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Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products; Standard Requirements for Determination of Residual Free Formaldehyde Content of Biological Products

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations for the determination of residual free formaldehyde in veterinary biologics to specify that such determinations be made using the ferric chloride method, and that the residual free formaldehyde content be measured in grams per liter. The ferric chloride method has been adopted as an international standard by scientific experts and regulatory authorities in the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Union. The effect of this rule will be to reduce the differences in technical requirements for veterinary biologics among regulatory agencies in different countries and further ensure the safety and shelf life of veterinary biologics by adopting a method that has been standardized and accepted internationally.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

July 14, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Albert P. Morgan, Chief Staff Officer, Operational Support Section, Center for Veterinary Biologics, Licensing and Policy Development, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 148, Riverdale, MD, 20737-1231; (301) 734-8245.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations in 9 CFR part 113 (referred to below as the regulations) prescribe standard requirements for the preparation and testing of veterinary biological products. Standard requirements consist of test methods, procedures, and criteria that define the standards for purity, safety, potency, and efficacy for a given type of veterinary biological product. When a standard procedure for testing veterinary biological products is validated and approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for general use, it is proposed for codification in the regulations. Sections 113.100 and 113.200 of the regulations prescribe the requirement for determination of residual free formaldehyde content in inactivated bacterial products and killed virus vaccines, respectively.

On April 5, 2002, we published in the Federal Register (67 FR 16327-16329, Docket No. 01-091-1) a proposal to amend to amend the regulations for determination of residual free formaldehyde content in inactivated bacterial products and killed virus vaccines to specify that such determinations be made using the ferric chloride method, and that the residual free formaldehyde content be measured in grams per liter. The proposed rule was intended to reduce the differences in technical requirements for veterinary biologics among regulatory agencies in different countries and further ensure the safety and shelf life of veterinary biologics by adopting a method which has been standardized and accepted internationally.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending on June 4, 2002. We received one comment by that date, from a national trade association representing veterinary biologics manufacturers. The commenter expressed support for the efforts of APHIS and the International Cooperation on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for the Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products (VICH) to harmonize the technical requirements for product registration among the participating regions and recommended that APHIS adopt the provisions of the proposed rule.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This 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.

We are amending the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations for determination of residual free formaldehyde content in biological products to require that such free formaldehyde determinations be made using the ferric chloride method, which determines residual free formaldehyde content by measuring the quantity of coloring matter in solution by the quantity of light absorbed in passing through the solution. In addition, this rule provides that the maximum allowable residual free formaldehyde content of veterinary Start Printed Page 35283biologics be measured in grams per liter, rather than equivalent percent or parts per million. The effect of this action will be to provide a standardized method that has been shown to be more accurate than the basic fuchsin method and that has been standardized and adopted internationally.

This rule will affect all licensed manufacturers of veterinary biologics that test inactivated bacterial products and killed virus vaccines for free formaldehyde content. Currently, there are approximately 135 veterinary biologics establishments, including permittees. According to the standards of the Small Business Administration, most veterinary biologics establishments would be classified as small entities.

We do not expect that this rule will impose any additional testing or economic burden on these manufacturers because manufacturers currently test their products for free formaldehyde content using the basic fuchsin and other methods, and the reagents and equipment necessary to perform the ferric chloride test for free formaldehyde content that will be required under this rule are expected to be comparable in cost.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12372

This program/activity is listed in the catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. This rule will not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies, unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule. The Act does not provide administrative procedures which must be exhausted prior to a judicial challenge to the provisions of this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no new information or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq).

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List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 113

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Accordingly, we are amending

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PART 113—STANDARD REQUIREMENTS

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1. The authority citation for part 113 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 21 U.S.C. 151-159; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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2. In § 113.100, paragraph (f) is revised to read as follows:

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General requirements for inactivated bacterial products.
* * * * *

(f) If formaldehyde is used as the inactivating agent, and the serial has not been found satisfactory by the viricidal activity test, bulk or final container samples of completed product from each serial must be tested for residual free formaldehyde content using the ferric chloride test.[2] Firms currently using tests for residual free formaldehyde content other than the ferric chloride test have until July 14, 2004 to update their Outline of Production to be in compliance with this requirement.

(1) The residual free formaldehyde content of biological products containing clostridial antigens must not exceed 1.85 grams per liter (g/L).

(2) The residual free formaldehyde content of bacterins, bacterin-toxoids, and toxoids, other than those containing clostridial antigens, must not exceed 0.74 grams per liter (g/L).

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3. In § 113.200, paragraph (f) is revised to read as follows:

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General requirements for killed virus vaccines.
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(f) Formaldehyde content. If formaldehyde is used as the killing agent, the residual free formaldehyde content must not exceed 0.74 grams per liter (g/L) as determined using the ferric chloride test.[3] Firms currently using tests for residual free formaldehyde content other than the ferric chloride test have until July 14, 2004 to update their Outline of Production to be in compliance with this requirement.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 10th day of June 2003.

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Footnotes

2.  The procedures for performing the ferric chloride test for residual free formaldehyde may be obtained from USDA, APHIS, Center for Veterinary Biologics-Laboratory, 1800 Dayton Road, P.O. Box 844, Ames, IA 50010.

Back to Citation

3.  The procedures for performing the ferric chloride test for residual free formaldehyde may be obtained from USDA, APHIS, Center for Veterinary Biologics-Laboratory, 1800 Dayton Road, P.O. Box 844, Ames, IA 50010.

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. 03-14957 Filed 6-12-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P