[Federal Register: July 13, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 132)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 33374-33375]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


[[Page 33374]]


Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2007-0048]
RIN 0583-AC83

Classes of Poultry

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is providing new 
information on, and re-proposing the definition and standard for, 
``roaster'' and ``roasting chicken.'' FSIS proposed this definition and 
standard in its September 29, 2003, proposed rule to amend the 
definitions and standards for the official U.S. classes of poultry. 
After the proposed rule was published, FSIS received from the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Marketing Service 
(AMS) new information that would affect the definition and standard for 
``roaster'' or ``roasting chicken.'' FSIS has tentatively concluded 
that it should re-propose this definition and standard but no others in 
the proposed rule.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 12, 2009.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by either of the following 
     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, USDA, FSIS, Room 2-2127 
George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Beltsville, MD 
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2007-0048. 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.

Delivery Division, Phone: (301) 504-0878, Fax: (301) 504-0872.



    The Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) prohibits the 
distribution of poultry products that are adulterated or misbranded (21 
U.S.C. 458). The PPIA also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to 
prescribe, among other things, definitions and standards of identity or 
composition for poultry products whenever the Secretary determines that 
such action is necessary for the protection of the public (21 U.S.C. 
457(b)). Poultry classes were established by USDA to aid in labeling 
poultry. The classes were based primarily on the age and sex of the 
bird. FSIS uses poultry class standards to ensure that poultry products 
are labeled in a truthful and non-misleading manner.
    Before publishing the 2003 proposal, FSIS reviewed the poultry 
class definitions with AMS's Poultry Programs, and both agencies 
discussed the definitions and standards with members of the poultry 
industry and others knowledgeable about poultry genetics and breeding. 
After examining poultry production methods and reviewing the poultry 
classes defined in 9 CFR 381.170, FSIS and AMS determined that several 
poultry class definitions and standards did not reflect poultry 
characteristics or industry practices. As a result, FSIS and AMS 
determined that the poultry class definitions needed to be revised to 
more accurately and clearly describe poultry being marketed and to 
ensure that the labels for poultry products are not false or 
    FSIS proposed to lower the age definitions for six classes of 
poultry (68 FR 55902), including reducing the age of ``roaster'' or 
``roasting chicken'' from 3 to 5 months to less than 12 weeks (see 9 
CFR 381.170(a)(1)(iv)). FSIS also solicited comments regarding the 
merit of establishing ready-to-cook (RTC) carcass weights or maximums 
for poultry classes (including the ``roaster'' or ``roasting 
chicken''). FSIS did not propose to include a RTC carcass weight in the 
``roaster'' or ``roasting chicken'' class definition. FSIS asked 
commenters to provide a factual basis for or against the establishment 
of weight requirements.
    After the comment period closed, AMS provided FSIS with data that 
suggest that FSIS should include a RTC carcass weight in the definition 
of ``roaster'' and change the proposed weeks of age in that definition. 
AMS surveyed the segment of the industry that routinely produces 
``roasters'' and obtained data on target weights from 8 of the 13 
``roaster'' suppliers. Based on these data, AMS has recommended that a 
``roaster'' be defined as a chicken from 8 to 12 weeks of age and with 
a RTC carcass weight of 5 pounds or more. These AMS survey data are 
available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Clerk's Office, 
USDA, FSIS, Room 2-2127 George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside 
Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday.

Comments on Establishing Maximum Weights and the Age for the 
``Roaster'' Class

    Several commenters from industry suggested a ``roaster'' be a 
chicken that is between the age of 60 days and 85 days at the time of 
slaughter from a flock that has an average live weight of 7.75 pounds 
or more. A commenter from industry suggested age definitions for a 
``roaster'' should be between 9 and 12 weeks of age at the time of 
processing. This commenter also recommended that ``roasters'' come from 
a flock with an average daily flock weight of 8 pounds, at minimum. 
Also, two commenters from industry were concerned that the proposed age 
definition of ``less than 12 weeks'' will allow large broilers to be 
classified as ``roasters''. Another industry commenter

[[Page 33375]]

recommended allowing the roaster class to include broilers, as long as 
the product meets weight requirements for roasters. One commenter 
opposed including RTC carcass weights in the definitions and standards. 
This commenter stated that including RTC carcass weights will lead to 
further abuse of chickens.
    On the basis of AMS data, FSIS has tentatively concluded that a 
``roaster'' or ``roasting chicken'' should be defined as a chicken from 
8-12 weeks of age. Most of the comments supported use of this age range 
for roasters. By including the RTC carcass weight for this class of 
poultry, the standard and definition should effectively differentiate 
``roasters'' and ``broilers''.
    FSIS has tentatively concluded that a ``roaster'' or ``roasting 
chicken'' should be defined as a chicken with an RTC carcass weight of 
5 pounds or more, based on recent survey information from AMS. In 
addition, FSIS has tentatively concluded that RTC carcass weight, 
instead of average live weight, is necessary in the class standard and 
definition so that FSIS can verify the appropriate use of the term 
``roaster'' or ``roasting chicken'' on product labels.

Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and 
Paperwork Requirements

    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant and 
was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive 
Order 12866.
    The changes FSIS is proposing to the definition of ``roaster'' or 
``roasting chicken'' do not affect the Executive Order 12866 analysis 
(68 FR 55903) or the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (68 FR 55904). 
Similarly, the changes do not affect paperwork requirements (68 FR 
55904) or review of the rule under Executive Order 12988.

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 
proposed rule, FSIS will announce it online through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Federal_Register_Publications_&_Related_Documents/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/
    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.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 381

    Food grades and standards, Poultry and poultry products.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, FSIS proposed to further 
amend 9 CFR Part 381, as previously proposed to be amended on September 
29, 2003 (68 FR 55902):


    1. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as 

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 138f; 7 U.S.C. 450; 21 U.S.C. 451-470; 7 CFR 
2.18, 2.53.

Sec.  381.170  Standards for kinds and classes, and for cuts of raw 

    2. Section 381.170 would be amended by revising paragraph 
(a)(1)(iii) to read as follows:

Sec.  381.170  Standards for kinds and classes, and for cuts of raw 

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) Roaster or roasting chicken. A ``roaster'' or ``roasting 
chicken'' is a young chicken from 8 to 12 weeks of age, of either sex, 
with a ready-to-cook carcass weight of 5 pounds or more, that is 
tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone 
cartilage that is somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or 
* * * * *

    Done at Washington, DC, on July 7, 2009.
Alfred V. Almanza,
 [FR Doc. E9-16402 Filed 7-10-09; 8:45 am]