[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 169 (Wednesday, August 31, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54194-54195]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office[FR Doc No: 2011-22286]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2011-0013]


Availability of Final Compliance Guide for the Use of Video or 
Other Electronic Monitoring or Recording Equipment in Federally 
Inspected Establishments

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
the availability of the final compliance guide on the use of video or 
other electronic monitoring or recording equipment in federally 
inspected establishments. FSIS has received Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) approval of information collection under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act (PRA) related to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control 
Point (HACCP) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation 
SOP) video records. FSIS made changes to the final compliance guide 
based on comments received on the draft guide. FSIS has posted this 
final compliance guide on its Significant Guidance Documents Web page 
(http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Significant_Guidance/index.asp).

DATES: Effective Date: August 31, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Isabel Arrington, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, by phone at (402) 344-5000 or by e-mail at 
Isabel.Arrington@fsis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On October 15, 2010 (75 FR 63434), FSIS posted on its Web site a 
draft guide on the use of video or other electronic monitoring or 
recording equipment in federally inspected establishments. The Agency 
issued the document as a draft guide because it needed Office of 
Management and Budget PRA approval on the information collection and 
stated that when it received OMB approval on the information 
collection, it would issue a final guide. FSIS also solicited comments 
on the compliance guide. FSIS now has OMB approval. The OMB approval 
number is 0583-0103. The guide is final, and establishments can use the 
recommendations in this guide on the use of video or other electronic 
monitoring or recording equipment for monitoring operations and 
facilities. The final compliance guide reflects comments received.
    This compliance guide provides information to industry to help it 
maintain compliance with Federal regulations, including humane 
treatment of livestock and the use of good commercial practices in 
poultry.
    FSIS is providing this guide to advise establishments that video or 
other electronic monitoring or recording equipment can be used in 
federally inspected establishments. This guide informs establishments 
of the Agency's expectations if they decide to use this type of 
equipment to create records to meet the requirements of the HACCP 
regulations, or the regulations governing Sanitation SOPs. In addition, 
this guide provides information on issues establishments should 
consider if they use this equipment for any other purpose, such as part 
of their food defense plans.

Comments

    FSIS received a total of 1,217 comments on the draft compliance 
guide. Of those comments, 813 were a letter campaign form requesting 
that the use of video be mandated in establishments. In addition, 400 
of them were general statements that video use should be made mandatory 
in establishments or expressed concerns about humane handling and 
worker safety. Another individual commented that FSIS should also 
require an accredited third party to audit the required video use in 
establishments.
    Requiring video cameras in establishments is not necessary to 
ensure that animals are handled humanely in conjunction with slaughter. 
FSIS inspection program personnel (IPP) verify that establishments are 
meeting regulatory requirements for humane handling in livestock 
slaughter and good commercial practices in poultry slaughter. Worker 
safety issues are outside the scope of the compliance guide. 
Establishments that have video or electronic monitoring or recording 
equipment may choose to have a third party audit their use of such 
equipment.
    Additionally, one meat and poultry trade association and one video 
company, recommended the guide state more clearly that the following 
video records are not subject to routine access by FSIS: Video records 
not designated by establishments for use in their

[[Page 54195]]

HACCP plan or Sanitation SOPs, video records that are used for food 
defense security, or video records that are used for other purposes in 
which recordkeeping is not required. In addition, these commenters 
requested a reference to congressional testimony by the video company 
regarding video systems and their use in the final compliance guide.
    The final guide makes clearer which video records are subject to 
routine access by FSIS. Such records would include HACCP and Sanitation 
SOP records and records associated with other programs that are 
prerequisites to HACCP. FSIS did not include the reference to the 
congressional testimony by the video company in the final compliance 
guide because including that testimony would highlight one specific 
company.
    A commenter from a non-profit organization for humane handling of 
animals and birds recommended that the guide state that video 
technology serves as a supplemental tool for establishments' humane 
handling and good commercial practice activities. The commenter also 
recommended that the guide state the importance of effective 
implementation of video monitoring to result in trustworthy and 
accurate information that helps to prevent inhumane treatment or poor 
commercial practices. Also, the commenter recommended that cameras for 
video should be positioned and operating in such a way to allow 
continuous viewing of all steps from unloading to stunning of livestock 
and poultry.
    FSIS made changes in the final guide to address those comments.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on 
the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, 
disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or 
family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) 
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, 
etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and 
TTY).
    To file a written complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office 
of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TTY). 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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 online through the FSIS Web page located 
at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Federal_Register_Notices/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/News_&_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.

Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-22286 Filed 8-30-11; 8:45 am]
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