[Federal Register: August 28, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 168)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 50701-50703]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr28au08-1]                         


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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.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
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[[Page 50701]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 317 and 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2008-0027]
RIN 0583-AD38

 
Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Muscle Cuts of Beef 
(Including Veal), Lamb, Chicken, Goat, and Pork; Ground Beef, Ground 
Lamb, Ground Chicken, Ground Goat, and Ground Pork

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FSIS is conforming its regulations to the Agricultural 
Marketing Service (AMS) regulations, entitled, ``Mandatory Country of 
Origin Labeling of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Goat Meat, Perishable 
Agricultural Commodities, Peanuts, Pecans, Ginseng, and Macademia 
Nuts.'' Therefore, FSIS is amending its regulations to require that a 
country of origin statement on the label of any meat or poultry product 
that is a covered commodity, as defined in AMS' interim final 
regulations (73 FR 45106), and is to be sold by a retailer, as also 
defined in AMS' interim final regulation, must comply with AMS' interim 
final regulations. FSIS is also amending its regulations to provide 
that the addition of country of origin statements on labels of meat or 
poultry product covered commodities that are to be sold by covered 
retailers and that comply with the country of origin labeling 
requirements will be considered to be generically approved. FSIS is not 
amending its regulations or labeling policies for meat or poultry 
products that are non-covered commodities. The effective date of AMS' 
interim final rule for country of origin labeling is September 30, 
2008. Therefore, in order to meet the deadline, FSIS is issuing this 
interim final rule.

DATES: Effective Date: This interim final rule is effective September 
30, 2008.
    Applicability date: The requirements of this rule do not apply to 
meat or poultry product covered commodities produced or packaged before 
September 30, 2008.
    Comment date: Comments must be submitted on or before September 29, 
2008.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
rule. Comments may be submitted by one 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. FSIS prefers to 
receive comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://
www.regulations.gov and, in the ``Search for Open Regulations'' box, 
select ``Food Safety and Inspection Service'' and ``Rules'' from the 
agency drop-down menu and then click on ``Submit.'' In the Docket ID 
column, select the FDMS Docket Number 2008-0027 to submit or view 
public comments and to view supporting and related materials available 
electronically. After the close of the comment period, the docket can 
be viewed using the ``Advanced Search'' function in regulations.gov.
     Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs, and hand- or 
courier-delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 2534 
South Building, Washington, DC 20250.
    All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket 
number FSIS-2008-0027.
    All comments submitted in response to this rule will be posted to 
Agency's Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/
2008_Interim_&_Final_Rules_Index/index.asp. Individuals who do not 
wish FSIS to post their personal contact information--mailing address, 
e-mail address, telephone number--on the Internet may leave this 
information off of their comments. Comments will also 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles Gioglio, Director, Labeling 
and Program Delivery Division, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250-3700; (202) 205-0010.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act 
of 2002, (Section 10816 of Pub. L. 107-171) and the Food, Conservation 
and Energy Act of 2008 (Section 11002 of Public Law 110-234) amended 
the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.) to 
require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of 
covered commodities. Under the law, covered commodities include muscle 
cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground 
beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, ground pork, as well as 
other non-meat covered commodities. The law defines ``retailer'' as 
having the meaning given that term in section 1(b) of the Perishable 
Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 (PACA) (7 U.S.C. 499 et seq.). In 
addition, the law states that any person engaged in the business of 
supplying a covered commodity to a retailer shall provide information 
to the retailer indicating the country of origin of the covered 
commodity. The law exempts covered commodities from mandatory country 
of origin labeling if they are an ingredient in a processed food item. 
The law also prescribes specific criteria that must be met for a 
covered commodity to bear a ``United States country of origin'' 
declaration. Furthermore, the law specifies that the notice of country 
of origin for ground beef, ground lamb, ground pork, ground goat, and 
ground chicken shall include a list of all the countries of origin 
contained therein or reasonably contained therein.
    The Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, 
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-97) 
delayed the applicability of mandatory country of origin labeling for 
all covered commodities except wild and farm-raised fish and shell fish 
until September 30, 2008.
    AMS' interim final regulations on country of origin labeling were 
published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2008 (73 FR 45106). The 
interim final regulations define the meat

