Amendments to the Regulations Governing Meats, Prepared Meats, and Meat Products (Grading, Certification, and Standards), 48551-48563 [2019-19707]

Download as PDF 48551 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 84, No. 179 Monday, September 16, 2019 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 54 [No. AMS–LP–16–0080] Amendments to the Regulations Governing Meats, Prepared Meats, and Meat Products (Grading, Certification, and Standards) Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule informs the public that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending its regulations to update a number of outdated administrative and organizational references, clarify agency action as it relates to the withdrawal or denial of service, update the official shields and grademarks associated with the grading service, and make reference to the use of instrument grading equipment as a means of determining official grades on beef and lamb carcasses. SUMMARY: This final rule is effective September 16, 2019. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dana K. Stahl, Chief, Grading Services Branch, QAD, Livestock and Poultry Program, AMS, USDA; 1400 Independence Avenue SW; Room 3932– S, Stop 0258, Washington, DC 20250– 0258; (202) 690–3169; or email to dana.stahl@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Executive Orders 12866 and 13771, and Regulatory Flexibility Act This rulemaking does not meet the definition of a significant regulatory action contained in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Additionally, because this rule does not VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 meet the definition of a significant regulatory action it does not trigger the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB’s Memorandum titled ‘‘Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled ’Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs’ ’’ (February 2, 2017). Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) [5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.], the Administrator of AMS considered the economic effect of this action on small entities and determined that this final rule does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small business entities, because the user-fee services that are subject to the requirements of this regulation are not subject to scalability based on the business size. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly burdened. Currently, approximately 235 applicants subscribe to AMS’s voluntary, user fee services. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Table of Small Business Size Standards matched to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes identifies small business size by average annual receipts or by the average number of employees at a firm. This information can be found at 13 CFR parts 121.104, 121.106, and 121.201. AMS requires that all applicants for service provide information about their company for the purpose of processing bills. Information collected from an applicant includes company name, address, billing address, and similar information. AMS does not collect information about the size of the business. However, based on working knowledge of these operations, AMS estimates that roughly 72 percent of current applicants may be classified as small entities. It is not anticipated that this action will impose additional costs to applicants, regardless of size. Current applicants will not be required to provide any additional information to receive service. The effects of this final rule are not expected to be disproportionately greater or lesser for small applicants than for large applicants. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act of 2002 [44 U.S.C. 101] to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to government information and services, and for other purposes. Accordingly, AMS developed options for companies requesting service to do so electronically. The USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule. Congressional Review Act Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act [5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.], the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this rule as not a major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). Executive Order 13175 This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and will not have significant Tribal implications. Executive Order 12988 This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order (E.O.) 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This final rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. The E.O. prohibits states or political subdivisions of a state to impose any requirement that is in addition to, or inconsistent with, any requirement of the E.O. There are no civil justice implications associated with this final rule. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. Chapter 35], this final rule will not change the information collection and recordkeeping requirements previously approved and would not impose additional reporting or recordkeeping burden on users of these voluntary services. The information collection and recordkeeping requirements of this part have been approved by OMB under 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35 and have been assigned OMB Control Number 0581– 0128. E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 48552 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations In September 2014, three separate OMB collections—OMB 0581–0127, OMB 0581–0124, and OMB 0581– 0128—were merged, such that the current OMB 0581–0128 pertains to Regulations for Voluntary Grading, Certification, and Standards and includes 7 CFR parts 54, 56, 62, and 70. Background and Revisions The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.), herein after referred to as the ‘‘Act,’’ directs and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to facilitate the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. AMS programs support a strategic marketing perspective that adapts product and marketing decisions to consumer demands and changes in domestic and international marketing practices and incorporates emerging technology. AMS provides impartial grading and certification services that ensure agricultural products meet specified requirements. These services are voluntary, with users paying for the cost of the requested service. AMS grading services verify that product meets USDA grade standards (e.g., USDA Choice) and certify that products meet requirements defined by the company or another third-party. Product characteristics such as manner of cut, color, and other quality attributes can be directly examined by an AMS employee or an authorized agent to determine if product requirements have been met. The product can be identified as ‘‘USDA Prime,’’ ‘‘USDA Choice,’’ ‘‘USDA Select,’’ ‘‘USDA Certified,’’ ‘‘USDA Accepted as Specified,’’ or ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program.’’ jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Administrative and Organizational Revisions In 2012, an organizational merger within AMS combined the Livestock and Seed Program and Poultry Programs into the Livestock, Poultry, and Seed (LPS) Program. Subsequently, the LPS Program created the Quality Assessment Division (QAD) to oversee services carried out by the Audit Services Branch, Grading Services Branch, Standardization Branch, and the Business Operations Branch. The Grading Services Branch administers grading and certification services that were performed by the former Meat Grading and Certification Branch of the former Livestock and Seed Program and the former Grading Branch of Poultry Programs. In 2018, another organizational change caused the LPS Program to be renamed the Livestock and Poultry Program. