Classes of Poultry, 50228-50230 [2015-20433]

Download as PDF 50228 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 160 / Wednesday, August 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules Dated: August 13, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator. [FR Doc. 2015–20437 Filed 8–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 381 [Docket No. FSIS–2015–0026] Classes of Poultry Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the definition and standard of identity for the ‘‘roaster’’ or ‘‘roasting chicken’’ poultry class to better reflect the characteristics of ‘‘roaster’’ chickens in the market today. ‘‘Roasters’’ or ‘‘roasting chickens’’ are described in terms of the age and ready-to-cook (RTC) carcass weight of the bird. Genetic changes and management techniques have continued to reduce the grow-out period and increased the RTC weight for this poultry class. Therefore, FSIS is proposing to amend the ‘‘roaster’’ definition to remove the 8week minimum age criterion and increase the RTC carcass weight from 5 pounds to 5.5 pounds. This action is being taken in response to a petition submitted by the National Chicken Council. DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 19, 2015. ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. This Web site provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Mail, including CD–ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8–163A, Washington, DC 20250–3700. Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8–163A, Washington, DC 20250–3700. Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Aug 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 Agency name and docket number FSIS– 2015–0026. 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 Patriot’s Plaza 3, 355 E St. SW., Room 8–136A, Washington, DC between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, Director, FSIS Labeling and Program Delivery Division, Phone: (301) 504–0878, Fax: (202) 245– 4795. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) prohibits the distribution of poultry products that are adulterated or misbranded (21 U.S.C. 458). The PPIA also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to prescribe, among other things, definitions and standards of identity or composition for poultry products whenever the Secretary determines that such action is necessary for the protection of the public (21 U.S.C. 457(b)). Poultry classes were established by USDA to aid in labeling poultry. The classes were based primarily on the age and sex of the bird. FSIS uses poultry class standards to ensure that poultry products are labeled in a truthful and non-misleading manner. On November 3, 2011, FSIS published a final rule to amend the definitions and standards for the U.S. classes of poultry listed in 9 CFR 381.170(a)(1)(76 FR 68058). The 2011 final rule lowered the age definitions for five classes of poultry and removed the word ‘‘usually’’ from the age designation descriptions, so that the age designations are clear and enforceable (76 FR 68058, 68062). In addition to lowering the age definition for the ‘‘roaster’’ class, the final rule also defined a ‘‘roaster’’ based on a ready-tocook (RTC) carcass weight. A ‘‘roaster’’ or ‘‘roasting chicken’’ (hereafter referred to as ‘‘roasters’’) is defined in 9 CFR 381.170(1)(a)(iii) as ‘‘a young chicken (between 8 and 12 weeks of age), of either sex, with a ready-tocook carcass weight of 5 pounds or more, that is tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone cartilage that is somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or fryer.’’ This definition was informed by data collected by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) from the segment of the industry that routinely PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 produces ‘‘roasters,’’ comments received in response to a September 3, 2003, proposed rule to amend the poultry classes (68 FR 55902), and comments received in response to a 2009 supplemental proposed rule in which the Agency re-proposed to amend the ‘‘roaster’’ standard to establish an age range from 8 to 12 weeks and to provide for a RTC carcass weight (74 FR 3337, July 13, 2009). The 2011 final rule became effective on January 1, 2014, the uniform compliance date for FSIS labeling regulations issued between January 1 2011 and December 31, 2012 (75 FR 71344, November 23, 2010). NCC Petition On November 18, 2013—before the January 1, 2014, effective date for the final rule—the National Chicken Council (NCC) submitted a petition requesting that FSIS amend the definition and standard of identity for the ‘‘roaster’’ chicken class to remove the 8-week minimum age requirement and to increase the RTC carcass weight to 5.5 pounds. The petition is available on the FSIS Web site at http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ adf54579-7a18-4ab2-a9b588f1eef65332/Petition-NationalChicken-Council.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. The petition specifically asked FSIS to amend 9 CFR 381.170(a)(1)(iii) to define a ‘‘roaster’’ as a young chicken (less than 12 weeks of age) of either sex, with an RTC carcass weight of 5.5 pounds or more, that is tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone cartilage that may be somewhat less flexible than that of a ‘‘broiler’’ or ‘‘fryer.’’ The petition also requested that FSIS, as necessary, exercise enforcement discretion or stay the effective date of the ‘‘roaster’’ definition scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014. According to the petition, the ‘‘roaster’’ standard established in the 2011 final rule would detract from the orderly and efficient marketing of classes of poultry because companies would be unable to label and market chickens with the RTC weight and other physical attributes of a ‘‘roaster’’ as ‘‘roasters’’ because of the minimum age requirement. The NCC asserted that improvements in breeding and poultry management techniques that have continued since FSIS published the November 2011 final rule have enabled producers to raise chickens with the characteristics of roasters in under 8 weeks. NCC submitted additional data in support of its petition on December 16, E:\FR\FM\19AUP1.SGM 19AUP1 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 160 / Wednesday, August 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules 2013 (available on the FSIS Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/ fsis/topics/regulations/petitions). FSIS, in consultation with USDA’s AMS conducted a preliminary review of the petition and supporting data. From this preliminary review, FSIS and AMS found that data show that producers are raising chickens with a RTC carcass weight of 5 pounds or more with the other physical characteristics of a ‘‘roaster’’ in less than 8 weeks. The data also show that in 2012, the average commercially processed chicken reached a slaughter weight of 5.95 pounds in 47 days. This amount of time is less than the 8-week minimum age for a ‘‘roaster,’’ although the bird’s weight would exceed the 5 pound RTC minimum weight requirement. Thus, the age of these birds falls within the age range for ‘‘broilers’’ (i.e., under 10 weeks), but these birds have the size and other physical attributes of ‘‘roasters.’’ On the basis of these findings, FSIS and AMS agreed on the need to address this gap in the regulations. Therefore, in the December 27, 2013, edition of its Constituent Update newsletter, FSIS announced that it would allow chickens younger than 8 weeks of age to continue to be labeled and marketed as ‘‘roasters’’ after the new poultry class standards go into effect if these birds meet all of the other characteristics of a ‘‘roaster’’ in the standard. That is, they would have to have a RTC carcass weight of 5 pounds or more, be tender-meated, and have soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin that is somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or fryer.1 FSIS also stated that it intended to propose to revise the roaster definition or reaffirm the November 2011 definition (http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/ newsroom/meetings/newsletters/ constituent-updates/archive/2013/ ConstUpdate122713). In July 2014, FSIS, in consultation with AMS, completed its review of the NCC petition. AMS verified that the data that NCC submitted to support the petition are consistent with production data that AMS collected from the poultry industry. After reviewing the available information, FSIS and AMS concluded that the data show that chickens younger than 8 weeks are consistently reaching higher average dressed weights in shorter periods of time, and that there is a trend of increasing growth rate of commercially 1 Before FSIS published the 2011 final rule, the former poultry class standards stated that roasters are ‘‘usually 3 to 5 months’’ but did not prohibit birds younger than 8 weeks from being labeled and marketed as ‘‘roasters.’’). VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:11 Aug 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 processed chickens between 2009 and 2012, supporting the elimination of a minimum age for the ‘‘roaster’’ class. FSIS, in consultation with AMS, also found that the data show that, in those regions of the country where ‘‘roasters’’ are marketed, customers value ‘‘roasters’’ more highly on a pound-perpound basis than they do ‘‘broilers,’’ demonstrating the need to allow birds with the physical characteristics of ‘‘roasters’’ to be accurately labeled as ‘‘roasters.’’ Therefore, on July 23, 2014, FSIS sent a letter to the NCC to inform the organization that FSIS had decided to grant its petition to amend the ‘‘roaster’’ poultry class (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ wps/wcm/connect/d6fba22b-271d-4204adc6-56ab45d7b587/NCC-FSISResponse-72314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES). The Proposed Rule FSIS is proposing to amend the poultry class standards to define a ‘‘roaster’’ or ‘‘roasting chicken’’ as a young chicken (less than 12 weeks of age) of either sex, with a ready-to-cook carcass weight of 5.5 pounds or more, that is tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone cartilage that may be somewhat less flexible than that of a ‘‘broiler’’ or ‘‘fryer.’’ Removing the minimum age and increasing the RTC carcass weight for the ‘‘roaster’’ class, as requested in the petition, would allow birds younger than 8 weeks that have the physical characteristics of a ‘‘roaster’’ to continue to be labeled and marketed as ‘‘roasters.’’ As noted above, FSIS is proposing to increase the RTC carcass weight for ‘‘roasters’’ from 5 to 5.5 pounds, as requested in the petition. However, FSIS is soliciting comments regarding the merit of increasing the minimum RTC carcass weight from 5 pounds to 5.5 pounds and the effect that such an increase may have on small poultry producers. To be of value, the comments must provide a factual basis for or against increasing the weight requirement for ‘‘roasters.’’ Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 This proposed rule has been designated as a ‘‘non-significant’’ regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866. Economic Impact Analysis This rule will not have significant costs because FSIS currently allows birds younger than 8 weeks with the PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 50229 physical attributes of ‘‘roasters’’ to be labeled as ‘‘roasters.’’ 