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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Food Canning Establishment Registration, Process Filing, and Recordkeeping for Acidified Foods and Thermally Processed Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers

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AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) 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 October 30, 2017.

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: 202-395-7285, or emailed to oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0037. Also include the FDA docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ila S. Mizrachi, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, Three White Flint North, 10A-12M, 11601 Landsdown St., North Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-796-7726, PRAStaff@fda.hhs.gov.

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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.

I. Background

Food Canning Establishment Registration, Process Filing, and Recordkeeping for Acidified Foods and Thermally Processed Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers 21 CFR 108.25 and 108.35, and Parts 113 and 114

OMB Control Number 0910-0037—Extension

Section 402 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 342) deems a food to be adulterated, in part, if the food bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance that may render it injurious to health. Section 301(a) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 331(a)) prohibits the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of adulterated food. Under section 404 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 344), our regulations require registration of food processing establishments, filing of process or other data, and maintenance of processing and production records for acidified foods and thermally processed low-acid foods in hermetically sealed containers. These requirements are intended to ensure safe manufacturing, processing, and packing procedures, and to permit us to verify that these procedures are being followed. Improperly processed low-acid foods present life-threatening hazards if contaminated with foodborne microorganisms, especially Clostridium botulinum. The spores of C. botulinum need to be destroyed or inhibited to avoid production of the deadly toxin that causes botulism. This is accomplished with good manufacturing procedures, which must include the use of adequate heat processes or other means of preservation.

To protect the public health, our regulations require that each firm that manufactures, processes, or packs acidified foods or thermally processed low-acid foods in hermetically sealed containers for introduction into interstate commerce register the establishment with us using Form FDA 2541 (§§ 108.25(c)(1) and 108.35(c)(2) (21 CFR 108.25(c)(1) and 108.35(c)(2)). In addition to registering the plant, each firm is required to provide data on the processes used to produce these foods, using Forms FDA 2541d, FDA 2541e, Start Printed Page 45294and FDA 2541f for all methods except aseptic processing, or Form FDA 2541g for aseptic processing of low-acid foods in hermetically sealed containers (§§ 108.25(c)(2) and 108.35(c)(2)). Plant registration and process filing may be accomplished simultaneously. Process data must be filed prior to packing any new product, and operating processes and procedures must be posted near the processing equipment or made available to the operator (21 CFR 113.87(a)).

Regulations in parts 108, 113, and 114 (21 CFR parts 108, 113, and 114) require firms to maintain records showing adherence to the substantive requirements of the regulations. These records must be made available to FDA on request. Firms also must document corrective actions when process controls and procedures do not fall within specified limits (§§ 113.89, 114.89, and 114.100(c)); to report any instance of potential health-endangering spoilage, process deviation, or contamination with microorganisms where any lot of the food has entered distribution in commerce (§§ 108.25(d) and 108.35(d) and (e)); and to develop and keep on file plans for recalling products that may endanger the public health (§§ 108.25(e) and 108.35(f)). To permit lots to be traced after distribution, acidified foods and thermally processed low-acid foods in hermetically sealed containers must be marked with an identifying code (§ 113.60(c)) (thermally processed foods) and § 114.80(b) (acidified foods)).

The records of processing information are periodically reviewed during factory inspections by FDA to verify fulfillment of the requirements in parts 113 or 114. Scheduled thermal processes are examined and reviewed to determine their adequacy to protect public health. In the event of a public health emergency, records are used to pinpoint potentially hazardous foods rapidly and thus limit recall activity to affected lots.

As described in our regulations, processors may obtain the paper versions of Forms FDA 2541, FDA 2541d, FDA 2541e, FDA 2541f, and FDA 2541g by contacting us at a particular address or by visiting https://www.fda.gov/​Food/​GuidanceRegulation/​FoodFacilityRegistration/​AcidifiedLACFRegistration/​ucm2007436.htm. Processors mail completed paper forms to us. However, processors who are subject to § 108.25, § 108.35, or both, have an option to submit Forms FDA 2541, FDA 2541d, FDA 2541e, FDA 2541f, and FDA 2541g electronically (Ref. 1).

Although we encourage commercial processors to use the electronic submission system for plant registration and process filing, we will continue to make paper-based forms available. To standardize the burden associated with process filing, regardless of whether the process filing is submitted electronically or using a paper form, we are offering the public the opportunity to use four forms, each of which pertains to a specific type of commercial processing and is available both on the electronic submission system and as a paper-based form. The electronic submission system and paper-based form “mirror” each other to the extent practicable. The four process filing forms are as follows:

  • Form FDA 2541d (Food Process Filing for Low-Acid Retorted Method) (Ref. 2);
  • Form FDA 2541e (Food Process Filing for Acidified Method) (Ref. 3);
  • Form FDA 2541f (Food Process Filing for Water Activity/Formulation Control Method) (Ref. 4); and
  • Form FDA 2541g (Food Process Filing for Low-Acid Aseptic Systems) (Ref. 5).

At this time, the paper-based versions of the four forms and their instructions are all available for review as references to this document (Refs. 2 through 5) or at https://www.fda.gov/​Food/​GuidanceRegulation/​FoodFacilityRegistration/​AcidifiedLACFRegistration/​ucm2007436.htm.