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 Meat grading and certification activities are carried out under 7 CFR 54, while poultry and shell egg grading and certification activities are carried out under 7 CFR 70 and 7 CFR 56, respectively. Through this rulemaking, AMS will update a number of administrative and organizational references to reflect the current terminology and structure of AMS. These amendments include amending § 54.1 to change the LPS Program to the Livestock and Poultry Program. Certain terms and definitions will be added to, updated in, or deleted from § 54.1 to reflect the current organizational structure within the Agency. The term and definition for Livestock will be removed from the regulation because the use of this definition was fundamentally the same as the definition of Animals. The term and definitions for Contract verification service will be removed from § 54.1 because this service is no longer provided, and a conforming change will be made to § 54.4 Kind of service. The definition for Animals will be revised to add ‘‘bison,’’ as the Agency certifies bison; Chief will be revised to identify the Grading Services Branch Chief; Division will be revised to identify QAD and appropriately reflect its level within the organization; Meat by-products will be revised to exclude brain derived from ruminant animals, which is no longer allowed per food safety regulations; and the term Standards will be replaced with Official standards, and its definition will be revised for consistency within the regulation. The terms Yield grade and Appeal service and their respective definitions will be added to identify the different types of grading service offered under the regulations. The terms Program and Deputy Administrator and their respective definitions will be added to appropriately recognize the office and leadership within the current organizational structure of the Agency. Since this regulation has not received significant revisions for some time, AMS is revising it to make it consistent with The Plain Writing Act of 2010 [Pub. L. 111–274]. To accomplish this, AMS is focusing on appropriate pronoun use, omitting unnecessary words, and writing short sentences. To reflect organizational changes and for consistency with other changes to this regulation, AMS will amend § 54.4 Kind of service, § 54.6 How to obtain service, § 54.7 Order of furnishing service, § 54.8 When request for service deemed made, § 54.9 Withdrawal of application or request for service, and § 54.10 Authority of agent. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 AMS will also amend § 54.5 Availability of service by removing language that states service will be provided without discrimination, as this is a duplicative statement of a requirement that is mandated through Departmental regulations, not by AMS. AMS will amend § 54.6 How to obtain service by increasing the length of time between cancellation of commitment service and reapplication for commitment service from 1 to 2 years and clarifying that the applicant is responsible for reimbursing relocation costs incurred by the Agency to transfer the grader. AMS will remove the reference to the Medium grade for lamb, yearling lamb, mutton, and pork carcasses in § 54.11(a)(1)(vii). The official standards for grades of lamb and mutton carcasses were amended in October 1940 (Amendment No. 1 to S.R.A. 123) to change the grade designations Medium and Common to Commercial and Utility, respectively. In April 1968, the official standards for pork carcasses were revised and the former Medium and Cull grades were combined and renamed U.S. Utility. Removing the reference to Medium in § 54.11(a)(1)(vii) aligns the regulatory language with the language contained within the official standards. Clarify Agency Action on Denial or Withdrawal of Service AMS will create a stair-stepped approach regarding denial or withdrawal of Grading Services Branch services. As written, § 54.11 requires AMS to go before an administrative law judge to hear a case for an applicant accused of misconduct before any action can be taken; the process and actions currently identified in this part limit AMS’s ability to effectively manage its services, including denying, withdrawing, or suspending services in a timely manner when warranted for reasons of misconduct. Therefore, AMS is clarifying that it shall rely first on the Supplemental Rules of Practice in 7 CFR 50 and then, if necessary, use the Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary Under Various Statues set forth in 7 CFR 1.130 through 1.151 when denying, withdrawing, or suspending services to applicants. An applicant will still have an opportunity for a hearing before an administrative law judge before any permanent action occurs. Other Amendments to the Regulation The regulations outlined in this part are intended to describe to the public how AMS provides grading and E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations certification services and the related processes, not provide instruction to employees or repeat requirements covered by another Federal regulation. Accordingly, AMS will remove and reserve for future use § 54.12 Financial interest of official grader. USDA graders and other employees are required to meet and maintain Departmental ethics requirements; therefore, AMS has determined that it is unnecessary to maintain this administrative item in this regulation. AMS will remove and reserve § 54.14 Official certificates, which removes the Agricultural Products Certificate Form LS–5–3 and the Applicant Charges Certificate Form LS–5–5. These forms were discontinued in 2009, and the information they contained is now entered into a database. If an applicant requires an official certificate from USDA, an official memorandum is issued containing the pertinent information. In 2001, vision-based instrument technology was approved for use in the official determination of the size of the ribeye area. In 2007, it was approved for yield grade determination, and in 2009, it was approved for marbling assessment. Although this technology has been used as an aid in the application of official USDA beef grades since 2001, the current regulations make no mention of it. AMS considers the use of instrument technology to be an important option for determining degrees of marbling in meat carcasses and yield and, therefore, is adding a reference to it in § 54.15. AMS will appropriately identify and reference figures within § 54.17. Currently, multiple figures in that section contain the same label, Figure 1, which makes it difficult to accurately reference any one particular figure. AMS will remove the Carcass Data Service orange ear tag from § 54.17, because the Agency no longer prints or maintains them and instead allows cattle enrolled in the Carcass Data Service to be identified through other approved methods. AMS will appropriately identify and reference in § 54.17 the USDA Further Processing Certification Program shield used to identify product produced under the USDA Further Processing Certification Program. Additionally, AMS will amend language within this section to accurately identify the USDA Hold tag that is now used in place of the USDA Product Control tag. The tag is now red in color as opposed to orange. Within § 54.19, AMS will remove the heading APPEAL SERVICE, rename § 54.19 as Appeal of a grading