2 The proposed rule would codify present practices and would not impose new requirements on establishments. For consumers, it would ensure that the labels for chickens with the characteristics of ‘‘roaster’’ are truthful and not misleading, and, consequently, consumers will be able to make informed purchase decisions. Regulatory Flexibility Act Assessment The FSIS Administrator has made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities in the United States, as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). FSIS projects that this rule will not result in additional costs to the industry because FSIS currently allows birds younger than 8 weeks with the physical attributes of ‘‘roasters’’ to be labeled as ‘‘roasters.’’ 3 Paperwork Reduction Act FSIS has reviewed this rule under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501–3520) and has determined that the information collection related to labeling has been approved by OMB under OMB control number 0583–0092. FSIS does not anticipate many label changes due to the proposed change to the ‘‘roaster’’ definition because establishments that produce chickens that comply with the proposed ‘‘roaster’’ poultry class standard are already labeling these birds as ‘‘roasters.’’ E-Government Act FSIS and USDA are committed to achieving the purposes of the EGovernment Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) by, among other things, promoting the use of the Internet and other information technologies, and providing increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 2 Food Safety and Inspection Service, Correspondence, July 23, 2014. Available at: http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/d6fba22b271d-4204-adc6-56ab45d7b587/NCC-FSISResponse-72314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. See Constituent Update, December 27, 2013, available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/ newsroom/meetings/newsletters/constituentupdates/archive/2013/ConstUpdate122713. 3 Food Safety and Inspection Service, Correspondence, July 23, 2014. Accessed here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ d6fba22b-271d-4204-adc6-56ab45d7b587/NCCFSIS-Response-72314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. E:\FR\FM\19AUP1.SGM 19AUP1 50230 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 160 / Wednesday, August 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules Justice Reform. Under this rule: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) no administrative proceedings will be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule. Executive Order 13175 This proposed rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this proposed regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and will not have significant Tribal implications. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA. rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS How To File a Complaint of Discrimination To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http:// www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/ docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_ 12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative. Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–9410, Fax: (202) 690–7442, Email: program.intake@ usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). Additional Public Notification Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register. FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:11 Aug 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 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 available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email 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/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts. List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 381 Food grades and standards, Poultry and poultry products. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, FSIS proposes to amend 9 CFR part 381, as follows: PART 381—POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 138f; 7 U.S.C. 450; 21 U.S.C. 451–470; 7 CFR 2.18, 2.53. 2. Section 381.170 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1)(iii) to read as follows: ■ § 381.170 Standards for kinds and classes, and for cuts of raw poultry. (a) * * * (1) * * * (iii) Roaster or roasting chicken. A ‘‘roaster’’ or ‘‘roasting chicken’’ is a young chicken (less than 12 weeks of age) of either sex, with a ready-to-cook carcass weight of 5.5 pounds or more, that is tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone cartilage that is somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or fryer. * * * * * Done at Washington, DC, on August 12, 2015. Alfred V. Almanza, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2015–20433 Filed 8–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2015–3141; Directorate Identifier 2014–NM–242–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 757 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of cracking in the fuselage frame at a certain location. This proposed AD would require inspections for cracking in the fuselage frame, left and right sides, and repair if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct fuselage frame fatigue cracking that could result in loss of structural integrity and the inability to sustain loading conditions. DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 5, 2015. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P. O. Box 3707, MC 2H–65, Seattle, WA 98124–2207; telephone 206–544–5000, extension 1; fax 206–766–5680; Internet https:// www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425–227–1221. It is also available on the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2015– 3141. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19AUP1.SGM 19AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 160 (Wednesday, August 19, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 50228-50230]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-20433]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 381

