[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 45 (Thursday, March 7, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14635-14636]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05342]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2013 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 14635]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 417

[Docket No. FSIS-2012-0007]


HACCP Plan Reassessment for Not-Ready-To-Eat Comminuted Poultry 
Products and Related Agency Verification Procedures

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of extension of comment period.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is extending the 
comment period for the December 6, 2012, Federal Register document 
``HACCP Plan Reassessment for Not-Ready-to-Eat Comminuted Poultry 
Products and Related Agency Verification Procedures'' until April 20, 
2013. FSIS will also provide an additional 45 days for establishments 
that produce not-ready-to-eat (NRTE) comminuted chicken or turkey 
products to reassess their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points 
(HACCP) plans for those products. FSIS will postpone by 45 days the 
date inspection personnel will begin verifying that those 
establishments have reassessed their HACCP plans. In addition, starting 
approximately on April 20, 2013, the Agency intends to begin obtaining 
samples to determine the prevalence of Salmonella in NRTE comminuted 
poultry product announced in the document. The Agency is taking these 
actions in response to a request made by a coalition of trade 
associations.

DATES: The comment period for the document published December 6, 2012, 
at 77 FR 72686, is extended. Comments are due by April 20, 2013.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
document. 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 on-line instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
    Mail, including CD-ROMs: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 
20250-3700.
    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 
355 E. Street SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2012-0007. 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 to comments received, 
go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 
8-164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Edelstein, Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, telephone: 
(202) 205-0495, or by fax: (202) 720-2025.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    On December 6, 2012, FSIS published a document in the Federal 
Register to inform establishments producing NRTE ground or otherwise 
comminuted chicken and turkey products that they must reassess their 
HACCP plans for these products to take into account several recent 
Salmonella outbreaks associated with consumption of comminuted NRTE 
turkey products (77 FR 72686). In the document, FSIS describes how it 
will determine whether the association of NRTE meat or poultry product 
with an illness outbreak would make subsequently-produced like product 
adulterated. The Agency also announced the expansion of its Salmonella 
verification sampling program to include all forms of non-breaded, non-
battered comminuted NRTE poultry product not destined for further 
processing into ready-to-eat products. In addition, the document 
announces that the Agency will begin sampling to determine the 
prevalence of Salmonella in NRTE comminuted poultry and will use the 
results from this sampling to develop performance standards for these 
products. FSIS gave the public until March 6, 2013, to submit comments 
on the document.
    In a letter addressed to FSIS Administrator Alfred V. Almanza, 
dated January 18, 2013, a coalition of trade associations stated that 
additional time was needed to formulate meaningful comments.
    FSIS will extend the comment period by an additional 45 days; the 
comment period will now end on April 20, 2013. FSIS will also provide 
an additional 45 days for establishments that produce NRTE comminuted 
chicken or turkey products to reassess their HACCP plans for those 
products. Recognize, however, that the December 6, 2012, document was 
based on the Agency's determination that changes have occurred that 
could affect establishments' hazard analysis or affect their HACCP 
plan. As is explained in the Federal Register document, FSIS is 
requiring the reassessments because of the outbreaks and recalls that 
have occurred. Thus, the predicate for requiring reassessment under 9 
CFR 417.4(a)(3) clearly exists. Therefore, establishments should use 
this additional time to conduct a reassessment of their HACCP plans for 
those products.
    FSIS will postpone by 45 days--until April 20, 2013--the date 
inspection personnel will begin verifying that those establishments 
have reassessed their HACCP plans. In addition, starting approximately 
on April 20, 2013, the Agency intends to begin obtaining samples to 
determine the prevalence of Salmonella in NRTE comminuted poultry 
announced in the Federal Register document. FSIS expects to use the 
verification testing program as the means for obtaining samples and 
will use the results from this sampling to develop performance 
standards for these products.
    FSIS will not further delay verifying that establishments have 
reassessed their HACCP plans, nor will the Agency delay its sampling of 
such comminuted

[[Page 14636]]

products. However, FSIS will not make any changes to the performance 
standards for these products until FSIS has evaluated all comments 
received and has analyzed the results of the new testing.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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

    FSIS will announce this document 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. 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.

    Done at Washington, DC, on: February 11, 2013.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-05342 Filed 3-6-13; 8:45 am]
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