service decision, reassign amended language from §§ 54.20 through 54.26 under VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 § 54.19 (a) through (h), and subsequently reserve §§ 54.21 through 54.26. AMS will rename § 54.20 Exemptions. The amendments will identify the requirements within the regulation where exemptions are most commonly provided and identify an option for exemptions as seen fit by the Director. It also will require the Director to approve all exemptions to this regulation. AMS will make conforming changes to §§ 54.4 Kind of service, 54.5 Availability of service, and 54.13 Accessibility and refrigeration of products; access to establishments. Together, amendments to §§ 54.5 Availability of service, 54.13 Accessibility and refrigeration of products; access to establishments, and § 54.20 Exemptions clarify the grading of meat in less-than-carcass form, and further, that the grading of imported carcasses is allowable only under an exemption approved by the Director. For clarity, the requirements for grading of imported carcasses are addressed within §§ 54.20. AMS will remove and reserve § 54.30 Errors in service. AMS proposed that the subject covered in this § 54.30 is most appropriately covered under a policy or procedure rather than a regulation. Lastly, AMS will replace the title and language of § 54.31 Uniforms with the title OMB Control Number. AMS believes the subject of uniforms is more appropriate under a policy rather than a regulation. AMS will add language under this section that clearly identifies the OMB control number, OMB 0581– 0128, assigned to this regulation in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. Summary of Comments A proposed rule to amend the Regulations Governing Meats, Prepared Meats, and Meat Products (Grading, Certification, and Standards) was published in the Federal Register (84 FR 1641) on February 5, 2019. Comments on the proposed rule were solicited from interested parties until April 8, 2019. AMS received 12 comments: 8 from consumers, 1 from an industry company, and 3 from industry trade organizations. One of the 12 comments was outside the scope of the regulations. Three consumer commenters supported all the amendments as beneficial for consumers and producers of meat products, while two consumer commenters were supportive of the amendments with the exception of 54.13(d), which requires that applicants for grading service make products, records, and equipment accessible so PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48553 that graders may perform their duties effectively. This includes offering product for grading or certification that is, at a minimum, 90 percent acceptable. The two commenters suggested that this number should be increased to 100 percent. In response, AMS will maintain the requirement as written in the proposed rule, as 90 percent reflects a practical and achievable goal that effectively limits ineligible product from being offered for grading and certification. The 3 industry commenters and 1 company commenter generally supported the changes in the proposed rule, with a few exceptions. One commenter pointed out that the definition in § 54.1 for ‘‘Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications’’ should be amended to include quotation marks to designate ‘‘IMPS’’ as an acronym and the definition of ‘‘meat by-products’’ should be consistent with that used by the Food Safety and Inspection Service. In response to these suggestions, the Agency is revising the proposed language for the definitions of ‘‘Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications’’ and ‘‘meat byproducts.’’ One commenter suggested that AMS provide background on the change to the reimbursement requirements in § 54.6 from 1 year to 2 years, stating that AMS did not provide justification or an impact analysis for this change. AMS proposed this change, requiring that the applicant be responsible for the cost of relocating a grader should it cancel its commitment service and then reinstate it within 2 years, in light of the significant expense and disruption to the Agency of relocating a grader multiple times within a short period of time, based on previous experience. Expanding this requirement to a 2-year timeframe will help AMS continue to provide consistent service and a stable work environment for AMS employees. Therefore, AMS will maintain the requirement as amended in the proposed rule. Regarding § 54.11, one commenter recommended revising language in the preamble of the final rule to show the distinct order of AMS procedures when denying, withdrawing, or suspending service that ‘‘reflects agency practice and does not represent a tangible change.’’ AMS agrees and has added clarifying language to the preamble. One commenter suggested a revision in 54.13(a) that would replace the word ‘‘any’’ with ‘‘covered’’ or a similar phrase to clarify the regulatory intent when talking about marks of grade or compliance. AMS has determined not to make this change. By referencing ‘‘any E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 48554 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations marks’’ the Agency continues to accept defined marks that are recognized within the industry and have replaced official stamps for some methods of identification. One example is an ink brush stroke on the hock to identify a carcass meeting the Angus breed phenotypic specification; this practice reduces the amount of ink on the carcass round and therefore reduces trim and waste within the packing sector. One industry commenter supported the reference to instrument grading in section in § 54.15 and urged USDA to ensure consistency of instrument grading calibration. One industry commenter supported the proposed changes to the marketing grade terms (e.g., Prime, Choice, Select) to indicate the level of quality, while two consumer commenters opposed the changes, suggesting ‘‘terms such as level 1, level 2, and level 3 may make the quality grade meanings clearer to consumers.’’ In response to these comments, AMS will keep the proposed changes so that marketing grade terms remain consistent with the past as the terms are widely known and recognized by the industry, consumers, and foreign trading partners. Several comments were received regarding the proposed changes to § 54.5 and § 54.20 with respect to grading of imported carcasses. One commenter asked for clarification on whether, as a result of the proposed changes, the eligibility of imported product would change significantly. The answer is no. The regulations and AMS procedures allow the Agency to grant exemptions to grade imported product in carcass form, enabling AMS to use all parts of the official standards to determine the appropriate grade. AMS is clarifying that exemptions have always been required for the official grading of imported carcasses since § 54.5 requires that carcasses come from animals slaughtered in establishments that are federally inspected or operated under state meat inspection. In the final rule, this requirement is maintained under § 54.5 and language is added to clarify that the grading of imported carcasses is allowed only under an exemption approved by the Director. Two commenters supported the general guidance in § 54.20 allowing additional flexibility under exemptions granted by the Agency. One commenter opposed the proposed amendment to § 54.5 that service ‘‘may be furnished’’ instead of ‘‘will be furnished’’ for imported meat, suggesting instead that the phrase be changed to ‘‘shall be provided.’’ Another commenter recommended a change to the proposed VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 language in § 54.20 authorizing the Director to issue exemptions, requesting that ‘‘shall issue’’ be added. After consideration, AMS will proceed with language of the proposed rule in § 54.5 and § 54.20 with minor changes. The Agency believes that maintaining flexibility in the process by which the Director may approve or deny exemptions is necessary to enhance commerce while ensuring decisions are for good cause and based upon the supporting documentation provided by the applicant. Changing the word ‘‘will’’ to ‘‘may’’ supports the Agency’s due diligence to ensure minimal impact upon the industry should an exemption be granted and to deny requests if determined otherwise. One commenter supported the language in § 54.20 that provides an exemption allowing for the grading of meat in other-than-carcass form ‘‘if the class, grade, and other quality attributes may be determined under the applicable standards.’’ This commenter suggested that as long as an establishment can demonstrate that products presented for grading are of the proper class and maturity, and the grade can be determined based on the quality attributes of the meat, there is no need to limit grading services to whole carcasses. The commenter referenced an exemption that AMS granted in 2017 for the grading of ribs and loins imported from Mexico. The commenter also asked AMS to clarify, in the final rule or in guidance, what criteria must be satisfied to demonstrate an animal’s class when meat is presented for grading in otherthan-carcass form. In response, AMS maintains that the official standards are written in terms of carcasses and sides, and thus the grading of product in less-than-carcass form is generally contrary to the standards. AMS maintains the flexibility to grant exemptions for product presented in other-than-carcass form, but these exemptions are typically for religious reasons where a whole carcass has been presented for grading as quarters instead of sides. In contrast, AMS maintains that subprimal parts, such as ribs and loins, present insufficient criteria by which a grader may make an adequate class or quality determination. Therefore, AMS will maintain the proposed language in § 54.20 with one clarifying change: references to ‘‘meat from imported animals’’ and ‘‘imported meat’’ are changed to ‘‘imported carcasses’’ for clarity and accuracy. Coinciding with the publication of this final rule, AMS will be amending its procedures (QAD Procedure 504 Import Grading) accordingly. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 One industry commenter opposed any reciprocity of official standards and services of USDA beef grades outside the U.S. and also opposed other countries utilizing USDA’s system and associated terms. While AMS considers this comment to be outside the scope of this rulemaking, we recognize the industry’s concerns. List of Subjects in 7 CFR 54 Food grades and standards, Food labeling, Meat and meat products, Poultry and poultry products. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, AMS amends 7 CFR part 54 as follows: PART 54—MEATS, PREPARED MEATS, AND MEAT PRODUCTS (GRADING, CERTIFICATION, AND STANDARDS) 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR 54 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621–1627. 2. Amend § 54.1 by: A. Revising the section heading. ■ B. Revising the definitions of ‘‘Administrator,’’ ‘‘Animals,’’ ‘‘Branch,’’ ‘‘Chief,’’ ‘‘Director,’’ ‘‘Division,’’ ‘‘Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications,’’ ‘‘Meat by-products’’, and ‘‘Service’’. ■ C. Adding in alphabetical order the definitions ‘‘Appeal service,’’ ‘‘Deputy Administrator,’’ ‘‘Official standards,’’ and ‘‘Program’’. ■ D. Removing the definitions for ‘‘Contract verification service,’’ ‘‘Livestock,’’ ‘‘Standards’’. The revisions and additions read as follows: ■ ■ § 54.1 Meaning of words and terms defined. * * * * * Administrator. The Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), or any officer or employee of the AMS to whom authority has been or may be delegated to act in the Administrator’s stead. * * * * * Animals. Bison, cattle, goats, sheep, swine, or other species identified by the Administrator. * * * * * Appeal service. Appeal service is a redetermination of the class, grade, other quality, or compliance of product when the applicant for the appeal service formally challenges the correctness of the original determination. * * * * * E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Branch. The Grading Services Branch of the Division. * * * * * Chief. The Chief of the Grading Services Branch, or any officer or employee of the Branch to whom authority has been or may be delegated to act in the Chief’s stead. * * * * * Deputy Administrator. The Deputy Administrator of the Program, or any other officer or employee of the Program to whom authority has been or may be delegated to act in the Deputy Administrator’s stead. Director. The Director of the Division, or any officer or employee of the Division to whom authority has been or may be delegated to act in the Director’s stead. * * * * * Division. The Quality Assessment Division of the Livestock and Poultry Program. * * * * * Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications. Specifications describing various meat cuts, meat products, and meat food products derived from species covered in the definition of Animals above, commonly abbreviated ‘‘IMPS,’’ and intended for use by any meat procuring activity. For labeling purposes, only product certified by the Grading Services Branch may contain the letters ‘‘IMPS’’ on the product label. * * * * * Meat by-products. Any part capable of use as human food, other than meat, which has been derived from one or more cattle, sheep, swine, or goats. * * * * * Official standards. Official standards refer to the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef; the United States Standards for Grades of Veal and Calf Carcasses; the United States Standards for Grades of Lamb, Yearling Mutton, and Mutton Carcasses; and/or the United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses. * * * * * Program. The Livestock and Poultry Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service. Service. Services offered by the Grading Services Branch such as Grading Service, Certification Service, and Carcass Data Service. * * * * * Yield grade. The indicated yield of closely trimmed (1⁄2 inch fat or less), boneless retail cuts expected to be derived from the major wholesale cuts (round, sirloin, short loin, rib, and square-cut chuck) of a carcass. ■ 3. Revise § 54.4 to read as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 § 54.4 Kind of service. (a) Grading Service consists of the determination, certification, and identification of the class, grade, or other quality attributes of products under applicable official standards. (b) Certification Service consists of the determination, certification, and identification of products to an approved specification. Determination of product compliance with specifications for ingredient content or method of preparation may be based upon information received from the inspection system having jurisdiction over the products involved. (c) Carcass Data Service consists of the evaluation of carcass characteristics of animals identified with an approved ear tag to applicable official standards or specifications, and the recording and transmitting of the associated data to the applicant or a party designated by the applicant. ■ 4. Revise § 54.5 to read as follows: § 54.5 Availability of service. Service under these regulations