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule; delay of effective date and correction.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is delaying the 
effective date of the final regulations that require nutrition labeling 
of the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products 
and ground or chopped meat and poultry products that were published in 
the Federal Register on December 29, 2010. The original effective date 
of these regulations was January 1, 2012. FSIS is taking this action in 
response to a request from eight trade associations. The trade 
associations requested that FSIS exercise enforcement discretion for a 
six month period following the January 1, 2012, effective date of the 
final rule. However, FSIS has concluded that a two month delay in the 
effective date will allow industry sufficient time to comply with the 
requirements of the final rule. The new effective date of the final 
rule is March 1, 2012.
    FSIS is also making a correction to the final rule to clarify an 
amendatory instruction.

DATES: The effective date of the rule amending 9 CFR parts 317 and 381 
published at 75 FR 82148, December 29, 2010, is delayed until March 1, 
2012. The effective date of the correction to the rule published at 75 
FR 82148, December 29, 2010, is March 1, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, Director, 
Labeling and Program Delivery Division, Office of Policy and Program 
Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, (301) 504-0878.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On December 29, 2010, FSIS published the final rule, ``Nutrition 
Labeling of Single-Ingredient Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and 
Poultry Products'' in the Federal Register (75 FR 82148) that, among 
other things, amended the Federal meat and poultry products inspection 
regulations to require nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-
ingredient, raw meat and poultry products identified in Sec. Sec.  
317.344 and 381.444 that are not ground or chopped, except for certain 
exemptions. For these products, the final rule requires that nutrition 
information be provided on the label or at point-of-purchase (POP) 
(e.g., by sign or brochure), unless an exemption applies. The final 
rule also amended FSIS's regulations to require nutrition labels on all 
ground or chopped meat and poultry products, with or without added 
seasonings, unless an exemption applies. In addition, the final rule 
provided that when a ground or chopped product does not meet the 
regulatory criteria to be labeled ``low fat,'' a lean percentage 
statement may be included on the label or in labeling as long as a 
statement of the fat percentage that meets the specified criteria also 
is displayed on the label or in labeling. The required statement of fat 
percentage must be contiguous to, in lettering of the same color, size, 
and type as, and on the same color background as, the statement of lean 
percentage. The final rule also provided several exemptions from the 
nutrition labeling requirements.
    Outreach: In the preamble to the final rule, FSIS stated that it 
would conduct meetings and webinars on the final rule and would provide 
additional information and guidance as needed. FSIS also stated its 
intention to make nutrition labeling materials that can be used at the 
POP of the major cuts and additional examples of acceptable labels for 
ground products available on the Agency's Web site six months prior to 
the effective date. Since the final rule was published, FSIS has posted 
on its Web site the final POP materials and examples of nutrition facts 
panels for ground or chopped products and has conducted webinars on the 
final rule. In addition, the Agency has conducted many other education 
and outreach activities to assist retailers and Federal establishments 
in complying with the requirements of the final rule, such as posting a 
PowerPoint presentation on its Web site that gives an overview of the 
requirements of the final rule, presenting information and answering

[[Page 76891]]

questions on the requirements of the final rule at numerous meetings, 
posting questions and answers on its Web site, and responding to 
numerous questions from stakeholders about the regulations through 
askFSIS at http://askfsis.custhelp.com/.

Request for Enforcement Discretion

    FSIS received a letter dated August 12, 2011 from eight trade 
associations (the American Lamb Board, the American Meat Institute, the 
Food Marketing Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, 
the National Chicken Council, the National Grocer's Association, the 
National Pork Board, and the National Turkey Federation), which 
requested that FSIS exercise enforcement discretion for a six month 
period following the January 1, 2012, effective date of the final rule. 
The letter cited the Agency's 1-2 month delay in making POP and 
nutrition facts panel materials available on FSIS's Web site and in 
conducting the FSIS webinars as the basis for the enforcement 
discretion. As a result of FSIS's delay in providing this information 
to retailers, the trade associations stated that it would be difficult 
for retailers to have systems in place (e.g., tens of thousands of 
scales across the industry will have to be replaced or updated with new 
software) and training of tens of thousands of employees completed by 
the January 1, 2012, effective date. The trade associations also stated 
that it would be difficult for Federal establishments to redesign 
thousands of labels and have them approved by FSIS by the January 1, 
2012, effective date.
    Because of the 1-2 month delay in making the FSIS POP materials and 
nutrition facts panel examples available on FSIS's Web site and in 
beginning the FSIS webinars, FSIS has decided to delay the effective 
date of the final rule until March 1, 2012. The 2 month delay will 
ensure that industry has sufficient time to comply with the final rule 
and be in full compliance with the final rule on March 1, 2012.
    FSIS determined that a 6 month delay in the effective date is not 
warranted. The request did not provide any support to justify a 6 month 
delay in the effective date. Even if, as the letter stated, a delay in 
FSIS label approval exists, a 2 month delay in the effective date would 
allow the Agency enough time to approve the new or redesigned nutrition 
labels submitted by official establishments by March 1, 2012, provided 
the labels are submitted by January 1, 2012. As described above under 
``Outreach,'' since the final rule was published, FSIS has conducted 
many education and outreach activities to assist retailers and Federal 
establishments in complying with the requirements of the final rule. 
FSIS will continue to conduct these education and outreach activities 
to assist compliance by March 1, 2012.

Need for Correction

    FSIS is making a correction to amendment 17f on page 82167 of the 
final regulations published on Wednesday, December 29, 2010, to clarify 
that language is being added to the end of the first sentence in Sec.  
381.500(d)(1), not at the end of the second sentence.

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this notice online through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Federal_Register_Notices/index.asp.
    FSIS will also 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 also available on the FSIS 
Web page. Through the Listserv and Web page, FSIS is able to provide 
information to a much broader and more diverse audience. In addition, 
FSIS offers an electronic mail 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.

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.

Correction

    In FR Doc. 2010-32485 appearing on page 82148 in the Federal 
Register of Wednesday, December 29, 2010, the following corrections are 
made:


Sec.  381.500  [Corrected]

0
1. On page 82167, in the third column, in Part 381 Poultry Products 
Inspection Regulations, in amendment 17f, the instruction ``Amending 
paragraph (d)(1) by removing the period at the end of the sentence, and 
by adding the following to the end of the sentence: `except that this 
exemption does not apply to the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw 
poultry products identified in Sec.  381.444.' '' is corrected to read 
``Amending paragraph (d)(1) by removing the period at the end of the 
first sentence, and by adding the following to the end of the first 
sentence: `, except that this exemption does not apply to the major 
cuts of single-ingredient, raw poultry products identified in Sec.  
381.444.' ''

    Done in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2011.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-31625 Filed 12-8-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P