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Notice

Guidance for Industry: Referral Program from the Food and Drug Administration to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Seafood Inspection Program for the Certification of Fish and Fishery Products for Export to the European Union and the European Free Trade Association; Availability

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a guidance document entitled “Guidance for Industry: Referral Program from the Food and Drug Administration to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Seafood Inspection Program for the Certification of Fish and Fishery Products for Export to the European Union and the European Free Trade Association.” The guidance provides information for seafood processors and other entities that are interested in obtaining export certificates for fish or fishery products that are to be shipped to the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). FDA is also announcing that it intends to stop issuing EU Export Certificates after February 17, 2009.

DATES:

Submit written or electronic comments on the guidance at any time.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written comments concerning the guidance to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments on the guidance to http://www.regulations.gov. Submit written requests for single copies of the guidance to the Office of Food Safety (HFS-300), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740-3835. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your request. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the guidance.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

William Jones, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-325), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740-3835, 301-436-2300.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

In the Federal Register of November 26, 2004 (69 FR 68948) (the November 26 notice), FDA announced the availability of a draft guidance entitled “Proposed Referral Program from the Food and Drug Administration to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Seafood Inspection Program for the Certification of Live and Perishable Fish and Fishery Products for Export to the European Union and the European Free Trade Association.” In the November 26 notice, FDA announced that it proposed to operate a Referral Program for a 24-month period to test the viability and effectiveness of such an arrangement. During this period, EU Export Certificates for shipments of live and perishable fish and fishery products destined for the EU, European Union Accession Partnership Countries (EUAPC), and EFTA Members would have been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Seafood Inspection Program (NOAA SIP) under the Agricultural Marketing Act. In addition, FDA indicated that it intended to stop issuing EU Export Certificates for live and perishable fish and fishery products during this period. FDA sought comment on this referral program, including whether it should be expanded beyond live and perishable to all shipments of fish and fishery products destined for the EU, EU Accession Partnership Countries, and other countries with certificate requirements.

Interested persons were initially given until December 27, 2004, to comment on the draft guidance. The comment period was subsequently extended until January 25, 2005 (69 FR 78038, December 29, 2004). The agency considered and modified the guidance as appropriate.

The agency is announcing the availability of the final guidance document entitled “Guidance for Industry: Referral Program from the Food and Drug Administration to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration Seafood Inspection Program for the Certification of Fish and Fishery Products for the Export to the European Union and the European Free Start Printed Page 2601Trade Association.” In this final guidance, FDA is announcing that: (1) We intend to proceed with a Certification Referral Program to NOAA SIP, without a 24-month test period, (2) we intend to expand the program to include all fish and fishery products for export to the EU and EFTA, and (3) we intend to stop issuing EU Export Certificates effective February 17, 2009. The agency intends to adopt this approach because the industry's demand for EU Export Certificates continues to rise dramatically, and FDA can no longer justify the use of our limited food safety resources for issuance of EU Export Certificates. The implementation of this guidance should free up resources that the agency can allocate for higher priority public health activities that are intended to protect the U.S. consuming public, while still providing a mechanism for the industry to continue obtaining EU certification. Seafood processors and other entities involved in the exporting of seafood to the EU may obtain EU Export Certificates from the NOAA SIP.

FDA is issuing this guidance document as a level 1 guidance consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). This guidance represents FDA's current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA, NOAA SIP, or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.

II. Comments

Interested persons may submit to the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) written or electronic comments regarding this document. Submit a single copy of electronic comments or two paper copies of any mailed comments, except that individuals may submit one paper copy. Comments are to be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document. The guidance and received comments may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Please note that on January 15, 2008, the FDA Division of Dockets Management Web site transitioned to the Federal Dockets Management System (FDMS). FDMS is a Government-wide, electronic docket management system. Electronic comments or submissions will be accepted by FDA only through FDMS at http://www.regulations.gov.

III. Electronic Access

Persons with access to the Internet may obtain the guidance document at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/​guidance.html.

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Dated: January 9, 2009.

Jeffrey Shuren,

Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning.

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[FR Doc. E9-785 Filed 1-14-09; 8:45 am]

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