[Federal Register: March 5, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 42)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 9651-9652]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

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[[Page 9651]]


Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 317 and 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2006-0045]
RIN 0583-AD05

Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is establishing 
January 1, 2010, as the uniform compliance date for new food labeling 
regulations that are issued between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 
2008. FSIS periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new meat 
and poultry food labeling requirements to minimize the economic impact 
of label changes. On December 14, 2004, FSIS issued a final rule 
announcing that it will adopt uniform compliance dates and established 
January 1, 2008, as the uniform compliance date for food labeling 
regulations that issued between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2006.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective March 5, 2007. Submit 
comments by April 4, 2007.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
final rule. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the 
ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this 
Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov
 and, in the ``Search for Open Regulations'' box, 

select ``Food Safety and Inspection Service'' from the Agency drop-down 
menu, then click on ``Submit.'' In the Docket ID column, select the 
FDMS Docket Number FSIS-2006-0045 to submit or view public comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROM's, and hand- or 
courier-delivered items: Send to FSIS Docket Room, Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, 300 12th Street, SW., Room 102, 
Cotton Annex Building, Washington, DC 20250.
     Electronic mail: fsis.regulationscomments@fsis.usda.gov.
    All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket 
number FSIS-2006-0045.
    All comments submitted in response to this final rule, as well as 
research and background information used by FSIS in developing this 
document, will be posted to the regulations.gov Web site. The 
background information and comments will be available for public 
inspection in the FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 
8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff, Office of Policy, Program, and 
Employee Development, FSIS, USDA, Washington, DC 20250-3700, Telephone 
(202) 205-0279, Fax (202) 205-3625.



    FSIS periodically issues regulations that require changes in the 
labeling of meat and poultry food products. Many meat and poultry 
establishments also produce non-meat and non-poultry food products 
subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
FDA also periodically issues regulations that require changes in the 
labeling of such food products.
    FSIS established the approach, starting in December 2004 (69 FR 
74405), that it will set uniform compliance dates in two year 
increments and periodically issue final rules announcing those dates. 
This approach is similar to that employed by FDA. Two year increments 
enhance the industry's ability to make orderly adjustments to new 
labeling requirements without unduly exposing consumers to outdated 
labels. With this approach to effecting compliance, the meat and 
poultry products industry is able to plan for the use of label 
inventories and to develop new labeling materials that meet the 
requirements of all labeling regulations made within the two year 
period, thereby minimizing the economic impact of labeling changes. By 
establishing a uniform compliance date that is the same as FDA's, FSIS 
is providing meat and poultry product manufacturers with a greater 
ability to adjust production plans to new labeling requirements across 
all of their product lines.
    Establishing this policy also serves consumers' interests, because 
the cost of multiple short-term label revisions that would otherwise 
occur would likely be passed on to consumers in the form of higher 
    It will remain FSIS' policy to encourage industry to comply with 
new labeling regulations as quickly as feasible. Thus, when industry 
members voluntarily change their labels, they should consider 
incorporating any new requirements that have been published as final 
regulations up to that time.
    The new uniform compliance date will apply only to final FSIS 
regulations that require changes in the labeling of meat and poultry 
products and that are published after January 1, 2007, and before 
December 31, 2008. In each of these regulations, FSIS will specifically 
identify January 1, 2010, as the compliance date. All meat and poultry 
food products that are subject to labeling regulations promulgated 
between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2008, will be required to 
comply with these regulations when introduced into commerce on or after 
January 1, 2010. If any food labeling regulation involves special 
circumstances that justify a compliance date other than January 1, 
2010, the Agency will determine for that regulation an appropriate 
compliance date, which will be specified when the final regulation is 
    In rulemaking that began with the publication of a proposed rule on 
May 4, 2004, FSIS provided notice and solicited comments on the concept 
of establishing uniform compliance dates for labeling requirements (69 
FR 24539). FSIS received only four comments, all fully supportive of 
the policy to set uniform compliance dates. Therefore, FSIS finds that 
further rulemaking for the establishment of uniform compliance dates 
for labeling requirements is unnecessary. However,

[[Page 9652]]

FSIS is providing an opportunity for comment on whether the uniform 
compliance date established in this final rule should be modified or 

Executive Order 12866: Benefit-Cost Analysis

    FSIS has examined the impacts of the final rule under Executive 
Order 12866. Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs 
and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation 
is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net 
benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health 
and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). 
This action has been determined to be not significant and, therefore, 
has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Establishing a uniform compliance date for all future Federal food 
product labeling regulations affecting the meat and poultry industry 
that are issued by FSIS over a two year period will eliminate 
potentially burdensome requirements otherwise faced by the industry.
    The regulation also greatly limits the possibility of potentially 
conflicting compliance dates for labeling requirements developed for 
meat and poultry products and labeling requirements developed for non-
meat and non-poultry products. It thus provides for an orderly industry 
adjustment to any new labeling requirements. Labeling changes in 
response to Federal regulations will likely be less frequent, and 
establishments will be able to plan for full utilization of their 
labeling stocks.

Need for the Rule

    Establishing uniform compliance dates for food labeling regulations 
issued within specified time periods minimizes the economic impact of 
label changes for industry and may indirectly benefit consumers if cost 
savings are passed on in the form of lower prices.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    This rule does not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Consequently, an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required (5 U.S.C. 601-612). The 
uniform compliance date does not impose any burden on small entities. 
The Agency will conduct regulatory flexibility analyses of future 
labeling regulations if such analyses are required.

Paperwork Requirements

    There are no paperwork or recordkeeping requirements associated 
with this policy under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 

Expected Environmental Effects

    The establishment of a uniform compliance date for food labeling 
regulations is an activity that will not have a significant individual 
or cumulative effect on the human environment. Therefore, this action 
is appropriately subject to the categorical exclusion from the 
preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact 
statement provided under 7 CFR 1b.4(6) of the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture regulations.

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 
rule, FSIS will announce it on-line through the FSIS Web page located 
at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/2007_Interim_&_Final_Rules_Index/index.asp

    The Regulations.gov Web site is the central online rulemaking 
portal of the United States government. It is being offered as a public 
service to increase participation in the Federal government's 
regulatory activities. FSIS participates in Regulations.gov and will 
accept comments on documents published on the site. The site allows 
visitors to search by keyword or Department or Agency for rulemakings 
that allow for public comment. Each entry provides a quick link to a 
comment form so that visitors can type in their comments and submit 
them to FSIS. The Web site is located at http://www.regulations.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, public meetings, recalls, and other types of 
information that could affect or 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 also is 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.
    In addition, FSIS offers an e-mail subscription service that 
provides an automatic and customized notification when popular pages 
are updated, including Federal Register publications and related 
documents. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_and_events/email_subscription/
 and allows FSIS customers to sign up 

for subscription options across eight categories. 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: February 27, 2007.
David P. Goldman,
Acting Administrator.
 [FR Doc. E7-3725 Filed 3-2-07; 8:45 am]