Public Meetings on the Proposed Rule for Mandatory Inspection of
Catfish and Catfish Products
May 6, 2011
AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of public meetings; request for comment.
SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is
announcing that it will hold two public meetings to receive comments on the proposed regulation to implement a program for
mandatory inspection of catfish and catfish products (Docket No.
FSIS-2008-0031), published February 24, 2011 in the Federal
DATES: The first meeting will be held in Washington, DC, on May
24, 2011; 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT, in the USDA Jefferson
Auditorium (South Building), 1400 Independence Avenue SW.,
Washington, DC 20250. Attendees must provide a photo ID to
enter the building. The Jefferson Auditorium is located at Wing
6 in the South Building. Attendees should enter the building
via Wing 5 or 7 on 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW.
The second meeting will be held in Stoneville, Mississippi,
on May 26, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the Charles Capp Center
at the Delta Research and Extension Center of the Mississippi
State University. The Charles Capp Center is located at 82
Stoneville Road, Stoneville, MS 38776. The telephone contact
number is (662) 686-3442.
Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time at each
Meeting times may be adjusted according to public
participation and comments.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joan Lindenberger, Office of
Public Affairs and Consumer Education, (202) 720-6755, or by email
REGISTRATION: Pre-registration for this meeting is recommended.
To pre-register, access the FSIS website, at
www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/. Select the
meeting(s) you wish to attend and complete the registration form
as requested. Persons requiring a sign language interpreter or
other special accommodations should notify Ms. Lindenberger 15
business days prior to the meeting.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Anyone wishing to make a public comment must
indicate that preference during the registration process. In
addition to these meetings, interested persons may submit
comments on the proposed rule (76 FR 10434) on or before June
24, 2011, using either of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to
www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions at
that site for submitting comments.
Mail, including 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, Mailstop 5272,
Beltsville, MD 20705-5272.
Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail
must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS- 2008-0031.
Comments received in response to this docket will be made
available for public inspection and posted without change,
including any personal information, to:
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.
U.S. catfish processors, exporters, and importers are
currently subject to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s
(FDA’s) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
regulations for seafood (9 CFR part 123), including catfish, and
to other requirements under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C)
Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.). The National Marine Fisheries
Service conducts voluntary, fee-for-service inspection and
certification programs for catfish under provisions of the
Agricultural Marketing Act (7 U.S.C. 1622, 1624) and regulations
implementing that Act (50 CFR part 260).
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L.
110-246, §10016(b)), known as the 2008 Farm Bill, amended the
Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) to provide that “catfish, as
defined by the Secretary,” is a species amenable to the FMIA (21
U.S.C. 601 (w)(2)) and amended the FMIA in other ways to provide
for catfish inspection. FSIS, the Agency that administers the
FMIA, has proposed regulations to implement the Farm Bill
amendments of the FMIA that require inspection of catfish and
catfish products. The proposed regulations cover such subjects
as preharvest and transportation, facilities and sanitation,
requirements for Sanitation Standard Operation Procedures and
HACCP plans, handling and disposal of condemned and inedible
materials, product labeling, food ingredients and preparation of
products, records required to be kept, and export and import
Under the proposed regulations, catfish and catfish
products imported into the United States would have to come from
countries that FSIS has determined to operate systems of
inspection equivalent to that of FSIS and from establishments
certified by the foreign inspection system as complying with
FSIS requirements. Upon arrival at United States points of
entry, the catfish and catfish products would be subject to
re-inspection before entry into this country.
The proposed rule provides for a transition period during
which domestic and international operations would come into
compliance with the catfish inspection program. Comments are
requested regarding the transition phases and their duration.
FSIS plans to announce in the final rule the implementation
dates for each transition phase.
In addition, FSIS is soliciting comments on the scope of
the proposed regulations and, in particular, whether to define
catfish as members of the order Siluriformes or to limit the
definition to members of the family Ictaluridae.
II. PURPOSE OF THE MEETING AND AGENDA
The purpose of the public meeting is to provide the public
with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule. Meeting
times at each location may be adjusted according to public
participation and comments.
The agenda and other documents related to the meetings
will be made available for viewing prior to the meeting at the
FSIS Web site: www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/.
The proposed rule is available at:
www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2008-0031.pdf . The
preliminary regulatory impact analysis, the risk assessment,
reports on analysis of catfish samples for residues, and links
to other documents are can be found at:
As soon as the meeting transcripts are available, they
will be accessible on the FSIS Web site at
transcripts may also be viewed at the 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.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and
activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender,
religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual
orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited
bases apply to all programs.)
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means
for communication of program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at (202)
720-2600 (voice and TTY).
To file a written complaint of discrimination, write USDA,
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity
provider and employer.
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 online through the FSIS Web site: www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Federal_Register
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 site. Through Listserv and the Web site, 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
Options range from recalls to export information to 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: May 4, 2011.
Back to 2011 News Page