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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Colletion; Comment Request; Extension

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Federal Trade Commission.




The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking public comments on its proposal to extend through December 31, 2005 the current Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) clearance for information collection requirements contained in its regulations under the Fair Packaging Labeling Act (“regulations”). That clearance expires on December 31, 2002.


Comments must be filed by September 30, 2002.


Send written comments to Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room H-159, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20580. All comments should be captioned “FPLA Regulations: Paperwork Comment,” as appropriate. Comments in electronic form should be sent to: FPLA as prescribed below.

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Requests for additional information or copies of the proposed information requirements should be sent to Stephen Ecklund, Investigator, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20580, (202) 326-2841.

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Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” means agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3); 5 CFR 1320.3(c). As required by section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB extend the existing paperwork clearance for the regulations noted herein.

The FTC invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

If a comment contains nonpublic information, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “confidential.” Comments that do not contain any nonpublic information may instead be filed in electronic form (in ASCII format, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word) as part of or as an attachment to email messages directed to the following e-mail box: FPLA Such comments will be considered by the Commission and will be available for inspection and copying at its principal office in accordance with section 4.9(b)(6)(ii) of the Commission's Rules of Practice, 16 CFR section 4.9(b)(6)(ii).

The FPLA was enacted to eliminate consumer deception concerning product size representations and package content information. The regulations that implement the FPLA, 16 C.F.R. Parts 500-503, establish requirements for the manner and form of labeling applicable to manufacturers, packagers, and distributors of “consumer commodities.” [1] Section 4 of the FPLA specifically requires packages or labels to be marked with: (1) A statement of identity; (2) a net quantity of contents disclosure; and (3) the name and place of business of a company that is responsible for the product.

Estimated annual hours burden: 8,095,000 total burden hours (solely relating to disclosure [2] ).

Staff conservatively estimates that approximately 809,500 manufacturers, packagers, distributors, and retailers of consumer commodities make disclosures at an average burden of ten hours per entity, for a total disclosure of 8,095,000 hours.

Estimated annual cost burden: $135,187,000, rounded (solely relating to labor costs).

The estimated annual labor cost burden associated with the FPLA disclosure requirements consists of an estimated hour of managerial and/or professional time per covered entity (at an estimated average hourly rate of $50) and nine hours of clerical time per covered entity (at an estimated average hourly rate of $13), for a total of $135,186,500 ($167 per covered entity × 809,500 entities).

Total capital and start-up costs are de minimis. For many years, the packaging and labeling activities that require capital and start-up costs have been performed by covered entities in the ordinary course of business independent of the FPLA and implementing regulations. Similarly, firms provide in the ordinary course of business the information that the statute and regulations require be placed on packages and labels.

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John D. Graubert,

Acting General Counsel.

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1.  “Consumer commodity” means any article, product, or commodity of any kind or class which is customarily produced or distributed for sale through retail sales agencies or instrumentalities for consumption by individuals, or use by individuals for purposes of personal care or in the performance of services ordinarily rendered within the household, and which usually is consumed or expended in the course of such consumption or use. 16 CFR 500.2(c). For the precise scope of the term's coverage see 16 CFR 500.2(c); 503.2; 503.5. See also​os/​statutes/​fpla/​outline.html.

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2.  To the extent that the FPLA-implementing regulations require sellers of consumer commodities to keep records that substantiate “cents off,” “introductory offer,'' and/or “economy size” claims, staff believes that most, if not all, of the records that sellers maintain would be kept in the ordinary course of business, regardless of the legal mandates.

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[FR Doc. 02-19280 Filed 7-30-02; 8:45 am]