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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; 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Request; Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations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 that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

DATES:

Fax written comments on the collection of information by June 16, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

To ensure that comments on the information collection are received, OMB recommends that written comments be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-6974, or e-mailed to baguilar@omb.eop.gov. All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0562. Also include the FDA 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:

In compliance with 44 U.S.C. 3507, FDA has submitted the following proposed collection of information to OMB for review and clearance.

Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations—(OMB Control Number 0910-0562)—Extension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 Start Printed Page 28485Federal 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 tolerances 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.

In the Federal Register of February 25, 2008 (73 FR 10033), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the information collection provisions. No comments were received.

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 previous 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 Start Printed Page 28486in 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 the 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.

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 per record. FDA has retrained its prior estimate of 16 hours per record for the recordkeeping burden. As shown in table 1 of this document, FDA estimates that one respondent will make one submission per year. 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 1 submission per year as 1/10 of a recordkeeper, FDA estimates that 1 recordkeeper will take 16 hours to develop and maintain documentation recommended by the guidance.

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Dated: May 8, 2008.

Jeffrey Shuren,

Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning.

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[FR Doc. E8-10985 Filed 5-15-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4160-01-S