[Federal Register: September 27, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 187)]
[Notices]               
[Page 56470-56471]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr27se06-45]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2006-0028]

 
Risk-Based Inspection System

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will hold a 
public meeting on October 10-11, 2006, to review and discuss the 
following issues: (1) Measuring product inherent risk for risk-based 
inspection, and
    (2) Measuring establishment risk control for risk-based inspection. 
In addition, FSIS will begin a discussion on how these two measures of 
risk might be used to implement a Risk-Based Inspection System (RBIS). 
FSIS will use Resolve, a national non-profit organization, to assist 
with the stakeholder input process. Resolve specializes in mediating, 
facilitating, and building consensus on solutions to scientifically 
complex public policy issues, including those in the areas of food 
safety, agriculture, and public health.

DATES: FSIS will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, October 10, and 
Wednesday, October 11, 2006, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at George Mason University, 
3401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201. The specific room 
information for the meeting, directions to the site, and the agenda 
will be posted on the risk-based inspection (RBI) Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Risk_Based_Inspection/.
 

The meeting will be broadcast electronically for viewing in selected 
locations in other parts of the country. Those locations and 
information on the telecasts will also be posted on the RBI Web site. 
Members of the public are required to pre-register for the meeting (see 
Background). Online registration information is also located on the RBI 
Web site above.
    FSIS welcomes comments on the topics to be discussed at the public 
meeting. The Agency's technical papers relating to (1) Measuring 
product inherent risk for risk-based inspection, and (2) Measuring 
establishment risk control for risk-based inspection are posted at the 
FSIS Web site above. Comments on these papers may be submitted by any 
of the following methods through October 27, 2006:
    Electronic mail: An e-mail box has been established specifically 
for RBI comments for the public meeting on October 10-11. Comments can 
be submitted to riskbasedinspection@fsis.usda.gov.
    Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROM's: Send to Ellyn Blumberg, 
RBI Public Meeting, United States Department of Agriculture, Food 
Safety and Inspection Service, 14th & Independence Avenue, SW., Mail 
Drop 405 Aerospace, Washington, DC 20250.
    Hand-or courier-delivered items: Deliver to Ellyn Blumberg at 901 D 
Street, SW., Washington, DC. To deliver these items, the security guard 
must first call (202) 690-6520.
    Facsimile: Fax RBI comments to (202) 690-6519.
    All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket 
number FSIS-2006-0028. The comments also will be posted on the Agency's 
Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Risk_Based_Inspection/
.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Tynan for technical information 
at (202) 720-3884 or e-mail robert.tynan@fsis.usda.gov. Contact Ellyn 
Blumberg for meeting information at (202) 720-0087, Fax (202) 690-6519, 
or e-mail ellyn.blumberg@fsis.usda.gov. Persons requiring a sign 
language interpreter or other special accommodations should notify the 
agency contacts no later than September 26, 2006, at the numbers above 
or by e-mail.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FSIS is the public health regulatory agency in the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for ensuring that the nation's 
commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, 
wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. FSIS is accountable for 
protecting the lives and well-being of 295 million U.S. citizens and 
millions more around the world.
    To meet the realities of food safety and public health challenges, 
FSIS is working to make its inspection system

[[Page 56471]]

more risk-based and to continue to implement science-based policies. 
Although the Agency acknowledges that some types of meat and poultry 
products pose greater health risks than others, and some establishments 
control risks better than others, under the current system of 
processing inspection, a Consumer Safety Inspector visits every plant 
at least once every shift to perform a variety of verification 
procedures scheduled by the Performance Based Inspection System (PBIS). 
PBIS schedules inspection procedures the same way in all processing 
plants, regardless of the particular food safety hazard associated with 
the products produced and processes performed at one plant versus 
another.
    In July 2004, the Agency outlined the basic features of a 
predictive model that would permit FSIS to improve resource allocation 
by considering the inherent risks and risk control effectiveness of the 
many meat and poultry establishments under Federal inspection. Since 
that time, FSIS has continued developing and refining these ideas. In 
November 2005, FSIS addressed the National Advisory Committee on Meat 
and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) on Agency progress toward a RBIS. In 
May 2006, the Agency again addressed NACMPI--this time on ideas the 
Agency has on measuring establishment risk control effectiveness for 
RBI.
    Reductions in the number of illnesses attributed to the consumption 
of adulterated meat and poultry products can be achieved by placing 
greater inspection and verification emphasis on establishments whose 
processes, owing to the nature and volume of their production, require 
greater control of the risks. FSIS believes that it can improve public 
health by dedicating fewer inspection resources to processing 
establishments that produce products that present low inherent risk and 
that exercise effective risk control, and shifting those resources 
towards processing establishments that produce products that present 
high inherent risk and that have less effective risk control.
    At this meeting, FSIS will present some ideas about how the Agency 
can develop measures of inherent food safety risk for federally-
inspected meat and poultry processing establishments and to solicit 
stakeholder input on the subject. The Agency will also accept 
stakeholder input on how to measure establishment control of risk. FSIS 
previously presented information on this topic at a meeting of NACMPI 
last May. Finally, FSIS will accept stakeholder input on some initial 
concepts on how the two measures of risk might be used to implement 
RBIS.
    FSIS is using Resolve, a national non-profit organization, to 
assist with the stakeholder input process. Resolve specializes in 
mediating, facilitating, and building consensus on solutions to 
scientifically complex public policy issues, including those in the 
areas of food safety, agriculture, and public health.
    All interested parties are welcome to attend the meetings and to 
submit written comments and suggestions through October 27, 2006. The 
comments and the official transcript of the meeting, when they become 
available, will be posted on the Agency's Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Risk_Based_Inspection/.
 

All comments received in response to this notice will be considered 
part of the public record.
    Members of the public are required to pre-register for the meeting. 
Online registration information is located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Risk_Based_Inspection/
.


Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure 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://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/2006_Notices_Index/. 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, recalls, 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 and farm 
groups, consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, and 
other individuals who have asked to be included. The update is 
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 e-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_and_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 account.

    Done at Washington, DC on: September 21, 2006.
Barbara J. Masters,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E6-15866 Filed 9-26-06; 8:45 am]

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