[Docket No. FSIS-2015-0026]


Classes of Poultry

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to 
amend the definition and standard of identity for the ``roaster'' or 
``roasting chicken'' poultry class to better reflect the 
characteristics of ``roaster'' chickens in the market today. 
``Roasters'' or ``roasting chickens'' are described in terms of the age 
and ready-to-cook (RTC) carcass weight of the bird. Genetic changes and 
management techniques have continued to reduce the grow-out period and 
increased the RTC weight for this poultry class. Therefore, FSIS is 
proposing to amend the ``roaster'' definition to remove the 8-week 
minimum age criterion and increase the RTC carcass weight from 5 pounds 
to 5.5 pounds. This action is being taken in response to a petition 
submitted by the National Chicken Council.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 19, 2015.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by one of the following 
methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. This Web site 
provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment 
field on this Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments.
    Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots 
Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, 
Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 
355 E Street SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2015-0026. 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 Patriot's Plaza 3, 355 E St. SW., Room 8-
136A, Washington, DC between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, Director, FSIS 
Labeling and Program Delivery Division, Phone: (301) 504-0878, Fax: 
(202) 245-4795.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) prohibits the 
distribution of poultry products that are adulterated or misbranded (21 
U.S.C. 458). The PPIA also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to 
prescribe, among other things, definitions and standards of identity or 
composition for poultry products whenever the Secretary determines that 
such action is necessary for the protection of the public (21 U.S.C. 
457(b)). Poultry classes were established by USDA to aid in labeling 
poultry. The classes were based primarily on the age and sex of the 
bird. FSIS uses poultry class standards to ensure that poultry products 
are labeled in a truthful and non-misleading manner.
    On November 3, 2011, FSIS published a final rule to amend the 
definitions and standards for the U.S. classes of poultry listed in 9 
CFR 381.170(a)(1)(76 FR 68058). The 2011 final rule lowered the age 
definitions for five classes of poultry and removed the word 
``usually'' from the age designation descriptions, so that the age 
designations are clear and enforceable (76 FR 68058, 68062). In 
addition to lowering the age definition for the ``roaster'' class, the 
final rule also defined a ``roaster'' based on a ready-to-cook (RTC) 
carcass weight.
    A ``roaster'' or ``roasting chicken'' (hereafter referred to as 
``roasters'') is defined in 9 CFR 381.170(1)(a)(iii) as ``a young 
chicken (between 8 and 12 weeks of age), of either sex, with a ready-
to-cook carcass weight of 5 pounds or more, that is tender-meated with 
soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone cartilage that is 
somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or fryer.'' This 
definition was informed by data collected by the USDA Agricultural 
Marketing Service (AMS) from the segment of the industry that routinely 
produces ``roasters,'' comments received in response to a September 3, 
2003, proposed rule to amend the poultry classes (68 FR 55902), and 
comments received in response to a 2009 supplemental proposed rule in 
which the Agency re-proposed to amend the ``roaster'' standard to 
establish an age range from 8 to 12 weeks and to provide for a RTC 
carcass weight (74 FR 3337, July 13, 2009). The 2011 final rule became 
effective on January 1, 2014, the uniform compliance date for FSIS 
labeling regulations issued between January 1 2011 and December 31, 
2012 (75 FR 71344, November 23, 2010).

NCC Petition

    On November 18, 2013--before the January 1, 2014, effective date 
for the final rule--the National Chicken Council (NCC) submitted a 
petition requesting that FSIS amend the definition and standard of 
identity for the ``roaster'' chicken class to remove the 8-week minimum 
age requirement and to increase the RTC carcass weight to 5.5 pounds. 
The petition is available on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/adf54579-7a18-4ab2-a9b5-88f1eef65332/Petition-National-Chicken-Council.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
    The petition specifically asked FSIS to amend 9 CFR 
381.170(a)(1)(iii) to define a ``roaster'' as a young chicken (less 
than 12 weeks of age) of either sex, with an RTC carcass weight of 5.5 
pounds or more, that is tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-
textured skin and breastbone cartilage that may be somewhat less 
flexible than that of a ``broiler'' or ``fryer.'' The petition also 
requested that FSIS, as necessary, exercise enforcement discretion or 
stay the effective date of the ``roaster'' definition scheduled to go 
into effect on January 1, 2014.
    According to the petition, the ``roaster'' standard established in 
the 2011 final rule would detract from the orderly and efficient 
marketing of classes of poultry because companies would be unable to 
label and market chickens with the RTC weight and other physical 
attributes of a ``roaster'' as ``roasters'' because of the minimum age 
requirement. The NCC asserted that improvements in breeding and poultry 
management techniques that have continued since FSIS published the 
November 2011 final rule have enabled producers to raise chickens with 
the characteristics of roasters in under 8 weeks.
    NCC submitted additional data in support of its petition on 
December 16,

