[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 203 (Thursday, October 22, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54493-54494]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-25522]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 321, 332, and 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2008-0039]
RIN 0583-AD37

Cooperative Inspection Programs: Interstate Shipment of Meat and 
Poultry Products

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meetings.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that it will hold two public meetings on proposed regulations that it 
recently published to implement a new voluntary cooperative program 
under which State-inspected establishments with 25 or fewer employees 
will be eligible to ship meat and poultry products in interstate 
commerce (74 FR 47648, September 16, 2009). To provide stakeholders 
with ready access to the public meetings, FSIS will conduct these 
meetings by teleconference. This notice provides information on the 
public meetings.

DATES: The teleconferences will be held on October 27, 2009, from 12:30 
p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, and on November 5, 2009, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 
p.m. EST.

    Registration: Pre-registration for these meetings is required. To 
pre-register, access the FSIS Web site, at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/. Call-in information will be provided via e-
mail to pre-registered participants. We are also asking that anyone 
interested in making a public comment during the

[[Page 54494]]

teleconference indicate so on the registration form.
    Public Comment: In addition to these teleconferences, interested 
persons may submit comments on the proposed rule on or before November 
16, 2009, using either of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments.
    Mail, including floppy disks or CD-ROMs, and hand- or courier-
delivered items: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 2-2127 George Washington 
Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, MAILSTOP 
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2008-0039. 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.
    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go 
to the FSIS Docket Room at the address listed above between 8:30 a.m. 
and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information: contact 
Philip Derfler, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program 
Development, at (202) 720-2709, or by fax at (202) 720-2025.
    For teleconference information: contact Sharon Randle, Public 
Affairs Specialist, Congressional and Public Affairs Office, by 
telephone at (202) 720-6755, or by e-mail to 
[email protected].


I. Background

    On September 16, 2009, FSIS published a proposed rule to implement 
a new voluntary cooperative program under which State-inspected 
establishments with 25 or fewer employees will be eligible to ship meat 
and poultry products in interstate commerce. In participating States, 
State-inspected establishments that are selected, to take part in this 
program will be required to comply with all Federal standards under the 
Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection 
Act (PPIA), as well as with all State standards. Establishments 
selected for the proposed interstate shipment program will receive 
inspection services from State inspection personnel that have been 
trained in the enforcement of the FMIA and PPIA. Meat and poultry 
products produced under the program that have been inspected and passed 
by designated State personnel will bear an official Federal mark of 
inspection and will be permitted to be distributed in interstate 
commerce. FSIS will provide oversight and enforcement of the program. 
Section 11015 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act, enacted on 
June 18, 2008, (the 2008 Farm Bill), amended the FMIA and PPIA to 
provide for these cooperative programs.
    State participation in the proposed cooperative interstate shipment 
program will be limited to States that have cooperative State meat or 
poultry inspection programs under which products are produced for 
distributed solely within the State. Under the existing cooperative 
inspection programs, States enforce inspection and sanitation 
requirements that must be ``at least equal to'' those in the FMIA and 
the PPIA. Twenty-seven states have cooperative agreements to administer 
these meat or poultry products inspection programs. These States 
inspect about 1,900 small and very small establishments.
    Under the proposed regulations, establishments will apply for the 
new program through the States. FSIS will coordinate with States to 
select establishments to participate in the program. The proposed 
interstate shipment program is intended to supplement, not replace, the 
existing cooperative State inspection programs.

II. Purpose of the Meeting and Agenda

    To provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the 
proposed rule, FSIS will hold two public meetings by teleconference. 
The first meeting will be held on October 27, 2009, and the second will 
be held on November 5, 2009. The teleconference format is being used to 
provide individuals with easier access to the meeting, particularly 
those who may lack the resources or time to attend a meeting in person. 
The teleconference format is also economically beneficial to all 
stakeholders. Interested persons are encouraged to join the 
teleconference at or near the start time. FSIS may end the 
teleconference early if participants are no longer calling in to make 
comments. The agenda and other documents related to the meetings will 
be made available for viewing prior to the meeting at FSIS: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/.

III. Transcripts

    As soon as the meeting transcripts are available, they will be 
accessible at http://www.regulations.gov. The transcripts may be viewed 
at FSIS Docket Room, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and 
Inspection Service, Room 2-2127 George Washington Carver Center, 5601 
Sunnyside Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that the 
public and in particular minorities, women, and persons with 
disabilities, are aware of this notice, FSIS will announce it on-line 
through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/2009_Notices_Index/. FSIS also will make copies of this 
Federal Register 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 Update is 
communicated via Listserv, a free e-mail subscription service delivered 
to industry, trade, and farm groups, consumer interest groups, allied 
health professionals, scientific professionals, and other individuals 
who have requested to be included. The Update also is available on the 
FSIS Web page. Through Listserv and the Web page, FSIS is able to 
provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience.
    In addition, FSIS offers an e-mail 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/news_and_events/email_subscription/. Options range from recalls, 
export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can 
add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password 
protect their accounts.

    Done at Washington, DC, on October 20, 2009.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator, FSIS.
[FR Doc. E9-25522 Filed 10-20-09; 4:15 pm]