[Federal Register: February 20, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 33)]
[Page 7850-7851]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.


[[Page 7850]]


Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2007-0038]

Notice of Request for a New Information Collection (Consumer 
Focus Groups)

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations, the Food Safety and 
Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing its intention to request a new 
information collection concerning the use of focus groups to obtain 
information from consumers on various food safety issues to support 
Agency decision-making and policy formulation.

DATES: Comments on this notice must be received on or before April 21, 

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
notice. Comments may be submitted by either 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. Follow the online instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs, and hand- or 
courier-delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, SW., Room 2534, South Agriculture Building, Washington, DC 
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2007-0038. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go 
to the FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 8:30 a.m. 
and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
    For Additional Information: Contact John O'Connell, Paperwork 
Reduction Act Coordinator, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 3532 South Building, Washington, DC 
20250, (202) 720-0345.

    Title: Consumer Focus Groups.
    Type of Request: New information collection.
    Abstract: FSIS has been delegated the authority to exercise the 
functions of the Secretary as specified in the Federal Meat Inspection 
Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601, et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection 
Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451, et seq.), and the Egg Products Inspection 
Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031, et seq.). FSIS protects the public by 
verifying that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, 
unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged.
    FSIS is requesting a new information collection addressing 
paperwork requirements related to the collection of information from 
the use of consumer focus groups.
    To assist in fulfilling its public health mission, FSIS needs at 
times to obtain information from consumers to assess the effectiveness 
of its consumer protection initiatives and to gain data to support 
Agency decisionmaking and policy formulation.
    Foodborne illness is a significant public health problem in the 
United States. Of particular concern are those populations at risk for 
foodborne illness--the very young, the very old, and individuals with 
compromised immune systems. Labeling information can be used to educate 
consumers to avoid higher-risk consumption choices and to help them 
follow the recommended safe handling practices. For consumer education 
efforts to be effective, FSIS needs to ensure that it has a clear 
understanding of who is at risk and of what mechanisms for delivering 
food safety and public health messages are likely to be successful. 
Thus, FSIS is seeking information about the content of public health 
messages, and methods of delivery of those messages, that will promote 
safe food handling and preparation practices among consumers.
    FSIS is planning to contract for research to test public health 
messages on safe handling and preparation of meat, poultry, and egg 
products, to assess how well these messages convey information, and to 
identify effective delivery mechanisms for these messages. The research 
will use consumer focus groups to determine the perceptions of segments 
of the general population and at-risk populations regarding relevant 
food safety messages.
    FSIS is requesting an information collection for twelve consumer 
focus groups. The purpose of the first six focus groups is to conduct 
qualitative research with consumers to (1) assess consumers' 
understanding of cooking instructions for specific products (e.g., 
uncooked, breaded, boneless poultry products) and (2) collect 
information on consumers' understanding of existing public health 
messages (e.g., use a thermometer to check the doneness of meat and 
poultry). The purpose of the second set of six focus groups is to 
conduct qualitative research with consumers to collect information on 
consumers' understanding of new public health messages. FSIS will use 
the results of the focus groups to inform the development of labeling 
policy for meat, poultry, and egg products and to refine, and to decide 
how to disseminate, public health messages to ensure that they are 
useful for effecting behavioral change and reducing foodborne illness.
    FSIS has made the following estimates based upon an information 
collection assessment:
    Estimate of Burden: FSIS estimates that it will take respondents an 
average of 2 hours per response.
    Respondents: Consumers.
    Estimated No. of Respondents: 120.
    Estimated No. of Annual Responses per Respondent: 1.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 240 hours.
    Copies of this information collection assessment can be obtained 
from John O'Connell, Paperwork Reduction Act Coordinator, Food Safety 
and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence,

[[Page 7851]]

SW., Room 3532, South Bldg., Washington, DC 20250, (202) 720-0345.
    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of FSIS' functions, 
including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the 
accuracy of FSIS' estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and, (d) ways to minimize the burden of 
the collection of information, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques, or other forms of information technology. Comments may be 
sent to both FSIS, at the addresses provided above, and the Desk 
Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 
Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20253.
    Responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the 
request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of 
public record.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that the 
public and in particular 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/
    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, FSIS public meetings, 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 which 
provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news 
and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/
    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.

    Done at Washington, DC, on: February 13, 2009.
Alfred V. Almanza,
[FR Doc. E9-3603 Filed 2-19-09; 8:45 am]