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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Preparing a Claim of Categorical Exclusion or an Environmental Assessment for Submission to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

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Food and Drug Administration, HHS.




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.


Fax written comments on the collection of information by October 28, 2010.


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: 202-395-7285, or emailed to All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0541. Also include the FDA docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

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Denver Presley Jr., Office of Information Management, Food and Drug Administration, 1350 Piccard Dr., PI50-400B, Rockville, MD 20850, 301-796-3793.

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

Preparing a Claim of Categorical Exclusion or an Environmental Assessment for Submission to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (OMB Control Number 0910-0541)—Extension

As an integral part of its decisionmaking process, FDA is obligated under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) to consider the environmental impact of its actions, including allowing notifications for food contact substances to become effective and approving food additive petitions, color additive petitions and GRAS petition requests for exemption from regulation as a food additive, and actions on certain food labeling citizen petitions, nutrient content claims petitions, and health claims petitions. In 1997, FDA amended its regulations in part 25 (21 CFR part 25) to provide for categorical exclusions for additional classes of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment (62 FR 40570, July 29, 1997). As a result of that rulemaking, FDA no longer routinely requires submission of information about the manufacturing and production of FDA-regulated articles. FDA also has eliminated the previously required Environmental Assessment (EA) and abbreviated EA formats from the amended regulations. Instead, FDA has provided guidance that contains sample formats to help industry submit a claim of categorical exclusion or an EA to FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). The guidance document entitled “Preparing a Claim of Categorical Exclusion or an Environmental Assessment for Submission to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition” identifies, interprets, and clarifies existing requirements imposed by statute and regulation, consistent with the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1507.3). It consists of recommendations that do not themselves create requirements; rather, they are explanatory guidance for FDA's own procedures in order to ensure full compliance with the purposes and provisions of NEPA.

The guidance provides information to assist in the preparation of claims of categorical exclusion and EAs for submission to CFSAN. The following Start Printed Page 59723questions are covered in this guidance: (1) What types of industry-initiated actions are subject to a claim of categorical exclusion? (2) what must a claim of categorical exclusion include by regulation? (3) what is an EA? (4) when is an EA required by regulation and what format should be used? (5) what are extraordinary circumstances? and (6) what suggestions does CFSAN have for preparing an EA? Although CFSAN encourages industry to use the EA formats described in the guidance because standardized documentation submitted by industry increases the efficiency of the review process, alternative approaches may be used if these approaches satisfy the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. FDA is requesting the extension of OMB approval for the information collection provisions in the guidance. The likely respondents include businesses engaged in the manufacture or sale of food, food ingredients, and substances used in materials that come into contact with food.

In the Federal Register of July 21, 2010 (75 FR 42446), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the proposed collection of information. In response, the agency received one comment that was not responsive to the comment request on the information collection provisions.

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

Table 1.—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden1

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

The estimates for respondents and numbers of responses are based on the annualized numbers of petitions and notifications qualifying for § 25.32(i) and (q) that the agency has received in the past 3 years. Please note that, in the past 3 years, there have been no submissions that requested an action that would have been subject to the categorical exclusion in § 25.32(o). To avoid counting this burden as zero, FDA has estimated the burden for this categorical exclusion at one respondent making one submission a year for a total of one annual submission.

To calculate the estimate for the hours per response values, we assumed that the information requested in this guidance for each of these three categorical exclusions is readily available to the submitter. For the information requested for the exclusion in § 25.32(i), we expect that the submitter will need to gather information from appropriate persons in the submitter's company and to prepare this information for attachment to the claim for categorical exclusion. We believe that this effort should take no longer than 1 hour per submission. For the information requested for the exclusions in § 25.32(o) and (q), the submitters will almost always merely need to copy existing documentation and attach it to the claim for categorical exclusion. We believe that collecting this information should also take no longer than 1 hour per submission.

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Dated: September 23, 2010.

Leslie Kux,

Acting Assistant Commissioner for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2010-24272 Filed 9-27-10; 8:45 am]