may be made available to products shipped or received in interstate commerce. It also may be made available to the products not shipped or received if the Director or Chief determines that the furnishing of service for such products will facilitate the marketing, distribution, processing, or utilization of agricultural products through commercial channels. Service will be furnished for products only if they were derived from animals slaughtered in federally inspected establishments or establishments operated under state meat inspection in a state other than one designated in 9 CFR 331.2. Service may be furnished for imported carcasses only if an exemption to do so is granted by the Director as described in § 54.20. ■ 5. Revise § 54.6 to read as follows: § 54.6 How to obtain service. (a) Application. Any person may apply for service with respect to products in which he or she has a financial interest by completing the required application for service. In any case in which the service is intended to be furnished at an establishment not operated by the applicant, the application shall be approved by the operator of such establishment and such approval shall constitute an authorization for any employee of the Department to enter the establishment for the purpose of performing his or her functions under the regulations. The application shall include: (1) Name and address of the establishment at which service is desired; PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48555 (2) Name and mailing address of the applicant; (3) Financial interest of the applicant in the products, except where application is made by a representative of a Government agency in the representative’s official capacity; (4) Signature of the applicant (or the signature and title of the applicant’s representative); (5) Indication of the legal status of the applicant as an individual, partnership, corporation, or other form of legal entity; and (6) The legal designation of the applicant’s business as a small or large business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes. (b) Notice of eligibility for service. The applicant will be notified whether the application is approved or denied. (c) Request by applicant for service: (1) Noncommitment. Upon notification of the approval of an application for service, the applicant may, from time-totime as desired, make oral or written requests for service to be furnished with respect to specific products. Such requests shall be made at an office for grading, either directly or through an AMS employee. (2) Commitment. If desired, the applicant may request to enter into an agreement with AMS to furnish service on a weekly commitment basis, where the applicant agrees to pay for 8 hours of service per day, 5 days per week, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal legal holidays occurring Monday through Friday on which no grading and certification services are performed, and AMS agrees to make an official grader available to provide service for the applicant. However, AMS reserves the right to use any official grader assigned to a commitment applicant to perform service for other applicants when, in the opinion of the Chief, the official grader is not needed to perform service for the commitment applicant. In those instances, the applicant will not be charged for the work of the grader assigned to his or her facility. (3) If an applicant who terminates commitment grading service requests service again within a 2-year period from the date of the initial termination, the applicant will be responsible for all relocation costs associated with the grader assigned to fulfill the new service agreement. If more than one applicant is involved, expenses will be prorated according to each applicant’s committed portion of the official grader’s services. ■ 6. Revise § 54.7 to read as follows: E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 48556 § 54.7 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Order of furnishing service. Service shall be furnished to applicants in the order in which requests are received. Preference will be given, when necessary, to requests made by any government agency or any regular user of the service, and to requests for appeal service under § 54.19. ■ 7. Revise § 54.8 to read as follows: § 54.8 When request for service deemed made. A request for service is considered made when received by the designated office as identified on the Application for Service form. Records showing the date and time of the request shall be made and maintained in the designated office. ■ 8. Revise § 54.9 to read as follows: § 54.9 Withdrawal of application or request for service. An application or a request for service may be withdrawn by the applicant at any time before the application is approved or prior to performance of service. In accordance with §§ 54.27 and 54.28, any expenses already incurred by AMS in connection with the review of an application or fulfilling a request for service are the responsibility of the applicant. ■ 9. Revise § 54.10 to read as follows: § 54.10 Authority of agent. Proof that any person making an application or a request for service on behalf of any other person has the authority to do so may be required at the discretion of the Director or Chief. ■ 10. Amend § 54.11 by revising the section heading, paragraph (a)(1) introductory text, and paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (iii), (vii), (x), and (a)(2) to read as follows: jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES § 54.11 Denial, conditional withdrawal, or suspension of service. (a) * * * (1) Basis for denial or withdrawal. An application or a request for service may be rejected, or the benefits of the service may be otherwise denied to, or withdrawn from, any person who, or whose employee or agent in the scope of the individual’s employment or agency: (i) Has willfully made any misrepresentation or has committed any other fraudulent or deceptive practice in connection with any application or request for service; (ii) Has given or attempted to give, as a loan or for any other purpose, any money, favor, or other thing of value, to any employee of the Department authorized to perform any function; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 (iii) Has interfered with or obstructed, or attempted to interfere with or to obstruct, any employee of the Department in the performance of his or her duties under the regulations by intimidation, threats, assaults, abuse, or any other improper means; * * * * * (vii) Has applied the designation ‘‘US’’ or ‘‘USDA’’ and ‘‘Prime,’’ ‘‘Choice,’’ ‘‘Select,’’ ‘‘Good,’’ ‘‘Standard,’’ ‘‘Commercial,’’ ‘‘Utility,’’ ‘‘Cutter,’’ ‘‘Canner,’’ ‘‘Cull,’’ ‘‘No. 1,’’ ‘‘No. 2,’’ ‘‘No. 3,’’ ‘‘No. 4,’’ ‘‘Yield Grade 1,’’ ‘‘Yield Grade 2,’’ ‘‘Yield Grade 3,’’ ‘‘Yield Grade 4,’’ ‘‘Yield Grade 5,’’ and ‘‘USDA Accepted as Specified,’’ by stamp or text enclosed within a shield, or brand directly on any carcass, wholesale cut, or retail cut of any carcass, or has applied the aforementioned designations including ‘‘USDA Certified,’’ and ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ on the marketing material associated with any such product as part of a grade designation or product specification; * * * * * (x) Has in any manner not specified in this paragraph violated subsection 203(h) of the Act: Provided, that paragraph (a)(1)(vi) of this section shall not be deemed to be violated if the person in possession of any item mentioned therein notifies the Director or Chief without delay that the person has possession of such item and, in the case of an official