Description of Respondents: The respondents to this information collection are commercial processors and packers of acidified foods and thermally processed low-acid foods in hermetically sealed containers.

In the Federal Register of June 20, 2017 (82 FR 28069), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the proposed collection of information. While no comments were submitted to the docket, it was noted that the notice included an inadvertent reference to outdated forms. We regret this oversight and have made appropriate corrections in this notice. The forms developed in support of the information collection are intended to minimize burden on respondents while maximizing utility for FDA, and thus we are continuously open to suggestions on how they might be improved.

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

Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1

21 CFR sectionFDA form numberNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesAverage burden per response (minutes)Total hours
§§ 108.25(c)(1) and 108.35(c)(2); Food canning establishment registration254164516450.17 (10)110
§ 108.25(c)(2); Food process filing for acidified method2541e726117,9860.333 (20)2,659
§ 108.35(c)(2); Food process filing for low-acid retorted method2541d336124,0320.333 (20)1,343
§ 108.35(c)(2); Food process filing for water activity/formulation control method2541f3762220.333 (20)74
§ 108.35(c)(2); Food process filing for low-acid aseptic systems2541g42229240.75 (45)693
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§§ 108.25(d) and 108.35(d) and (e); Report of any instance of potential health endangering spoilage, process deviation, or contamination with microorganisms where any lot of the food has entered distribution in commerceN/A11144
Total4,883
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

FDA bases its estimate of the number of respondents in table 1 on registrations, process filings, and reports received over the past 3 years. The hours per response reporting estimates are based on our experience with similar programs and information received from industry. The reporting burden for §§ 108.25(d) and 108.35(d) and (e) is minimal because notification of spoilage, process deviation, or contamination of product in distribution occurs less than once a year. Most firms discover these problems before the product is distributed, and are therefore not required to report the occurrence. We estimate that we will receive one report annually under §§ 108.25(d) and 108.35(d) and (e). The report is expected to take 4 hours per response, for a total of 4 hours.

Table 2—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden 1

21 CFR partNumber of recordkeepersNumber of records per recordkeeperTotal annual recordsAverage burden per recordkeepingTotal hours
108, 113, and 11410,392110,3922502,598,000
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

FDA bases its estimate of 10,392 recordkeepers in table 2 on its records of the number of registered firms, excluding firms that were inactive or out of business, yet still registered. To avoid double-counting, we have not included estimates for §§ 108.25(g), 108.35(c)(2)(ii), and 108.35(h) because they merely cross-reference recordkeeping requirements contained in parts 113 and 114 and have been accounted for in the recordkeeping burden estimate. We estimate that 10,392 firms will expend approximately 250 hours per year to fully satisfy the recordkeeping requirements in parts 108, 113 and 114, for a total of 2,598,000 hours.

Finally, our regulations require that processors mark thermally processed low-acid foods in hermetically sealed containers (§ 113.60(c)) and acidified foods (§ 114.80(b)) with an identifying code to permit lots to be traced after distribution. We seek OMB approval of the third-party disclosure requirements in §§ 113.60(c) and 114.80(b). However, we have not included a separate table to report the estimated burden of these regulations. No burden has been estimated for the third-party disclosure requirements in §§ 113.60(c) and 114.80(b) because the coding process is done as a usual and customary part of normal business activities. Coding is a business practice in foods for liability purposes, inventory control, and process control in the event of a problem. Under 5 CFR 1320.3(b)(2), the time, effort, and financial resources necessary to comply with a collection of information are excluded from the burden estimate if the reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure activities needed to comply are usual and customary because they would occur in the normal course of activities. The burden for this information collection has not changed since the last OMB approval.

II. References

The following references are on display in the Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852, and are available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; they are also available electronically at https://www.regulations.gov/​. FDA has verified the Web site addresses as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

1. FDA 2016. “Guidance for Industry: Submitting Form FDA 2541 (Food Canning Establishment Registration) and Forms FDA 2541d, FDA 2541e, FDA 2541f, and FDA 2541g (Food Process Filing Forms) to FDA in Electronic or Paper Format.” Available at https://www.fda.gov/​Food/​GuidanceRegulation/​GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/​AcidifiedLACF/​ucm309376.htm.

2. Form FDA 2541d. Food Process Filing for Low-Acid Retorted Method. Available at https://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​AboutFDA/​ReportsManualsForms/​Forms/​UCM465591.pdf.

3. Form FDA 2541e. Food Process Filing for Acidified Method. Available at https://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​AboutFDA/​ReportsManualsForms/​Forms/​UCM465593.pdf.

4. Form FDA 2541f. Food Process Filing for Water Activity/Formulation Control Method. Available at https://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​AboutFDA/​ReportsManualsForms/​Forms/​UCM465595.pdf.

5. Form FDA 2541g. Food Process Filing for Low-Acid Aseptic Systems. Available at https://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​AboutFDA/​ReportsManualsForms/​Forms/​UCM465598.pdf.

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Dated: September 22, 2017.

Anna K. Abram,

Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation, and Analysis.

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[FR Doc. 2017-20791 Filed 9-27-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4164-01-P