[[Page 50702]]

and poultry products that are covered commodities (7 CFR part 65, 
subpart A). The definitions are consistent with and include references 
to FSIS' regulations and labeling guidelines. AMS' interim final 
regulations also define a ``processed food item'' as a retail item 
derived from a covered commodity that has undergone specific processing 
resulting in a change in the character of the covered commodity, or 
that has been combined with at least one other covered commodity or 
other substantive food component (7 CFR 65.220). Examples of 
``processed food items'' excluded from mandatory country of origin 
labeling requirements include meatloaf, meatballs, fabricated steak, 
breaded veal cutlets, corned beef, sausage, breaded chicken tenders, 
and teriyaki flavored pork loin (73 FR 45107).
    In addition, the interim final regulations define the statement, 
``United States country of origin,'' for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and 
goat (7 CFR 65.260). According to the definition, the statement means 
the product is (1) from animals born, raised, and slaughtered in the 
United States; (2) from animals born and raised in Alaska or Hawaii and 
transported for not more than 60 days through Canada to the United 
States and slaughtered in the United States; or (3) from animals 
present in the United States on or before July 15, 2008, that remained 
continuously in the United States once in the United States (7 CFR 
65.260).
    Country of origin regulations in 7 CFR 65.300 include requirements 
for labeling covered commodities of United States origin (7 CFR 
65.300(d)), requirements for labeling muscle cut covered commodities of 
multiple countries of origin that include the United States (7 CFR 
65.300(e)), requirements for labeling imported covered commodities (7 
CFR 65.300(f)), and requirements for labeling ground beef, ground pork, 
ground lamb, ground goat, and ground chicken (7 CFR 65.300(h)).
    7 CFR 65.400 provides country of origin marking requirements and 
allows country of origin declarations to be in the form of a placard, 
sign, label sticker, band, twist tie, pin tag, or other format that 
allows consumers to identify the country of origin. Finally, 7 CFR 
65.500 provides recordkeeping requirements, including the requirement 
that any person engaged in the business of supplying a covered 
commodity to a retailer must make available information to the buyer 
about the countries of origin of the covered commodity.
    In the preamble to its interim final rule, AMS stated that it is 
reasonable to allow time for covered commodities that are already in 
the chain of commerce and for which no origin information is known or 
been provided to clear the system. Therefore, the requirements in AMS' 
interim final rule do not apply to covered commodities produced or 
packed before September 30, 2008 (73 FR 45107).

Changes to Federal Meat and Poultry Products Regulations

    To conform its regulations to AMS' interim final regulations, FSIS 
is amending 9 CFR 317.8(b) and 381.129 to require that a country of 
origin statement on the label of a meat or poultry product that is a 
``covered commodity'' as defined in 7 CFR Part 65, Subpart A, that is 
to be sold by a ``retailer,'' as defined in 7 CFR 65.240, comply with 
the country of origin notification and markings requirements in 7 CFR 
65.300 and 65.400.
    FSIS is also amending its generic approval labeling regulations (9 
CFR 317.5 and 381.133) to specify that the addition of country of 
origin statements on the labels of meat or poultry product covered 
commodities that are to be sold by retailers and that comply with 
country of origin labeling requirements will be considered to be 
generically approved. FSIS is providing that such country of origin 
statements will be generically approved to facilitate implementation of 
country of origin labeling and to meet the September 30, 2008, 
implementation date. Under the Federal meat and poultry products 
inspection regulations, country of origin statements on non-covered 
meat or poultry products generally are not generically approved 
labeling.
    The Federal meat and poultry product inspection regulations require 
country of origin statements on the immediate containers of imported 
products (9 CFR 327.14 and 381.205). These regulations require that the 
country of origin statement be immediately under the name or 
descriptive designation of the product. AMS' interim final regulations 
do not affect these requirements.
    Because FSIS is conforming its regulations to AMS' regulations, 
FSIS' interim final regulations do not apply to meat or poultry product 
covered commodities produced or packaged before September 30, 2008.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, the Administrator has found and 
determined that it is impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the 
public interest to provide an opportunity to comment prior to putting 
this rule into effect. This action is authorized under the Federal Meat 
Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act and is 
consistent with the Agriculture Marketing Act. Because of the short 
time between the passage of Public Law 110-234 and the effective date 
of AMS' country of origin labeling provisions, it is impracticable to 
provide for notice and comment prior to putting this rule into effect. 
Because it is important that AMS and FSIS have consistent regulations 
on September 30, 2008, it would be contrary to the public interest not 
to make this interim final rule effective simultaneously with AMS' 
interim rule. Interested persons have 30 days from the date of 
publication of this interim final rule to comment on it.