device, surrenders it to the Chief, and, in the case of any other item, surrenders it to the Director or Chief or destroys it or brings it into compliance with the regulations by obliterating or removing the violative features under supervision of the Director or Chief: And provided further, that paragraphs (a)(1) (ii) through (ix) of this section shall not be deemed to be violated by any act committed by any person prior to the making of an application of service under the regulations by the principal person. An application or a request for service may be rejected or the benefits of the service may be otherwise denied to, or withdrawn from, any person who operates an establishment for which that person has made application for service if, with the knowledge of such operator, any other person conducting any operations in such establishment has committed any of the offenses specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (x) of this section after such application was made. Moreover, an application or a request for service made in the name of a person otherwise eligible for service under the regulations may be rejected, or the benefits of the service may be otherwise PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 denied to, or withdrawn from, such a person: (A) In case the service is or would be performed at an establishment operated: (1) By a corporation, partnership, or other person from whom the benefits of the service are currently being withheld under this paragraph; or (2) By a corporation, partnership, or other person having an officer, director, partner, or substantial investor from whom the benefits of the service are currently being withheld and who has any authority with respect to the establishment where service is or would be performed; or (B) In case the service is or would be performed with respect to any product with which any corporation, partnership, or other person within paragraph (a)(1)(x)(A)(1) of this section has a contract or other financial interest. (2) Procedure. All cases arising under this paragraph shall be initially conducted in accordance with the Supplemental Rules of Practice in part 50 of this chapter. Any issue unable to be resolved under part 50 of this chapter shall be resolved or handled in accordance with the Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary Under Various Statutes set forth in §§ 1.130 through 1.151 of this title. * * * * * § 54.12 ■ ■ [Removed and Reserved] 11. Remove and reserve § 54.12. 12. Revise § 54.13 to read as follows: § 54.13 Accessibility and refrigeration of products; access to establishments; suitable work environment; and access to records. (a) The applicant shall make products easily accessible for examination, with appropriate and adequate illuminating facilities, in order to disclose their class, grade, other quality characteristics, and compliance with official standards or other contractual requirements for which service is being provided. Supervisors of grading and other employees of the Department responsible for maintaining uniformity and accuracy of service shall have access to all parts of establishments covered by approved applications for service under the regulations, for the purpose of examining all products in the establishments that have been or are to be graded or examined for compliance with specifications or which bear any marks of grade or compliance. (b) Grading service will be furnished only for meat that an official grader determines is chilled so that grade factors are developed to the extent that E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations (b) A shield enclosing the letters ‘‘USDA,’’ as shown in Figure 2 to paragraph (b) of this section, with the appropriate quality grade designation ‘‘Prime,’’ ‘‘Choice,’’ ‘‘Select,’’ ‘‘Good,’’ ‘‘Standard,’’ ‘‘Commercial,’’ ‘‘Utility,’’ ‘‘Cutter,’’ ‘‘Canner,’’ or ‘‘Cull,’’ as provided in the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef, the United VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 (e) Applicants will provide a metal cabinet(s) or locker(s) for the secure storage of official meat grading equipment and identification devices for each official meat grader assigned to their establishment. Such cabinet(s) or locker(s) must be capable of being locked with a Government-owned lock and be located in an easily accessible and secure location within the applicant’s establishment. § 54.14 ■ § 54.15 ■ [Removed and Reserved] 13. Remove and reserve § 54.14. Instrument grading. 14. Revise § 54.15 to read as follows: § 54.15 Instrument grading. (a) Applicants may use USDAapproved technologies to augment the official USDA grading process for approved species presented for official grading. This voluntary program may be utilized by a plant at its discretion but must comply with QAD procedures to be recognized and relied upon by the official grader in conducting official duties. (b) Applicants have the option to augment quality and yield grading services through the use of vision-based instrument technology. Instrument grading may be used as an option for determining degrees of marbling and yield factors for meat carcasses. AMS approves the grading instrument itself and its use within individual applicant facilities. Applicants may contact grading supervision to initiate the process for in-plant approval. The process for instrument grading approval at an applicant’s facility is dictated through internal procedures. Final States Standards for Grades of Veal and Calf Carcasses, and the United States Standards for Grades of Lamb, Yearling Mutton, and Mutton Carcasses; and accompanied by the class designation ‘‘Bullock,’’ ‘‘Veal,’’ ‘‘Calf,’’ ‘‘Lamb,’’ ‘‘Yearling Mutton,’’ or ‘‘Mutton,’’ constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 determination of quality and yield grades is made by the official grader. § 54.15 ■ Instrument grading. 15. Revise § 54.16 to read as follows: § 54.16 Marking of products. All products examined for class and grade under the official standards, or the immediate containers and the shipping containers, shall be stamped, branded, or otherwise marked with an appropriate official identification. Except as otherwise directed by the Director, such markings will not be required when an applicant desires only an official memorandum. The marking of products, or their containers, as required by this section shall be done by official graders or under their immediate supervision. § 54.15 ■ Instrument grading. 16. Revise § 54.17 to read as follows: § 54.17 Official identifications. (a) A shield enclosing the letters ‘‘USDA’’ and identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service, as shown in Figure 1 to paragraph (a) of this section, constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations for preliminary grade of carcasses. This form of official identification may also be used to determine the final quality grade of carcasses; one stamp equates to ‘‘USDA Select’’ or ‘‘USDA Good’’; two stamps placed together vertically equates to ‘‘USDA Choice’’; and three stamps placed together vertically equates to ‘‘USDA Prime.’’ BILLING CODE 3410–02–P show the quality grade, and where necessary, the class, under said standards, of steer, heifer, and cow beef, veal, calf, lamb, yearling mutton, and mutton. The identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the shield. E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 ER16SE19.002</GPH> jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES a proper grade determination can be made in accordance with the official standards. Meat that is presented in a frozen condition is not eligible for a grade determination. Meat of all eligible species shall be graded only in the establishment where the animal was slaughtered or initially chilled (except for veal and calf carcasses, which will be graded only after the hide is removed and only in the establishment where such removal occurs). (c) Applicants are responsible for providing a work environment where official graders are not subjected to physical and/or verbal abuse, or other elements that could have a negative effect on providing an unbiased, thirdparty evaluation. Applicants shall designate primary company representatives to discuss grade placements and certification determinations with official graders. (d) Applicants will make products and related records (approved labeling, technical proposals, quality plans, specifications, end product data schedules, grade volume information, etc.) easily accessible and provide assistance and any equipment necessary to accomplish the requested services. Equipment may include storage lockers/ cabinets, branding ink, certified scales, food blenders, processors, grinders, sampling containers, sanitation equipment, thermometers, adequate lighting, weight tags, display monitors, video equipment for monitoring live animal schedules, etc. When offering product for grading or certification, applicants must ensure a minimum of 90 percent acceptable product. 48557 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations and the United States Standards for Grades of Lamb, Yearling Mutton, and Mutton Carcasses, constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to show the yield grade under said standards. When yield graded, bull and bullock carcasses will be identified with the class designation ‘‘Bull’’ and ‘‘Bullock,’’ respectively. The identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the shield. (d) For combined quality and yield grade identification purposes only, a shield enclosing the letters ‘‘US’’ on one side and ‘‘DA’’ on the other, with the appropriate yield grade designation number ‘‘1,’’ ‘‘2,’’ ‘‘3,’’ ‘‘4,’’ or ‘‘5,’’ and with the appropriate quality grade designation of ‘‘Prime,’’ ‘‘Choice,’’ ‘‘Select,’’ ‘‘Good,’’ ‘‘Standard,’’ ‘‘Commercial,’’ ‘‘Utility,’’ ‘‘Cutter,’’ ‘‘Canner,’’ or ‘‘Cull,’’ as shown in Figure 4 to paragraph (d) of this section, constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to show the quality and yield grade under said standards. The identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the shield. ER16SE19.004</GPH> (c) A shield enclosing the letters ‘‘USDA’’ and the words ‘‘Yield Grade,’’ as in Figure 3 to paragraph (c) of this section, with the appropriate yield grade designation ‘‘1,’’ ‘‘2,’’ ‘‘3,’’ ‘‘4,’’ or ‘‘5’’ as provided in the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 ER16SE19.003</GPH> jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 48558 48559 number ‘‘1,’’ ‘‘2,’’ ‘‘3,’’ ‘‘4,’’ or ‘‘5,’’ as shown in Figure 5 to paragraph (e) of this section, constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to show the yield grade under said standards. The identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the shield. (f) For quality grade identification only, a shield enclosing the letters ‘‘US’’ on one side and ‘‘DA’’ on the other with the appropriate quality grade designation of ‘‘Prime,’’ ‘‘Choice,’’ ‘‘Select,’’ ‘‘Good,’’ ‘‘Standard,’’ ‘‘Commercial,’’ ‘‘Utility,’’ ‘‘Cutter,’’ ‘‘Canner,’’ or ‘‘Cull,’’ as shown in Figure 6 to paragraph (f) of this section, constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to show the yield grade under said standards. The identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the shield. ER16SE19.006</GPH> (e) Under the regulations, for yield grade identification purposes only, a shield enclosing the letters ‘‘US’’ on one side and ‘‘DA’’ on the other, and with the appropriate yield grade designation VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 ER16SE19.005</GPH> jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations ‘‘Utility,’’ as provided in the Official United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses, constitutes a form of official identification under the (h) The following constitute forms of official identification under the regulations to show compliance of products: regulations to show the grade under said standards of barrow, gilt, and sow pork carcasses. ER16SE19.008</GPH> ER16SE19.009</GPH> (g) As shown in Figure 7 to paragraph (g) of this section, a shield enclosing the letters ‘‘USDA’’ with the appropriate grade designation ‘‘1,’’ ‘‘2,’’ ‘‘3,’’ ‘‘4,’’ or VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 ER16SE19.007</GPH> jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 48560 identification to show quality system certification. (j) Figure 11 to paragraph (j) of this section, constitutes official identification to show that products produced under USDA AMS supervision that meet specified requirements may carry the ‘‘USDA Certified’’ statement and/or ‘‘USDA Certified’’ shield, so long as each is used in direct association with a clear description of the standard or other requirement(s) to which the product claims to be certified. (1) The ‘‘USDA Certified’’ shield must replicate the form and design of the example in Figure 11 and must be printed legibly and conspicuously: (i) On a white background, with the term ‘‘USDA’’ in white overlaying a blue upper third of the shield and the term ‘‘Certified’’ in black overlaying a white middle third of the shield, with no terms in the red lower third of the shield; or (ii) On a white or transparent background with a black trimmed shield, with the term ‘‘USDA’’ in white overlaying a black upper third of the shield and the term ‘‘Certified’’ in black overlaying the white or transparent remaining two-thirds of the shield. (2) Use of the ‘‘USDA Certified’’ statement and the ‘‘USDA Certified’’ shield shall be approved in writing by the Director prior to use by an applicant. (k) Figure 12 to paragraph (k) of this section, constitutes official identification to show product or services produced under an approved USDA Further Processing Certification Program (FPCP): (1) Products produced under an approved USDA FPCP may use the ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ statement and the ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ shield; and (2) The USDA Further Processing Certification Program shield must replicate the form and design of the example in Figure 12 to paragraph (k) of this section and must be printed legibly and conspicuously: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 ER16SE19.011</GPH> (i) Figure 10 to paragraph (i) of this section, constitutes official ER16SE19.012</GPH> 48561 ER16SE19.010</GPH> jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 48562 (i) On a white background, with the term ‘‘USDA’’ in white overlaying a blue upper third of the shield and the terms ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ in black overlaying a white middle third of the shield, with no terms in the red lower third of the shield; or (ii) On a white or transparent background with a black trimmed shield, with the term ‘‘USDA’’ in white overlaying a black upper third of the shield and the terms ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ in black overlaying the white or transparent remaining two-thirds of the shield. (3) Use of the ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ statement and the ‘‘USDA Further Processing Certification Program’’ shield shall be approved in writing by the Director prior to use by an