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USDA/FSIS RIN: 0583-AD39 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: ●Electronic Foreign Import Certificates and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Requirements for Official Import Establishments 
Abstract: FSIS is proposing to amend meat, poultry, and egg products regulations to provide for the electronic submission of import product and establishment applications and certificates and delete the “streamlined” inspection procedures for Canadian product. In addition, FSIS is amending its regulations to require Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs) in official import inspection establishments. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 9 CFR 304.3; 9 CFR 327.2, 327.4, ; 9 CFR 381.196, 391.197, 381.198; 9 CFR 590.915, 590.920 
Legal Authority: Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601-695), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451-470); Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA)(21 U.S.C. 1031-1056) 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: FSIS is proposing these regulations to provide for the electronic submission of import product and establishment certificates to allow the electronic interchange and transmission of data to Agency’s computer-based Public Health Information System (PHIS), which is currently under development. Providing an electronic format for imported certificates will enable the government-to-government exchange of data between FSIS and foreign customs and inspection authorities. Sanitation SOPs are written procedures that are developed and implemented by establishments to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of meat or poultry products. Sanitation SOPs are required at official (domestic) establishments. Current regulations are ambiguous concerning Sanitation SOP requirements for official import inspection establishments. FSIS is proposing to require that official import inspection establishments comply with the Sanitation SOPs regulations to eliminate that ambiguity and ensure that products do not become contaminated as they enter this country.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The authorities for this proposed rule are: the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601-695), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451-470), Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA)(21 U.S.C. 1031-1056) and the regulations that implement these Acts.

Alternatives: The electronic processing of import certifications is voluntary, therefore, importers still have the option of using the current paper-based system. The Agency is proposing to require that official import inspection establishments adopt Sanitation SOPs to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of product. Therefore, no alternatives were considered.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The opportunity cost of not amending the regulations would hinder the Agency’s implementation of PHIS. The amendments that provide for the electronic interchange of data are voluntary, so establishments will not take them on unless the benefits outweigh the costs. It has been the Agency’s expectation that official import establishments will maintain Sanitation SOPs, this proposed rule codifies that expectation. Therefore, the proposed amendment on sanitation requirements will have no costs to the industry. The proposed rule will facilitate FSIS’s use of the PHIS system, enabling the electronic transmission, issuance, and authorization of imported product data. The PHIS will enable FSIS import inspection personnel to verify and authorize shipments using electronic data, reducing inspector workload. The electronic exchange of certificate data will help to reduce the fraudulent alteration or reproduction of certificates. The Agency estimates that the electronic processing of import certificates will reduce the data-entry time for import inspectors, by 50 to 60 percent.

Risks: None

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/00/2010   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Clark Danford
Director, International Policy Division, Office of Policy and Program Development
Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 720-9824

 
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