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Notice

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

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking public comments on its proposal to extend through November 30, 2008, the current Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) clearance for information collection Start Printed Page 56469requirements contained in its regulations under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, 15 U.S.C. 1451-1461 (“FPLA”). That clearance expires on November 30, 2005.

DATES:

Comments must be filed by November 28, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to “FPLA Regulations: FTC File No. P868423” to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope and should be mailed or delivered, with two complete copies, to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Room H 135 (Annex J), 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20580. Because paper mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form, (in ASCII format, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word) as part of or as an attachment to email messages directed to the following email box: <paperworkcomment@ftc.gov>. However, if the comment contains any material for which confidential treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “Confidential.” [1]

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments will be considered by the Commission and will be available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, at http://www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC website. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy at http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.htm.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 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. 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A).

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. All comments should be filed as prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or before November 28, 2005.

The FPLA was enacted to eliminate consumer deception concerning product size representations and package content information. The regulations that implement the FPLA, 16 CFR Parts 500-503, establish requirements for the manner and form of labeling applicable to manufacturers, packagers, and distributors of “consumer commodities.” [2] 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: 6,533,970 total burden hours (solely relating to disclosure [3]  ).

Staff conservatively estimates that approximately 653,397 manufacturers, packagers, distributors, and retailers of consumer commodities make disclosures at an average burden of ten hours per entity, for a total disclosure burden of 6,533,970 hours. As in the past, Commission staff has used census data to estimate the number of companies. Based on a revised approach to the commodity categories in the Retail Trade census data, staff has eliminated much of the overlapping redundancies and lowered the estimate of the number of retailers that sell products subject to the Commission's FPLA regulations.

Estimated annual cost burden: $114,997,872 (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 $14), for a total of $114,997,872 ($176 per covered entity x 653,397 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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William Blumenthal,

General Counsel.

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Footnotes

1.  Commission Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission's General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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2.  “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 http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​statutes/​fpla/​outline.html.

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3.  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. 05-19273 Filed 9-26-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-P