[[Page 50229]]

2013 (available on the FSIS Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/petitions). FSIS, in consultation with 
USDA's AMS conducted a preliminary review of the petition and 
supporting data. From this preliminary review, FSIS and AMS found that 
data show that producers are raising chickens with a RTC carcass weight 
of 5 pounds or more with the other physical characteristics of a 
``roaster'' in less than 8 weeks. The data also show that in 2012, the 
average commercially processed chicken reached a slaughter weight of 
5.95 pounds in 47 days. This amount of time is less than the 8-week 
minimum age for a ``roaster,'' although the bird's weight would exceed 
the 5 pound RTC minimum weight requirement. Thus, the age of these 
birds falls within the age range for ``broilers'' (i.e., under 10 
weeks), but these birds have the size and other physical attributes of 
``roasters.'' On the basis of these findings, FSIS and AMS agreed on 
the need to address this gap in the regulations.
    Therefore, in the December 27, 2013, edition of its Constituent 
Update newsletter, FSIS announced that it would allow chickens younger 
than 8 weeks of age to continue to be labeled and marketed as 
``roasters'' after the new poultry class standards go into effect if 
these birds meet all of the other characteristics of a ``roaster'' in 
the standard. That is, they would have to have a RTC carcass weight of 
5 pounds or more, be tender-meated, and have soft, pliable, smooth-
textured skin that is somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or 
fryer.\1\ FSIS also stated that it intended to propose to revise the 
roaster definition or reaffirm the November 2011 definition (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/newsletters/constituent-updates/archive/2013/ConstUpdate122713).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Before FSIS published the 2011 final rule, the former 
poultry class standards stated that roasters are ``usually 3 to 5 
months'' but did not prohibit birds younger than 8 weeks from being 
labeled and marketed as ``roasters.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In July 2014, FSIS, in consultation with AMS, completed its review 
of the NCC petition. AMS verified that the data that NCC submitted to 
support the petition are consistent with production data that AMS 
collected from the poultry industry. After reviewing the available 
information, FSIS and AMS concluded that the data show that chickens 
younger than 8 weeks are consistently reaching higher average dressed 
weights in shorter periods of time, and that there is a trend of 
increasing growth rate of commercially processed chickens between 2009 
and 2012, supporting the elimination of a minimum age for the 
``roaster'' class. FSIS, in consultation with AMS, also found that the 
data show that, in those regions of the country where ``roasters'' are 
marketed, customers value ``roasters'' more highly on a pound-per-pound 
basis than they do ``broilers,'' demonstrating the need to allow birds 
with the physical characteristics of ``roasters'' to be accurately 
labeled as ``roasters.''
    Therefore, on July 23, 2014, FSIS sent a letter to the NCC to 
inform the organization that FSIS had decided to grant its petition to 
amend the ``roaster'' poultry class (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/d6fba22b-271d-4204-adc6-56ab45d7b587/NCC-FSIS-Response-72314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES).

The Proposed Rule

    FSIS is proposing to amend the poultry class standards to define a 
``roaster'' or ``roasting chicken'' as a young chicken (less than 12 
weeks of age) of either sex, with a ready-to-cook carcass weight of 5.5 
pounds or more, that is tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-
textured skin and breastbone cartilage that may be somewhat less 
flexible than that of a ``broiler'' or ``fryer.'' Removing the minimum 
age and increasing the RTC carcass weight for the ``roaster'' class, as 
requested in the petition, would allow birds younger than 8 weeks that 
have the physical characteristics of a ``roaster'' to continue to be 
labeled and marketed as ``roasters.''
    As noted above, FSIS is proposing to increase the RTC carcass 
weight for ``roasters'' from 5 to 5.5 pounds, as requested in the 
petition. However, FSIS is soliciting comments regarding the merit of 
increasing the minimum RTC carcass weight from 5 pounds to 5.5 pounds 
and the effect that such an increase may have on small poultry 
producers. To be of value, the comments must provide a factual basis 
for or against increasing the weight requirement for ``roasters.''

