[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 49 (Thursday, March 12, 2020)]
[Pages 14455-14457]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [http://www.gpo.gov/]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05076]

[[Page 14455]]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2020-0008]

Notice of Request To Renew of an Approved Information Collection: 
In-Home Food Safety Behaviors and Consumer Education: Annual 
Observational Study

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 renew the 
approved information collection regarding observational studies to 
inform the development of food safety communication products and an 
evaluation of public health education and communication activities. The 
approval for this information collection will expire on June 30, 2020. 
FSIS has reduced the total burden estimate for the renewal collection 
by 833 hours because FSIS plans to conclude its research in two years, 
after the renewal. The original burden estimate was for three years.

DATES: Submit comments on or before May 11, 2020.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
Federal Register notice. Comments may be submitted by one of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides 
commenters the ability to type short comments directly into the comment 
field on the web page or to 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, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-
     Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2020-0008. 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, 
call (202)720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gina Kouba, Office of Policy and 
Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, South Building, Washington, DC 
20250-3700; (202) 720-5627.

    Title: In-Home Food Safety Behaviors and Consumer Education: Annual 
Observational Study.
    OMB Number: 0583-0169.
    Expiration Date of Approval: 6/30/2020.
    Type of Request: Renewal of an approved information collection.
    Abstract: FSIS has been delegated the authority to exercise the 
functions of the Secretary (7 CFR 2.18 and 2.53), as specified in the 
Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601, et seq.), and the 
Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451, et seq.). These 
statutes mandate that FSIS protect the public by verifying that meat 
and poultry products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly 
labeled and packaged.
    FSIS is announcing its intention to renew the approved information 
collection regarding observational studies to inform the development of 
food safety communication products and an evaluation of public health 
education and communication activities. The approval for this 
information collection will expire on June 30, 2020. FSIS has reduced 
the total burden estimate for the renewal collection by 833 hours 
because FSIS plans to conclude its research in two years, after the 
renewal. The original burden estimate was for three years.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection 
Service's Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education (USDA, FSIS, 
OPACE) ensures that all segments of the farm-to-table chain receive 
valuable food safety information. The consumer education programs 
developed by OPACE's Food Safety Education Staff inform the public on 
how to safely handle, prepare, and store meat, poultry, and processed 
egg products to minimize incidence of foodborne illness.
    OPACE strives to continuously increase consumer awareness of 
recommended food safety practices with the intent to improve food-
handling behaviors at home. OPACE shares its messages through The Food 
Safe Families campaign (a cooperative effort of USDA, Food and Drug 
Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); other 
outreach; social media; Ask USDA and the Meat and Poultry Hotline (an 
interactive knowledge management system consumers can use to get 
answers from USDA employees via phone, chat, email and a frequently 
asked question database); the FSIS website; publications; and events. 
These messages are focused on the four core food safety behaviors: 
Clean, separate, cook, and chill.
    To test new consumer messaging and tailor existing messaging, FSIS 
can help ensure that it is effectively communicating with the public 
and working to improve consumer food safety practices. Continuing this 
behavioral research will provide insight into the effect FSIS consumer 
outreach campaigns have on consumers' food safety behaviors. The 
results of this research will be used to enhance messaging and 
accompanying materials to improve their food safety behavior. 
Additionally, this research will provide useful information for 
tracking progress toward the goals outlined in the FSIS Fiscal Years 
2017-2021 Strategic Plan.\1\

    \1\ The FSIS Fiscal Years 2017-2021 Strategic Plan is available 
on the FSIS website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/317d14d6-1759-448e-941a-de3cbff289e5/Strategic-Plan-2017-2021.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

    To inform the development of food safety communication products and 
to evaluate public health education and communication activities, FSIS 
is requesting approval for a renewal of an information collection to 
conduct observational studies using an experimental design. Previous 
research suggests that self-reported data (e.g., surveys) on consumers' 
food safety practices are unreliable, thus observational studies are a 
preferred approach for collecting information on consumers' actual food 
safety practices. These observational studies will help FSIS assess 
adherence to the four recommended food safety behaviors of clean, 
separate, cook, and chill, and to determine whether food safety 
messaging focused on those behaviors affects consumer food safety 
handling behaviors and whether consumers introduce cross-contamination 
during food preparation. For this 2-year study, FSIS plans to conduct 
separate observational studies in Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 
and to focus on a different behavior, food and food preparation task, 
and food safety communication product each year. The

