United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses, 41042-41043 [2018-17725]

Download as PDF 41042 Notices Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 160 Friday, August 17, 2018 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Docket No. AMS–LPS–17–0046] United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This Notice informs the public that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will not proceed with revisions to the United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses (pork standards) at this time. DATES: August 17, 2018. ADDRESSES: USDA, AMS, Livestock and Poultry Program (LP), Quality Assessment Division (QAD); 1400 Independence Ave. SW; Room 3932–S, STOP 0258; Washington, DC 20250– 0258. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Bowden, Chief, Standardization Branch; USDA, AMS, LP, QAD; 1400 Independence Avenue SW; Room 3932– S, STOP 0258; Washington, DC 20250– 0258; phone (202) 690–3148; or via email at David.Bowden@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Official USDA grade standards and associated voluntary, fee-for-service grading programs are authorized under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.) (the Act). Specifically, section 203(c) of the Act directs and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture ‘‘to develop and improve standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade, and packaging and recommend and demonstrate such standards in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in commercial practices’’ (7 U.S.C. 1622(c)). AMS is committed to carrying out this authority in a manner that facilitates the marketing of agricultural amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 products. Accordingly, the primary purpose of USDA grade standards is to divide the population of a commodity into uniform groups (of similar quality, yield, value, etc.) to facilitate marketing. Currently, AMS maintains standards for a wide variety of commodities and in many cases, applies those standards to commodities on a fee-for-service basis. AMS recognizes that the pork standards must be relevant to be of value to stakeholders and, therefore, recommendations for changes in the standards may be initiated by AMS or by interested parties at any time to achieve that goal. AMS originally posted this Notice seeking comment on the revised pork standards on October 23, 2017, with a closing date of December 22, 2017. Subsequently, AMS reopened the Notice for an additional 60-day comment period, ending March 19, 2018. Comments In all, 47 comments were received: There were 19 comments in favor of updating the pork standards, while 24 were opposed; 2 only requested extending the comment period; and 2 commenters did not clearly state a position. Responses received were representative of the pork industry and stakeholders, with the most comments coming from pork industry associations, packers, and producers. The 19 commenters in support of revised pork standards said that changes were needed in the pork industry to revitalize domestic consumer demand and that the updated standards may be helpful in addressing the decline in purchases of fresh pork products, citing data that the average American consumer buys fresh pork only seven times a year. Some commenters expressed that a revised standard could lead to a USDA fee-for-service grading program, which would enhance uniformity of pork quality and build consumer confidence in pork purchasing decisions. Commenters also said that the revisions were scientifically sound and applicable to pork quality attributes that are consumer-recognized and tied to an improved eating experience. While some recognized the challenge of implementing the proposed standards revisions via a grading program in the modern processing environment, they expressed support for a standardized, PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 objective carcass grading system focused more on quality than percent lean. Most of the 24 comments against the proposed revisions were similar in nature and asserted the new grades would not add value for pork producers. Some commenters noted that the pork industry and individual companies have worked for many years to improve product quality attributes and promote their efforts through product branding and ‘‘niche’’ marketing, and the revised pork standards would endanger these efforts. Further, some commenters noted that proposed nomenclature of Prime, Choice, and Select, if implemented for pork, could result in devaluation of the established beef grading system. Pork packers and processors expressed concern that implementation of the revised pork standards would be impractical, in part because the technology available to accurately assess quality factors for pork is not yet effective while maintaining today’s processing line speeds. Commenters opposed to the revisions also expressed concern that implementation at this time would cause disruption to existing producer-packer relationships and established logistics. Others were concerned that application of the standard specifically to the loin primal without positive correlation with the remaining carcass parts would be misleading, and that any premium generated by applying the standards would not offset the cost of implementing a USDA fee-for-service grading program in the plant. A few commenters provided responses that were both for and against the revisions, outlining opportunities and challenges similar to those discussed above. All comments are available at the following website: https://www.regulations.gov/ docketBrowser?rpp=25&so=DESC&sb= commentDueDate&po=0&dct=PS&D= AMS-LPS-17-0046. Based on the responses received from the Notices, AMS will not pursue any revisions to the pork standards at this time. AMS stands ready to assist agricultural industries in establishing voluntary standards and grading programs for commodities for which it has authority to do so; the pork industry retains this option should the need arise. E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices Dated: August 13, 2018. Bruce Summers, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2018–17725 Filed 8–16–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Store Applications, Forms FNS–252, FNS–252–E, FNS–252–FE, FNS–252–R, FNS–252–2 and FNS–252–C Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on the proposed collection. This is a revision of a currently approved collection in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and concerns Retail Store Applications (Forms FNS–252; FNS– 252–E; FNS–252–FE; FNS–252–R; FNS– 252–2; and FNS–252–C). DATES: Written comments must be received on or before October 16, 2018. ADDRESSES: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to: Nicole Budzius, Chief, Retailer Administration Branch, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Retailer Policy and Management Division, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 422, Alexandria, VA 22302. Comments may be faxed to the attention of Ms. Budzius at (703) 305–1863 or via email to: RPMDHQ-WEB@fns.usda.gov. Comments will also be accepted through amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov, and follow the online instructions for submitting comments electronically. All written comments will be open for public inspection at the FNS office located at 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 422, Alexandria, Virginia 22302, during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday). All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. All comments will be a matter of public record. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of this information collection should be directed to Nicole Budzius at RPMDHQ-WEB@fns.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—Store Applications. Form Number: FNS–252; 252–E; 252– FE; 252–R; 252–2; and 252–C. OMB Number: 0584–0008. Expiration Date: January 31, 2021. Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection of information. Abstract: Section 9(a) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended, (the Act) (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) requires that FNS determine the eligibility of retail food stores and certain food service organizations to accept SNAP benefits and to monitor them for compliance and continued eligibility and to ensure Program integrity. FNS is also responsible for requiring updates to application information and reviewing retail food store applications at least once every five years to ensure that each firm is under the same ownership and continues to meet eligibility requirements. The Act specifies that only those applicants whose participation will ‘‘effectuate the purposes of the program’’ should be authorized. There are six forms associated with this approved Office of Management and Budget (OMB) information collection number 0584–0008—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Application for Stores, Forms FNS–252 (English and Spanish) and FNS–252–E (paper and online version respectively); Farmer’s Market Application, Form FNS–252–FE; Meal Service Application, Form FNS–252–2; Reauthorization Application, Form FNS–252–R; and the Corporation Supplemental Application, Form FNS– 252–C used for individual (chain) stores under a corporation. For new authorizations, the majority of PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41043 applicants use form FNS–252 or FNS– 252–E (paper or online, respectively). FNS is responsible for reviewing retail food store applications at least once every five years to ensure that each firm is under the same ownership and continues to meet eligibility guidelines. In order to accomplish this regulatory requirement, form FNS–252–R is used for reauthorization. In addition to these forms, during authorization or reauthorization, FNS may conduct an on-site store visit of the firm. The store visit of the firm helps FNS confirm that the information provided on the application is correct. An FNS representative or store visit contractor obtains permission to fill in the store visit checklist, photograph the store and asks the store owner or manager about the continued ownership of the store. Applicants using form FNS–252–E or FNS–252–FE must also first self-register for a Level 1 access account through the USDA eAuthentication system in order to start an online application. USDA eAuthentication facilitates the electronic authentication of an individual. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) amended the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) revised all retailer application forms (paper and electronic) in January, 2018, as a result of regulatory changes required by the Act and amended by the 2014 Farm Bill. Such changes to the Act amended the definition of ‘‘retail food store’’ to clarify when a retailer is a restaurant rather than a retail food store. Among the changes made to the SNAP retailer application form(s), the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) added a new question, Question 18, concerning restaurant licensing, and revised Question 22, regarding total retail sales on Form FNS–252. Currently, respondents select a Yes or No response if they have or are applying for a restaurant license for their store in Question 18. Question 22 currently asks retailers to enter their total retail sales by category in dollars for a one year period. Sales categories include gasoline, lottery, tobacco, alcohol, other nonfood, and hot foods, cold prepared foods, accessory foods, and staple foods. Due to concern with the manner in which FNS is currently asking for retailer sales data, FNS is updating the retailer application question regarding sales. FNS is also removing the question concerning restaurant licensing and the requirement for businesses located in community property states to provide spousal information for each owner. Question 22 will revert back to asking E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 160 (Friday, August 17, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41042-41043]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-17725]


