Skip to Content

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We’ve made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the 'Help' button on the bottom right of each page!

Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Voluntary Qualified Importer Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Document Statistics
Document page views are updated periodically throughout the day and are cumulative counts for this document including its time on Public Inspection. Counts are subject to sampling, reprocessing and revision (up or down) throughout the day.
Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

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

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on FDA's Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP).

DATES:

Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by April 6, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments as follows. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before April 6, 2020. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time at the end of April 6, 2020. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before that date.

Electronic Submissions

Submit electronic comments in the following way:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.
  • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

Written/Paper Submissions

Submit written/paper submissions as follows:Start Printed Page 6557

  • Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
  • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0144 for “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; FDA's Voluntary Qualified Importer Program.” Received comments, those filed in a timely manner (see ADDRESSES), will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.govinfo.gov/​content/​pkg/​FR-2015-09-18/​pdf/​2015-23389.pdf.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Domini Bean, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, Three White Flint North, 10A-12M, 11601 Landsdown St., North Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-796-5733, PRAStaff@fda.hhs.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521), 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 provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; FDA's Voluntary Qualified Importer Program OMB Control Number 0910-0840—Extension.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) (Pub. L. 111-353) enables FDA to better protect public health by helping to ensure the safety and security of the food supply. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur. FSMA recognizes the important role industry plays in ensuring the safety of the food supply, including the adoption of modern systems of preventive controls in food production. Under FSMA, those that import food have a responsibility to ensure that their suppliers produce food that meets U.S. safety standards.

FSMA also requires FDA to establish a voluntary, fee-based program for the expedited review and importation of foods by importers who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains. This control includes importation of food from facilities that have been certified under FDA's accredited third-party certification program, as well as other measures that support a high level of confidence in the safety and security of the food they import. Expedited entry incentivizes importers to adopt a robust system of supply chain management and further benefits public health by allowing FDA to focus its resources on food entries that pose a higher risk to public health.

Section 302 of FSMA amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) by adding new section 806, Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (21 U.S.C. 384b). Section 806(a)(1) of the FD&C Act directs FDA to establish this voluntary program for the expedited review and importation of food, and to establish a process for the issuance of a facility certification to accompany food offered for importation by importers participating in VQIP. Section 806(a)(2) directs FDA to issue a guidance document related to participation in, revocation of such participation in, reinstatement in, and compliance with VQIP. Accordingly, in the Federal Register of November 14, 2016 (81 FR 79502), FDA published a notice announcing the availability of a final guidance for industry entitled “FDA's Voluntary Qualified Importer Program.” The guidance is available from our website at: https://www.fda.gov/​regulatory-information/​search-fda-guidance-documents/​guidance-industry-fdas-voluntary-qualified-importer-program.

FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:Start Printed Page 6558

Table 1—One-Time Recordkeeping Burden 1

Information collection activityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesAverage burden per responseTotal hours
Quality Assurance Program (QAP) preparation200120016032,000
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

Based on a review of the information collection since our last request for OMB approval, we have made no adjustments to our one-time recordkeeping burden estimate. On average, the preparation of a QAP by a VQIP applicant is estimated at approximately 160 hours (110 + 40 + 10). In estimation of the one-time recordkeeping burden to prepare a QAP manual, we assume that VQIP importers do not already have a similar manual in place (e.g., food safety plan under the Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (21 CFR part 117); food defense plan under the Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration regulation (IA regulation) (21 CFR part 121)). We continue to use the recordkeeping burden of preparing a food safety plan under part 117, 110 hours, as a proxy for the burden to prepare QAP Food Safety Policies and Procedures. We continue to estimate that, on average, it would take 40 hours for an applicant to prepare the food defense portion of the VQIP QAP, similar to the estimated burden for preparing a food defense plan under the IA regulation. We also continue to estimate it will take a VQIP applicant no longer than 10 hours to develop the portion of its QAP that includes compiling its company profile, organizational structure, corporate quality policy statement, documentation of contracts, and procedures for record retention. Therefore, the one-time recordkeeping burden for 200 VQIP applicants to prepare QAPs is estimated at 32,000 hours (200 applicants × 160 hours/applicant) (see table 1). To the extent that some importers do have QAP manuals in place, the burden would be overestimated.

Table 2—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden 1

Information collection activityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesAverage burden per responseTotal hours
QAP Modification2001200163,200
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

A VQIP importer is expected to update its QAP on an ongoing basis. Based on a review of the information collection since our last request for OMB approval, we have made no adjustments to our annual recordkeeping burden estimate. We estimate it would take 10 percent of the effort to prepare the QAP, or 16 hours, to update the QAP each year. Therefore, we estimate the annual recordkeeping burden of modification of the QAP for 200 VQIP importers at 3,200 hours (200 importers × 16 hours/importer).

Table 3—Estimated One-Time Reporting Burden 1

Information collection activityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesAverage burden per responseTotal hours
Initial VQIP application1001100808,000
Initial VQIP application w/additional information100110010010,000
Total18,000
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

The guidance informs food importers of application procedures for VQIP. Based on a review of the information collection since our last request for OMB approval, we have made no adjustments to our one-time reporting burden estimate. As we are still in the process of implementing this program, we continue to estimate that up to 200 qualified importers will be accepted in the upcoming year of VQIP. We estimate that it will take 80 person-hours to compile all the relevant information and complete the application for the VQIP program. For the purpose of this analysis, we assume that 50 percent of all applications received will require additional information and it would take an additional 20 person-hours by the importer to provide that information. Therefore, we estimate that 100 importers will spend 8,000 hours (80 hours/importer × 100 importers) and 100 importers will spend 10,000 hours (100 hours/importer × 100 importers) to submit their initial VQIP applications for a total one-time reporting burden of 18,000 hours (see table 3).Start Printed Page 6559

Table 4—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1

Information collection activityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesAverage burden per responseTotal hours
Subsequent Year VQIP Application2001200204,000
Request to Reinstate Participation2121020
Total4,020
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

The guidance states that each VQIP participant will submit to FDA a notice of intent to participate in VQIP on an annual basis. Based on a review of the information collection since our last request for OMB approval, we have made no adjustments to our annual reporting burden estimate. We expect that each of the expected 200 importers in VQIP would apply in the subsequent year to participate in VQIP. We expect that an application to participate in VQIP in a subsequent year will take significantly less time to prepare than the initial application. We use 25 percent of the amount of effort to prepare and submit the initial application for acceptance in VQIP. Therefore, it is expected that, on average, each VQIP importer will spend 20 hours to complete and submit a VQIP application for each subsequent year. The annual burden of completing a subsequent year application to participate in VQIP status by 200 importers is estimated at 4,000 hours (200 applications × 20 hours/application) (see table 4).

Finally, we have added to the VQIP estimated annual reporting burden an estimate of the burden associated with importers' requests to reinstate participation in VQIP after their participation is revoked. We believe most participants will not need to use this provision, and we have included an estimate that reflects this. Upon implementation of the VQIP, we will reevaluate our estimate for future OMB submission and revise it accordingly.

Start Signature

Dated: January 29, 2020.

Lowell J. Schiller,

Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-02248 Filed 2-4-20; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4164-01-P