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2020 study will examine participants' use of a food thermometer to 
determine if ground beef burgers are cooked to the proper temperature 
when grilling. The 2021 study will examine participants' food safety 
practices when preparing kabobs and serving them buffet style.
    FSIS has contracted with RTI International to conduct the 
observational studies. The observational studies will be conducted in 
North Carolina State University's test kitchen. Participants will be 
recruited using non-probability convenience sampling, such as through 
social media and posting signs in Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) 
clinics, and recruited participants will reflect the demographics of 
the U.S. population with regard to race, ethnicity, age, education, 
income, and household size. Using a fully randomized experimental 
design, participants will be assigned to a treatment or control group. 
Treatment participants will receive food safety messaging prior to the 
study, while control participants will receive messaging unrelated to 
food safety. Participants will be given ingredients and asked to 
prepare a meal consisting of ready-to-eat products such as salad and 
raw meat or poultry products. Prior to meal preparation, the raw meat 
or poultry product will be inoculated with a harmless tracer bacterium 
to assess the extent of cross-contamination in the kitchen and with the 
ready-to-eat product. Researchers will video-record meal preparation. 
Trained researchers will subsequently view the videos and use a coding 
rubric to assess adherence to recommended practices and notational 
analysis to assess recorded actions and their frequency.
    Following food preparation, trained surface sample collectors will 
take surface swab samples from multiple sites within the test kitchen. 
The swabs will be plated at a laboratory to determine presence of the 
tracer bacterium and concentration of the tracer if any is present. The 
presence of this tracer will indicate that cross-contamination occurred 
during food preparation. The level of cross-contamination will be 
compared across the sampling sites to determine the highest risk areas. 
Kitchen surfaces, appliances, and other potentially contaminated sites 
will be cleaned and sanitized after each participant in order to ensure 
that any bacterial samples collected were from the participant's 
    Participants will be asked to complete an interview after the 
observation to collect additional information on their experiences in 
the test kitchen and their attitudes about food safety.
    Statistical analysis will be conducted comparing the differences in 
handling behavior scores between the treatment and control groups for 
the four food handling behaviors. A comparative analysis will also be 
conducted on the samples collected from the designated kitchen sites 
and food samples to determine whether levels of cross-contamination 
differed between the two groups, as well as to identify the kitchen 
sites with the highest levels of contamination. This information will 
help to determine whether the food safety communication products tested 
in the experimental study affect consumer food handling behavior and 
thus help OPACE refine existing materials or inform the development of 
new food safety communication products. Improving consumer food safety 
practices in the home may help to minimize incidence of foodborne 
    Estimate of Burden: Each year of the 2-year study, it is expected 
that 833 individuals will complete the web-based screener and it is 
assumed that 625 will be eligible and subsequently contacted by phone 
to schedule an appointment for the observation study. Of these, it is 
assumed that 500 will agree to take part in the study and schedule an 
appointment, and of these, it is assumed that 400 will show up and 
complete the observation study and interview. Each web-screening is 
expected to take 8 minutes (0.133 hour) and each phone call to schedule 
an appointment is expected to take 7 minutes (0.116 hour). Taking part 
in the observation study appointment will take a total of 120 minutes 
(2 hours): 15 minutes (0.25 hours) to obtain informed consent and 
provide exposure to the messaging, 90 minutes (1.5 hours) for the meal 
preparation/observation, and 15 minutes (0.25 hours) for the post-
observation interview. For each iteration of the study, the estimated 
annual reporting burden is 983.289 hours, which is the sum of the 
burden estimates for each component of the study (including the burden 
for consumers who initially completed the web-based survey but do not 
agree to participate or do not show up for the observation study). For 
a 2-year study the estimated total number of individuals to be screened 
is 1,666 (833 each year) and the estimated total number of individuals 
to complete the observation study is 800 (400 each year). The estimated 
total burden for the 2-year study is 1,966.578 hours (983.289 *2).

                 Estimated Annual Reporting Burden for Each Iteration of the Observational Study
                                  Estimated        Annual
       Study component            number of     frequency per   Total annual       Hours per        Total hours
                                 respondents      response        responses         Response
Web-based screening question-             833               1             833  0.133 (8 min.)...         110.789
Appointment phone script,                 625               1             625  0.116 (7 min.)...            72.5
 confirmation email, reminder
 phone script.
Consent Form and Messaging...             400               1             400  0.25 (15 min.)...           100.0
Food Preparation Task/Observa-            400               1             400  1.5 (90 min.)....           600.0
Post-observation interview...             400               1             400  0.25 (15 min.)...           100.0
    Total....................  ..............  ..............  ..............  .................         983.289

    Respondents: Consumers.
    Estimated No. of Respondents: 1,666.
    Estimated No. of Annual Responses per Respondent: 1.
    Estimated Total Burden on Respondents: 1,966.578 hours.
    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of FSIS's 
functions, including whether the information will have practical 
utility; (b) the accuracy of FSIS's

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estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, 
including the validity of the method 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 (OMB), 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, FSIS will announce this Federal 
Register publication on-line through the FSIS web page located at: 
    FSIS will also announce and provide a link to this Federal Register 
publication 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 Constituent Update is available on 
the FSIS web page. Through the web page, FSIS can provide information 
to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an 
email 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/subscribe. Options range from 
recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. 
Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the 
option to password protect their accounts.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds 
of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual 
orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, 
income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, 
exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to 
discrimination any person in the United States under any program or 
activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program 
Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your 
authorized representative.
    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, 
or email:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of 
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, 
Fax: (202) 690-7442, Email: [email protected].
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Paul Kiecker,
[FR Doc. 2020-05076 Filed 3-11-20; 8:45 am]