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Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is establishing January 1, 2022, as the uniform compliance date for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations that will be issued between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020. FSIS periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations to minimize the economic impact of label changes.

DATES:

This rule is effective December 7, 2018. Comments on this final rule must be received on or before January 7, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this final rule. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.
  • Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
  • Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2018-0049. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov. Start Printed Page 63053

Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, call (202)720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, Director, Labeling and Program Delivery Staff, Office of Policy and Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Telephone: 301-504-0879.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On December 14, 2004, FSIS issued a final rule establishing January 1, 2008, as the uniform compliance date for new meat and poultry labeling regulations issued between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2006. The 2004 final rule also provided that the Agency would set uniform compliance dates for new labeling regulations in 2-year increments and periodically issue final rules announcing those dates. Consistent with the 2004 final rule, the Agency has since published six rules establishing the uniform compliance dates of January 1, 2010, January 1, 2012, January 1, 2014, January 1, 2016, January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2020 (72 FR 9651, 73 FR 75564, 75 FR 71344, 77 FR 76824, 79 FR 71007 and 81 FR 91670).

The Final Rule

The new uniform compliance date will apply only to final FSIS regulations that require changes in the labeling of meat and poultry products and that are published after January 1, 2019, and before December 31, 2020. For each final rule that requires changes in labeling, FSIS will specifically identify January 1, 2022, as the compliance date. All meat and poultry food products that are subject to labeling regulations issued between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020, will be required to comply with these regulations on products introduced into commerce on or after January 1, 2022. If any food labeling regulation involves special circumstances that justify a compliance date other than January 1, 2022, the Agency will determine an appropriate compliance date and will publish that compliance date in the rulemaking.

Two-year increments increase industry's ability to make orderly adjustments to new labeling requirements without exposing consumers to outdated labels. This approach allows meat and poultry producers to plan for the use of label inventories and to develop new labeling materials that meet the new requirements. It also serves to reduce the economic impact of changing labels on both producers and consumers.

In the May 4, 2004, proposed rule on uniform compliance dates for labeling requirements, FSIS provided notice and solicited comment (69 FR 24539). In the March 5, 2007, final rule, FSIS received only four comments in response to the proposal, all in support. In the March 5, 2007, final rule, FSIS determined that further rulemaking for uniform compliance dates for labeling requirements is unnecessary (72 FR 9651). The Agency received no comments on the 2007 final rule, the comments FSIS received on the 2012 final rule were outside the scope (77 FR 76824), and FSIS received no comments on the 2014 final rule (79 FR 71007) or the 2016 final rule (81 FR 91670). Consistent with its statement in 2007, FSIS finds that further rulemaking on this matter is unnecessary. However, FSIS is providing an opportunity for comment on the uniform compliance date established in this final rule.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety benefits, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This final rule has been designated as a “non-significant” regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866. Accordingly, the final rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866.

This rule does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities; consequently, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required (5 U.S.C. 601-612).

Additional Public Information

Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication online through the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​federal-register.

FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Constituent Update is available on the FSIS web page. Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service, which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/​sites/​default/​files/​docs/​2012/​Complain_​combined_​6_​8_​12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.

Fax: (202) 690-7442.

Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Start Signature

Done at Washington, DC.

Paul Kiecker,

Acting Administrator.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-26526 Filed 12-6-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P