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Notice

Draft Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Tomatoes; Availability

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance entitled “Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Tomatoes.” This guidance is intended to cover the entire tomato supply chain, both domestic firms and foreign firms exporting tomatoes into the United States, to enhance the safety of tomatoes by recommending practices to minimize microbial food safety hazards and to prevent microbial contamination. This draft guidance, when finalized, will supplement existing FDA guidances, including the 1998 “Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,” which applies to fresh produce commodities, and the 2008 “Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables,” which applies to fresh-cut produce.

DATES:

Although you can comment on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)), to ensure that the agency considers your comment on this draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit written or electronic comments on the draft guidance by October 2, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written requests for single copies of the draft guidance to the Office of Food Safety (HFS-317), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your request, or fax your request to 301-436-2651. Submit written comments on the draft guidance to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the draft guidance.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michelle A. Smith, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-317), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 301-436-2024.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

FDA is announcing the availability of a draft guidance entitled “Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Tomatoes.” This draft guidance covers the growing, Start Printed Page 38439harvesting, packing, processing, and distribution of tomatoes, along with retail and food service preparation. Such tomatoes may be grown and harvested either from an open field or a greenhouse; they may be packed or repacked either for the fresh market or for “fresh-cut/value-added processing” (i.e., minimally processed, such as by slicing or dicing, and then bagged or prepackaged); and then shipped either to food service operations or retail establishments where they are offered for sale to the consumer. The use of the term “tomatoes” in this document includes raw agricultural commodities and fresh-cut/value-added products. This draft guidance is based primarily on tomato industry guidelines issued in July 2008 (Ref. 1), along with agency experience and information from other recent public and private programs.

FDA is issuing this draft guidance as Level 1 draft guidance consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The draft guidance, when finalized, will represent the agency's current thinking on the microbiological hazards that may result in contamination of fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes and the recommended control measures for such hazards in the growing, harvesting, packing, processing, and distribution of tomatoes, along with retail and food service preparation. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.

II. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (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 publish notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comment on each proposed collection of information before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA will publish a 60-day notice on the proposed collection of information in a future issue of the Federal Register.

III. 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 draft guidance and received comments may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

IV. Electronic Access

Persons with access to the Internet may obtain the draft guidance at either http://www.fda.gov/​FoodGuidances or http://www.regulations.gov.

V. References

The following reference has been placed on display in the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852 and may be seen by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

1. North American Tomato Trade Workgroup and United Fresh Produce Association. “Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain.” 2d ed., July 2008. Accessed online at http://www.fda.gov/​Food/​FoodSafety/​Product-SpecificInformation/​FruitsVegetablesJuices/​GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/​ucm171695.htm.

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Dated: July 28, 2009.

Jeffrey Shuren,

Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning.

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[FR Doc. E9-18453 Filed 7-31-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4160-01-S