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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Food Allergen Labeling and Reporting

This document has a comment period that ends in 26 days. (12/28/2020) Submit a formal comment

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is Start Printed Page 68334announcing 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 information collection provisions of the labeling requirements for major food allergens in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the information collection provisions of the guidance entitled “Guidance for Industry: Food Allergen Labeling Exemption Petitions and Notifications.”

DATES:

Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by December 28, 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 December 28, 2020. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time at the end of December 28, 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:

  • 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-2014-N-1030 for “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Food Allergen Labeling and Reporting.” 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.Start Printed Page 68335

Food Allergen Labeling and Reporting

OMB Control Number 0910-0792—Extension

This information collection supports the reporting associated with the submission of petitions and notifications seeking exemptions from the labeling requirements for ingredients derived from major food allergens, and the Agency's associated guidance document.

I. Background

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) (Title II, Pub. L. 108-282) amended the FD&C Act by defining the term “major food allergen” and stating that foods regulated under the FD&C Act are misbranded unless they declare the presence of each major food allergen on the product label using the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived. Section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 343(w)(1)) sets forth the requirements for declaring the presence of each major food allergen on the product label. Section 201(qq) of the FD&C Act ((21 U.S.C. 321(qq)) defines a major food allergen as “[m]ilk, egg, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans” and also as a food ingredient that contains protein derived from such foods. The definition excludes any highly refined oil derived from a major food allergen and any ingredient derived from such highly refined oil.

In some cases, the production of an ingredient derived from a major food allergen may alter or eliminate the allergenic proteins in that derived ingredient to such an extent that it does not contain allergenic protein. In addition, a major food allergen may be used as an ingredient or as a component of an ingredient such that the level of allergenic protein in finished food products does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health. Therefore, FALCPA provides two mechanisms through which such ingredients may become exempt from the labeling requirement of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act. An ingredient may obtain an exemption through submission and approval of a petition containing scientific evidence that demonstrates that the ingredient “does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health” (section 403(w)(6) of the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 343(w)(6). Alternately, an ingredient may become exempt through submission of a notification containing scientific evidence showing that the ingredient “does not contain allergenic protein” or that there has been a previous determination through a premarket approval process under section 409 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 348) that the ingredient “does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health” (section 403(w)(7) of the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 343(w)(7)).

A. Third-Party Disclosure

The labeling requirements of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act apply to all packaged foods sold in the United States that are regulated under the FD&C Act, including both domestically manufactured and imported foods. As noted, section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act requires that the label of a food product declare the presence of each major food allergen. We estimate the information collection burden of the third-party disclosure associated with food allergen labeling under section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act as the time needed for a manufacturer to review the labels of new or reformulated products for compliance with the requirements of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act and the time needed to make any needed modifications to the labels of those products. The allergen information disclosed on the label or labeling of a food product benefits consumers who purchase that food product. Because even small exposure to a food allergen can potentially cause an adverse reaction, consumers use food labeling information to help determine their product choices.

Description of Respondents: The respondents to this collection of information are manufacturers and packers of packaged foods sold in the United States that declare the presence of a major food allergen on the product label. In terms of reporting, the respondents are manufacturers and packers of packaged foods sold in the United States that seek an exemption from the labeling requirements of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act.

We estimate the third-party disclosure burden of the collection of information as follows:

Table 1—Estimated Annual Third-Party Disclosure Burden 1

FD&C section; activityNumber of respondentsNumber of disclosures per respondentTotal annual disclosuresAverage burden per disclosureTotal hours
403(w)(1); review labels for compliance with food allergen labeling requirements77,500177,500177,500
403(w)(1); redesign labels to comply with food allergen labeling requirements1111616
Total77,516
1 There are no 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 are decreasing our burden estimate for the redesign of labels. FALCPA was enacted in 2004, and we issued associated Agency guidance in 2015. Firms have had substantial time to redesign their labels for compliance with section 403(w) of the FD&C Act. We do not anticipate any firms needing to redesign their label to come into compliance with section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act. Thus, we are decreasing the number of respondents redesigning their label from 3,875 to 1 and the number of hours from 62,000 to 16. We estimate one respondent for the purpose of maintaining this information collection provision.

B. Reporting

Under sections 403(w)(6) and (7) of the FD&C Act, respondents may request from us a determination that an ingredient is exempt from the labeling requirement of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act. An ingredient may obtain an exemption through submission and approval of a petition containing scientific evidence that demonstrates that the ingredient “does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health” (section 403(w)(6) of the FD&C Act). This section also states that “the burden shall be on the petitioner to provide scientific evidence (including Start Printed Page 68336the analytical method used to produce the evidence) that demonstrates that such food ingredient, as derived by the method specified in the petition, does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health.” Alternately, an ingredient may become exempt through submission of a notification containing scientific evidence showing that the ingredient “does not contain allergenic protein” or that there has been a previous determination through a premarket approval process under section 409 of the FD&C Act that the ingredient “does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health” (section 403(w)(7) of the FD&C Act).

We issued a guidance document entitled “Guidance for Industry: Food Allergen Labeling Exemption Petitions and Notifications,” which is available on our website at https://www.fda.gov/​regulatory-information/​search-fda-guidance-documents/​guidance-industry-food-allergen-labeling-exemption-petitions-and-notifications. The guidance sets forth our recommendations with regard to the information that respondents should submit in such a petition or notification. The guidance states that to evaluate these petitions and notifications, we will consider scientific evidence that describes: (1) The identity or composition of the ingredient; (2) the methods used to produce the ingredient; (3) the methods used to characterize the ingredient; (4) the intended use of the ingredient in food; and (5) either (a) for a petition, data and information, including the expected level of consumer exposure to the ingredient, that demonstrate that the ingredient, when manufactured and used as described, does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health; or (b) for a notification, data and information that demonstrate that the ingredient, when manufactured as described, does not contain allergenic protein, or documentation of a previous determination under a process under section 409 of the FD&C Act that the ingredient does not cause an allergic response that poses a risk to human health. We use the information submitted in the petition or notification to determine whether the ingredient satisfies the criteria of section 403(w)(6) and (7) of the FD&C Act for granting the exemption.

We estimate the reporting burden associated with the collection of information as follows:

Table 2—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1

FD&C section; activityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesAverage burden per responseTotal hours
403(w)(6); petition for exemption515100500
403(w)(7); notification51568340
Total840
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
Start Signature

Dated: October 22, 2020.

Lauren K. Roth,

Acting Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-23846 Filed 10-27-20; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4164-01-P