Executive Order 12988

    This interim final rule has been reviewed under the Executive Order 
12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under this interim final rule: (1) All 
State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this 
rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this 
rule; and (3) no retroactive proceedings will be required before 
parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Executive Order 12866 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This interim final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 
12866. The rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed 
by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). All costs and benefits 
associated with this rule are accounted for in AMS' interim final rule 
economic analysis (see 73 FR 45126).

Effect on Small Entities

    AMS' interim final rule includes an interim final regulatory 
flexibility analysis (73 FR 45140). AMS believes that its interim final 
regulations will have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. FSIS' conforming regulations will not have 
any additional impact on small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    AMS' interim final rule includes an estimate of the annual 
recordkeeping burden associated with country of origin labeling 
requirements (73 FR 45143). FSIS' interim final rule has been reviewed 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act and imposes no additional paperwork 
or recordkeeping requirements.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)

    FSIS is committed to compliance with the GPEA, which requires 
Government

[[Page 50703]]

agencies, in general, to provide the public the option of communicating 
electronically with the government to the maximum extent possible. The 
Agency will ensure that all forms used by the establishments are made 
available electronically.

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 
final rule, FSIS will announce it online through the FSIS Web page 
located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/2008_
Interim_&_Final_Rules_Index/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 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 accounts.

List of Subjects

9 CFR Part 317

    Food labeling, Meat inspection.

9 CFR Part 381

    Food labeling, Poultry and poultry products.

0
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, FSIS is amending 9 CFR 
Chapter III as follows:

PART 317--LABELING, MARKING DEVICES, AND CONTAINERS

0
1. The authority citation for part 317 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 21 U.S.C. 601-695; 7 CFR 2.18, 2.53.

0
2. Section 317.5(b) is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (b)(1) after ``geographical origin claims'' add the 
following parenthetical phrase: ``(except as provided by paragraph 
(b)(9)(xxv) of this section),''
0
b. In paragraph (b)(2) after ``geographical origin claims'' add the 
following parenthetical phrase: ``(except as provided by paragraph 
(b)(9)(xxv) of this section),''
0
c. A new paragraph (b)(9)(xxv) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  317.5  Generically approved labeling.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (9) * * *
    (xxv) A country of origin statement on any product label described 
in Sec.  317.8(b)(40) that complies with the requirements in that 
paragraph.
0
3. In Sec.  317.8, a new paragraph (b)(40) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  317.8  False or misleading labeling or practices generally; 
specific prohibitions and requirements for labels and containers.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (40) A country of origin statement on the label of any meat 
``covered commodity'' as defined in 7 CFR Part 65, Subpart A, that is 
to be sold by a ``retailer,'' as defined in 7 CFR 65.240, must comply 
with the requirements in 7 CFR 65.300 and 65.400.

PART 381--POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS

0
4. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as follows:

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


0
5. In Sec.  381.129, a new paragraph (f) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  381.129  False or misleading labeling or containers.

* * * * *
    (f) A country of origin statement on the label of any poultry 
product ``covered commodity'' as defined in 7 CFR Part 65, Subpart A, 
that is to be sold by a ``retailer,'' as defined in 7 CFR 65.240, must 
comply with the requirements in 7 CFR 65.300 and 65.400.

0
6. Sec.  381.133(b) is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (b)(1) after ``geographical origin claims'' add the 
following parenthetical phrase: ``(except as provided by paragraph 
(b)(9)(xxviii) of this section),''
0
b. In paragraph (b)(2) after ``geographical origin claims'' add the 
following parenthetical phrase: ``(except as provided by paragraph 
(b)(9)(xxviii) of this section),''
0
c. A new paragraph (b)(9)(xxviii) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  381.133  Generically approved labeling.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (9) * * *
    (xxviii) A country of origin statement on any product label 
described in Sec.  381.129(f) that complies with the requirements in 
that paragraph.

    Done in Washington, DC, on August 22, 2008.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E8-19882 Filed 8-27-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P