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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations

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AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

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 the information collection provisions of FDA's guidance for industry entitled “Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations.”

DATES:

Submit written or electronic comments on the collection of information by April 25, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Submit electronic comments on the collection of information to http://www.regulations.gov. Submit written comments on the collection of information to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, 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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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jonna Capezzuto, Office of the Chief Information Officer (HFA-250), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, 301-827-4659.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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.

Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations (OMB Control Number 0910-0562)—Extension

The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA), which amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act), established a new safety standard for pesticide residues in food, with an emphasis on protecting the health of infants and children. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating the use of pesticides (under FIFRA) and for establishing tolerances or exemptions from the requirement for tolerances for residues of pesticide chemicals in food commodities (under the act). EPA, in accordance with the FQPA, is in the process of reassessing the pesticide Start Printed Page 10034tolerances and exemptions which were in effect when the FQPA was signed into law. When EPA determines that a pesticide's tolerance level does not meet the safety standard under section 408 of the act (21 U.S.C. 346a), the registration for the pesticide may be canceled under FIFRA for all or certain uses. In addition, the tolerances for that pesticide may be lowered or revoked for the corresponding food commodities. Under section 408(l)(2) of the act, when the registration for a pesticide is canceled or modified due to, in whole or in part, dietary risks to humans posed by residues of that pesticide chemical on food, the effective date for the revocation of such tolerance (or exemption in some cases) must be no later than 180 days after the date such cancellation becomes effective or 180 days after the date on which the use of the canceled pesticide becomes unlawful under the terms of the cancellation, whichever is later.

When EPA takes such actions, food derived from a commodity that was lawfully treated with the pesticide may not have cleared the channels of trade by the time the revocation or new tolerance level takes effect. The food could be found by FDA, the agency that is responsible for monitoring pesticide residue levels and enforcing the pesticide tolerances in most foods (the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has responsibility for monitoring residue levels and enforcing pesticide tolerances in egg products and most meat and poultry products), to contain a residue of that pesticide that does not comply with the revoked or lowered tolerance. FDA would normally deem such food to be in violation of the law by virtue of it bearing an illegal pesticide residue. The food would be subject to FDA enforcement action as an “adulterated” food. However, the channels of trade provision of the act (section 408(l)(5) of the act) addresses the circumstances under which a food is not unsafe solely due to the presence of a residue from a pesticide chemical for which the tolerance has been revoked, suspended, or modified by EPA. The channels of trade provision states that food containing a residue of such a pesticide shall not be deemed “adulterated” by virtue of the residue, if the residue is within the former tolerance, and the responsible party can demonstrate to FDA's satisfaction that the residue is present as the result of an application of the pesticide at a time and in a manner which were lawful under FIFRA.

In the Federal Register of May 18, 2005 (70 FR 28544), FDA announced the availability of a guidance document entitled, “Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations.” The guidance represents the agency's current thinking on its planned enforcement approach to the channels of trade provision of the act and how that provision relates to FDA-regulated products with residues of pesticide chemicals for which tolerances have been revoked, suspended, or modified by EPA under dietary risk considerations. The guidance can be found at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/​guidance.html. FDA anticipates that food bearing lawfully applied residues of pesticide chemicals that are the subject of future EPA action to revoke, suspend, or modify their tolerances, will remain in the channels of trade after the applicable tolerance is revoked, suspended, or modified. If FDA encounters food bearing a residue of a pesticide chemical for which the tolerance has been revoked, suspended, or modified, it intends to address the situation in accordance with provisions of the guidance. In general, FDA anticipates that the party responsible for food found to contain pesticide chemical residues (within the former tolerance) after the tolerance for the pesticide chemical has been revoked, suspended, or modified will be able to demonstrate that such food was handled, e.g., packed or processed, during the acceptable timeframes cited in the guidance by providing appropriate documentation to the agency as discussed in the guidance document. FDA is not suggesting that firms maintain an inflexible set of documents where anything less or different would likely be considered unacceptable. Rather, the agency is leaving it to each firm's discretion to maintain appropriate documentation to demonstrate that the food was so handled during the acceptable timeframes.

Examples of documentation which FDA anticipates will serve this purpose consist of documentation associated with packing codes, batch records, and inventory records. These are types of documents that many food processors routinely generate as part of their basic food-production operations.

FDA is requesting the extension of OMB approval for the information collection provisions in the guidance.

Description of Respondents: The likely respondents to this collection of information are firms in the produce and food-processing industries that handle food products that may contain residues of pesticide chemicals after the tolerances for the pesticide chemicals have been revoked, suspended, or modified.

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

Table 1.—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden1

ActivityNo. of RespondentsAnnual Frequency per ResponseTotal Annual ResponsesHours per ResponseTotal Hours
Submission of documentation11133
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

FDA expects the total number of pesticide tolerances that are revoked, suspended, or modified by EPA in the next 3 years to significantly decrease, as EPA concludes its review activity. Thus, the above estimates for respondents and numbers of responses in table 1 of this document are based on the submissions that the agency has received in the past 3 years and the expectation that the number of submissions will significantly decrease in the next 3 years. However, to avoid counting this burden as zero, FDA has estimated the burden at one respondent making one submission a year for a total of one annual submission.

The hours per response values were estimated as follows: First, we assumed that the information requested in this guidance is readily available to the submitter. We expect that the submitter will need to gather information from appropriate persons in the submitter's company and to prepare this information for submission to FDA. The submitter will almost always merely need to copy existing documentation. We believe that this effort should take no longer than 3 hours per submission.Start Printed Page 10035

Table 2.—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden1

ActivityNo. of RecordkeepersAnnual Frequency per RecordkeepingTotal Annual RecordsHours per RecordTotal Hours
Develop documentation process1111616
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

In determining the estimated annual recordkeeping burden, FDA estimated that at least 90 percent of firms maintain documentation, such as packing codes, batch records, and inventory records, as part of their basic food production or import operations. Therefore, the recordkeeping burden was calculated as the time required for the 10 percent of firms that may not be currently maintaining this documentation to develop and maintain documentation, such as batch records and inventory records. In previous information collection requests, this recordkeeping burden was estimated to be 16 hours. Although FDA estimates that only 1 out of 10 firms will not be currently maintaining the necessary documentation, to avoid counting the recordkeeping burden for the one submission per year as zero, FDA has retained its prior estimate of 16 hours for the recordkeeping burden.

Please note that on January 15, 2008, the FDA Web site transitioned to the Federal Dockets Management System (FDMS). FDMS is a Government-wide, electronic docket management system. Electronic submissions will be accepted by FDA through FDMS only.

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Dated: February 15, 2008.

Jeffrey Shuren,

Assistant Commissioner for Policy.

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[FR Doc. E8-3415 Filed 2-22-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4160-01-S