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Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Seafood Inspection and Certification Requirements

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).




The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.


Written comments must be submitted on or before April 8, 2005.


Direct all written comments to Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at

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Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Rita Creitz, F/SI, Room 10840, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282 (phone 301-713-2355, ext. 218).

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I. Abstract

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) operates a voluntary fee-for-service seafood inspection program (Program) under the authorities of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended, the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, and the Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970.

The regulations for the Program are contained in 50 CFR Part 260. The Program offers inspection grading and certification services, including the use of official quality grade marks which indicate that specific products have been Federally inspected. Qualified participants are permitted to use the Program's official quality grade marks on their products to facilitate trade of fishery products.

The participants in the inspection program are requested to submit specific information pertaining to the type of inspection services requested [Sec. 260.15]. In all cases, applicants provide information regarding the type of products to be inspected, the quantity, and location of the product. There are also application requirements if there is an appeal of previous inspection results [Sec. 260.36]. Participants requesting regular inspection services on a contractual basis also submit a contract [Sec. 260.96]. The participants interested in using official grade marks are required to submit product labels and specifications for review and approval to ensure compliance with mandatory labeling regulations established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as proper use of the Program's marks [Sec. 260.97 (12) and (13)].

Current regulations state requirements for approval of drawings and specifications prior to approval of facilities [Sec. 260.96 (b) and (c)]. There are no respondents under this section. The Program will amend this part of the regulations in a future action.

In July 1992, NMFS announced new inspection services, which were fully based on guidelines recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). The information collection requirements fall under Sec. 260.15 of the regulations. These guidelines required that a facility's quality control system have a written plan of the operation, identification of control points with acceptance criteria and a corrective action plan, as well as identified personnel responsible for oversight of the system. The HACCP requires continuing monitoring and recordkeeping by the facility's personnel.

Although HACCP involves substantial self-monitoring by the industry, the HACCP-based program is not a self-certification program. It relies on unannounced system audits by NMFS. The frequency of audits is determined by the ability of the firm to monitor its operation. By means of these audits, NMFS reviews the records produced through the Program participant's self-monitoring. The audits determine whether the participant's HACCP-based system is in compliance by checking for overall sanitation, accordance with good manufacturing practices, labeling, and other requirements. In addition, in-process reviews, end-product sampling, and laboratory analyses are performed by NMFS at frequencies based on the potential consumer risk associated with the product and/or the firm's history of compliance with the Program's criteria.

The information collected is used to determine a participant's compliance with the program. The reported information, a HACCP plan, is needed only once. Other information is collected and kept by the participant as part of its routine monitoring activities. NMFS audits the participant's records on unannounced frequencies to further determine compliance.

II. Method of Collection

Information will be obtained via telephone, fax, hard-copy submission, or audit conducted by NMFS personnel.

III. Data

OMB Number: 0648-0266.

Form Number: NOAA Forms 89-800, 89-814, and 89-819.

Type of Review: Regular submission.

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Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 7,082.

Estimated Time Per Response: 5 minutes for an application of inspection services; 5 minutes for an application for an appeal; 5 minutes for submitting a contract; 30 minutes to submit a label and specification; 105 hours for a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan; and 80 hours for HACCP monitoring and recordkeeping.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 13,065.

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $3,579.

IV. Request for Comments

Comments are invited on: (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (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 on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

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Dated: January 28, 2005.

Gwellnar Banks,

Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

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[FR Doc. 05-2286 Filed 2-4-05; 8:45am]