========================================================================
Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / 
Notices

[[Page 41042]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

[Docket No. AMS-LPS-17-0046]


United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This Notice informs the public that the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will not 
proceed with revisions to the United States Standards for Grades of 
Pork Carcasses (pork standards) at this time.

DATES: August 17, 2018.

ADDRESSES: USDA, AMS, Livestock and Poultry Program (LP), Quality 
Assessment Division (QAD); 1400 Independence Ave. SW; Room 3932-S, STOP 
0258; Washington, DC 20250-0258.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Bowden, Chief, Standardization 
Branch; USDA, AMS, LP, QAD; 1400 Independence Avenue SW; Room 3932-S, 
STOP 0258; Washington, DC 20250-0258; phone (202) 690-3148; or via 
email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Official USDA grade standards and associated 
voluntary, fee-for-service grading programs are authorized under the 
Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.) 
(the Act). Specifically, section 203(c) of the Act directs and 
authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture ``to develop and improve 
standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade, and packaging and 
recommend and demonstrate such standards in order to encourage 
uniformity and consistency in commercial practices'' (7 U.S.C. 
1622(c)). AMS is committed to carrying out this authority in a manner 
that facilitates the marketing of agricultural products. Accordingly, 
the primary purpose of USDA grade standards is to divide the population 
of a commodity into uniform groups (of similar quality, yield, value, 
etc.) to facilitate marketing. Currently, AMS maintains standards for a 
wide variety of commodities and in many cases, applies those standards 
to commodities on a fee-for-service basis.
    AMS recognizes that the pork standards must be relevant to be of 
value to stakeholders and, therefore, recommendations for changes in 
the standards may be initiated by AMS or by interested parties at any 
time to achieve that goal. AMS originally posted this Notice seeking 
comment on the revised pork standards on October 23, 2017, with a 
closing date of December 22, 2017. Subsequently, AMS reopened the 
Notice for an additional 60-day comment period, ending March 19, 2018.

Comments

    In all, 47 comments were received: There were 19 comments in favor 
of updating the pork standards, while 24 were opposed; 2 only requested 
extending the comment period; and 2 commenters did not clearly state a 
position. Responses received were representative of the pork industry 
and stakeholders, with the most comments coming from pork industry 
associations, packers, and producers.
    The 19 commenters in support of revised pork standards said that 
changes were needed in the pork industry to revitalize domestic 
consumer demand and that the updated standards may be helpful in 
addressing the decline in purchases of fresh pork products, citing data 
that the average American consumer buys fresh pork only seven times a 
year. Some commenters expressed that a revised standard could lead to a 
USDA fee-for-service grading program, which would enhance uniformity of 
pork quality and build consumer confidence in pork purchasing 
decisions. Commenters also said that the revisions were scientifically 
sound and applicable to pork quality attributes that are consumer-
recognized and tied to an improved eating experience. While some 
recognized the challenge of implementing the proposed standards 
revisions via a grading program in the modern processing environment, 
they expressed support for a standardized, objective carcass grading 
system focused more on quality than percent lean.
    Most of the 24 comments against the proposed revisions were similar 
in nature and asserted the new grades would not add value for pork 
producers. Some commenters noted that the pork industry and individual 
companies have worked for many years to improve product quality 
attributes and promote their efforts through product branding and 
``niche'' marketing, and the revised pork standards would endanger 
these efforts. Further, some commenters noted that proposed 
nomenclature of Prime, Choice, and Select, if implemented for pork, 
could result in devaluation of the established beef grading system. 
Pork packers and processors expressed concern that implementation of 
the revised pork standards would be impractical, in part because the 
technology available to accurately assess quality factors for pork is 
not yet effective while maintaining today's processing line speeds. 
Commenters opposed to the revisions also expressed concern that 
implementation at this time would cause disruption to existing 
producer-packer relationships and established logistics. Others were 
concerned that application of the standard specifically to the loin 
primal without positive correlation with the remaining carcass parts 
would be misleading, and that any premium generated by applying the 
standards would not offset the cost of implementing a USDA fee-for-
service grading program in the plant.
    A few commenters provided responses that were both for and against 
the revisions, outlining opportunities and challenges similar to those 
discussed above. All comments are available at the following website: 
https://www.regulations.gov/docketBrowser?rpp=25&so=DESC&sb=commentDueDate&po=0&dct=PS&D=AMS-LPS-17-0046.
    Based on the responses received from the Notices, AMS will not 
pursue any revisions to the pork standards at this time. AMS stands 
ready to assist agricultural industries in establishing voluntary 
standards and grading programs for commodities for which it has 
authority to do so; the pork industry retains this option should the 
need arise.


[[Page 41043]]


    Dated: August 13, 2018.
Bruce Summers,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-17725 Filed 8-16-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P