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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Guidance on Consultation Procedures; Foods Derived From New Plant Varieties

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Food and Drug Administration, HHS.




The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on information collection requirements for the Guidance on Consultation Procedures; Foods Derived From New Plant Varieties.


Submit written or electronic comments on the collection of information by January 24, 2005.


Submit electronic comments on the collection of information to:​dockets/​ecomments. Submit written comments on the collection of information to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. Start Printed Page 683801061, Rockville, MD 20852. All comments should be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

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Peggy Robbins, Office of Management Programs (HFA-250), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, 301-827-1223.

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Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA'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 respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

Guidance on Consultation Procedures; Foods Derived From New Plant Varieties

Since 1992, when FDA issued its Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties (the 1992 policy) (57 FR 22984, May 29, 1992), FDA has encouraged developers of new plant varieties, including those varieties that are developed through biotechnology, to consult with FDA during the plant development process to discuss possible scientific and regulatory issues that might arise. In the 1992 policy, FDA explained that, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act), developers of new foods (in this document food refers to both human food and animal feed) have a responsibility to ensure that the foods they offer to consumers are safe and are in compliance with all requirements of the act (57 FR 22984 at 22985).

FDA has long regarded it to be a prudent practice for producers who use biotechnology in the manufacture or development of foods and food ingredients to work cooperatively with FDA to ensure that products derived through biotechnology are safe and comply with all applicable legal requirements. Consequently, FDA instituted a voluntary consultation process with industry. The Guidance on Consultation Procedures; Foods Derived From New Plant Varieties (Originally published in 1996 and revised October 1997, the updated version is available on FDA's Internet site at​~lrd/​consulpr.html) fosters communication by encouraging developers to submit to FDA their evaluation of the food safety of their new plant variety. Such communication will help to ensure that any potential food safety issues regarding a new plant variety are resolved during development, and will help to ensure that all market entry decisions by the industry are made consistently and in full compliance with the standards of the act.

FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

Table 1.—Estimated Reporting Burden1

No. of RespondentsAnnual Frequency per ResponseTotal Annual ResponsesHours per ResponseTotal Hours
Initial consultation202404160
Final consultation121121501,800
Annual one time burden hours1,960
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

A. Initial Consultations

Initial consultations are generally a one-time burden, although a developer might return more than once to discuss additional issues before submitting a final consultation. As noted in its guidance to industry, FDA encourages developers to consult early in the development phase of their products, and as often as necessary. Historically, the food industry generally has initiated consultation with FDA early in the process of developing a new bioengineered plant variety, even though there is no legal obligation to do so. These consultations have served to make FDA aware of foods and food ingredients before these products are distributed commercially, and have provided FDA with the information necessary to address any potential questions regarding the safety, labeling, or regulatory status of the food or food ingredient. As such, these consultations have provided assistance to both industry and the agency in exercising their mutual responsibilities under the act.

Generally, for an initial consultation, a developer requests a meeting by sending FDA a letter with an agenda. A mutually convenient time is arranged and the developer comes to discuss their product. In preparation for a meeting, a developer might prepare written materials or a slide presentation to discuss their product under development. A meeting between the developer and FDA typically lasts between 1 and 2 hours. As a result of such a meeting, FDA establishes a file called a biotechnology notification file, or BNF, to collect all documentation and communication regarding the bioengineered plant.

Depending on the introduced trait, the experience the developer has had with the kind of modification being considered, and their familiarity with the consultation procedures, a developer might choose to do a final consultation without an initial consultation.

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B. Final Consultations

Final consultations are a one-time burden. At some stage in the process of research and development, a developer will have accumulated the information that the developer believes is adequate to ensure that food derived from the new plant variety is safe and that it demonstrates compliance with the relevant provisions of the act. The developer will then be in a position to conclude any ongoing consultation with FDA. The developer submits to FDA a summary of the safety and nutritional assessment that has been conducted about the bioengineered food that is intended to be introduced into commercial distribution. FDA evaluates the submission to ensure that all potential safety and regulatory questions have been addressed.

Summary information of the safety and nutritional assessment for a new plant variety submitted to FDA includes the following information:

  • The name of the bioengineered food and the crop from which it is derived;
  • A description of the various applications or uses of the bioengineered food, including animal feed uses;
  • Information concerning the sources, identities, and functions of introduced genetic material;
  • Information on the purpose or intended technical effect of the modification, and its expected effect on the composition or characteristic properties of the food or feed;
  • Information concerning the identity and function of expression products encoded by the introduced genetic material, including an estimate of the concentration of any expression product in the bioengineered crop or food derived therefrom;
  • Information regarding any known or suspected allergenicity and toxicity of expression products and the basis for concluding that foods containing the expression products can be safely consumed;
  • Information comparing the composition or characteristics of the bioengineered food to that of food derived from the parental variety or other commonly consumed varieties of the same crop with special emphasis on important nutrients, and toxicants that occur naturally in the food;
  • A discussion of the available information that addresses whether the potential for the food derived from a bioengineered plant to induce an allergic response has been altered by the genetic modification; and
  • Any other information relevant to the safety and nutritional assessment of the bioengineered food.

In 2001 FDA contacted five firms that had made one or more biotechnology consultation submissions under the 1996 procedures. FDA asked each of these firms for an estimate of the hourly burden to prepare a submission under the voluntary biotechnology consultation process. Three of these firms subsequently provided the requested information. Based on this information, FDA is estimating that the average time to prepare a submission for final consultation under the 1996 procedures is 150 hours.

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Dated: November 12, 2004.

Jeffrey Shuren,

Assistant Commissioner for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 04-26048 Filed 11-19-04; 1:52 pm]