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    This proposed rule has been designated as a ``non-significant'' 
regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. 
Accordingly, the rule has been not been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under E.O. 12866.

Economic Impact Analysis

    This rule will not have significant costs because FSIS currently 
allows birds younger than 8 weeks with the physical attributes of 
``roasters'' to be labeled as ``roasters.'' \2\ The proposed rule would 
codify present practices and would not impose new requirements on 
establishments. For consumers, it would ensure that the labels for 
chickens with the characteristics of ``roaster'' are truthful and not 
misleading, and, consequently, consumers will be able to make informed 
purchase decisions.
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    \2\ Food Safety and Inspection Service, Correspondence, July 23, 
2014. Available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/d6fba22b-271d-4204-adc6-56ab45d7b587/NCC-FSIS-Response-72314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. See Constituent Update, December 27, 2013, 
available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/newsletters/constituent-updates/archive/2013/ConstUpdate122713.
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Regulatory Flexibility Act Assessment

    The FSIS Administrator has made a preliminary determination that 
this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities in the United States, as defined 
by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).
    FSIS projects that this rule will not result in additional costs to 
the industry because FSIS currently allows birds younger than 8 weeks 
with the physical attributes of ``roasters'' to be labeled as 
``roasters.'' \3\
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    \3\ Food Safety and Inspection Service, Correspondence, July 23, 
2014. Accessed here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/d6fba22b-271d-4204-adc6-56ab45d7b587/NCC-FSIS-Response-72314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
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Paperwork Reduction Act

    FSIS has reviewed this rule under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) and has determined that the information 
collection related to labeling has been approved by OMB under OMB 
control number 0583-0092.
    FSIS does not anticipate many label changes due to the proposed 
change to the ``roaster'' definition because establishments that 
produce chickens that comply with the proposed ``roaster'' poultry 
class standard are already labeling these birds as ``roasters.''

E-Government Act

    FSIS and USDA are committed to achieving the purposes of the E-
Government Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) by, among other things, 
promoting the use of the Internet and other information technologies, 
and providing increased opportunities for citizen access to Government 
information and services, and for other purposes.

Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil

[[Page 50230]]

Justice Reform. Under this rule: (1) All State and local laws and 
regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) 
no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) no 
administrative proceedings will be required before parties may file 
suit in court challenging this rule.

Executive Order 13175

    This proposed rule has been reviewed in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this proposed 
regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal 
governments and will not have significant Tribal implications.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds 
of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual 
orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, 
income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, 
exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to 
discrimination any person in the United States under any program or 
activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program 
Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your 
authorized representative.
    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, 
or email:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of 
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, 
Fax: (202) 690-7442, Email: program.intake@usda.gov.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal 
Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: 
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.
    FSIS also will make copies of this 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 available on the FSIS Web page. Through the 
Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more 
diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email 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/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export 
information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or 
delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password 
protect their accounts.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 381

    Food grades and standards, Poultry and poultry products.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, FSIS proposes to amend 9 
CFR part 381, as follows:

PART 381--POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 138f; 7 U.S.C. 450; 21 U.S.C. 451-470; 7 
CFR 2.18, 2.53.

0
2. Section 381.170 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1)(iii) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  381.170  Standards for kinds and classes, and for cuts of raw 
poultry.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) Roaster or roasting chicken. A ``roaster'' or ``roasting 
chicken'' is a young chicken (less than 12 weeks of age) of either sex, 
with a ready-to-cook carcass weight of 5.5 pounds or more, that is 
tender-meated with soft, pliable, smooth-textured skin and breastbone 
cartilage that is somewhat less flexible than that of a broiler or 
fryer.
* * * * *

    Done at Washington, DC, on August 12, 2015.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-20433 Filed 8-18-15; 8:45 am]
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