applicant. BILLING CODE 3410–02–C § 54.19 Appeal of a grading service decision. involving any question as to the correctness of the original service for the product involved, shall be considered equivalent to original service and not appeal service. (d) Not eligible for appeal service. Grade determinations cannot be appealed for any lot or product consisting of less than 10 similar units or carcasses. Moreover, appeal service will not be furnished with respect to product that has been altered or has undergone any material change since the original service. (e) Withdrawal of appeal service. A request for appeal service may be withdrawn by the applicant at any time before the appeal service has been performed; however, the applicant is responsible for payment of any expenses incurred by the Branch towards providing the appeal service prior to withdrawal. (f) Denial or withdrawal of appeal service. A request for appeal service may be rejected or such service may be otherwise denied to or withdrawn from any person, without a hearing, in accordance with the procedure set forth in § 54.11(b), if it appears that the person or product involved is not eligible for appeal service under § 54.19(a) and (b), or that the identity of the product has been lost; or for any of the causes set forth in § 54.11(b). Appeal service may also be denied to, or withdrawn from, any person in any case under § 54.11(a). (g) Who performs appeal service. Appeal service shall be performed by the National Meat Supervisor or his or her designee. (l)(1) One device used by official graders is the LP–36 Form, a rectangular, serially numbered, red tag on which a shield encloses the words ‘‘USDA Hold.’’ This device constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations for meat and meat products. (2) Official graders and supervisors of grading may use ‘‘USDA Hold’’ tags or other methods and devices as approved by the Administrator for the identification and control of meat and meat products that are not in compliance with the regulations or are held pending the results of an examination. Any such meat or meat product identified shall not be used, moved, or altered in any manner; nor shall official control identification be removed, without the expressed permission of an authorized representative of the USDA. ■ 17. Revise § 54.18 to read as follows: jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES § 54.18 Custody of identification devices. (a) All identification devices used in marking products or their containers, including those indicating compliance with approved specifications, shall be kept in the custody of the Branch, and accurate records shall be kept by the Branch of all such devices. Such devices shall be distributed only to persons authorized by the Department, who will keep the devices in their possession or control at all times. Subpart A—[Amended] 18. Remove undesignated center heading ‘‘Appeal Service’’. ■ 19. Revise § 54.19 to read as follows: ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 Appeal service is a redetermination of the class, grade, other quality, or compliance of product when the applicant for the appeal service formally challenges the correctness of the original determination. (a) Authority to request appeal service. A request for appeal service with respect to any product may be made by any person who is financially interested in the product when that person disagrees with the original determination as to class, grade, other quality, or compliance of the product as shown by the markings on the product or its containers, or as stated in the applicable official memorandum. (b) Requesting appeal service. A request for appeal service shall be filed with the Chief. The request shall state the reasons for appeal and may be accompanied by a copy of any previous official report, or any other information that the applicant may have received regarding the product at the time of the original service. Such request may be made orally (including by telephone) or in writing (including by email). If made orally, the person receiving the request may require that it be confirmed in writing. (c) Determining original service from appeal service. Examination requested to determine the class, grade, other quality, or compliance of a product that has been altered or has undergone a material change since the original service, or examination of product requested for the purpose of obtaining an official memorandum and not PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 ER16SE19.013</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / Rules and Regulations (h) Appeal service report. Immediately after appeal service has been performed for any products, a report shall be prepared and issued referring specifically to the original findings and stating the class, grade, other quality, or compliance of the products as shown by the appeal service. ■ 20. Revise § 54.20 to read as follows: § 54.20 [Removed and reserved] 21. Remove and reserve §§ 54.21 through 54.26. jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES [Removed and reserved] 22. Remove and reserve § 54.30. 23. Revise § 54.31 to read as follows: § 54.31 Dated: September 6, 2019. Bruce Summers, Administrator. Examining the AD Docket BILLING CODE 3410–02–P ■ ■ ■ It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2019– 0324. Exemptions. § § 54.21—54.26 § 54.30 have been approved by OMB under 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35 and have been assigned OMB Control Number 0581– 0128. [FR Doc. 2019–19707 Filed 9–13–19; 8:45 am] Any exemption to the regulations must be approved by the Director. Exemptions may include but are not limited to: (a) Grading the meat of animals in other than carcass form if the class, grade, and other quality attributes may be determined under the applicable official standards. (b) Grading in an establishment other than where the animal was slaughtered or initially chilled if the class, grade, and other quality attributes can be determined under the applicable official standards, and if the identity of the carcasses can be maintained. (c) If the Branch is unable to provide grading service in a timely manner and the meat can be identified in conformance with the official standards. (d) Grading in the establishment other than where the hide is removed, provided the meat can be identified in conformance with the official standards. (e) Grading imported carcasses, provided: (1) The imported carcass is marked so that the name of the country of origin is conspicuous to the USDA grader. The mark of foreign origin shall be imprinted by roller brand, handstamp, tag, or other approved method. (2) The imprints of the mark of foreign origin have been submitted to the Chief for the determination of compliance with these regulations prior to use on meats offered for Federal grading. (3) The applicant notifies the official grader performing the service whenever imported carcasses are offered for grading. (f) For good cause and provided that the meat can be identified in conformance with the official standards and procedures. OMB control number. The information collection and recordkeeping requirements of this part VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Sep 13, 2019 Jkt 247001 48563 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2019–0324; Product Identifier 2019–NM–031–AD; Amendment 39–19726; AD 2019–17–06] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Services B.V. Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100 airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of cracks on certain nose landing gear (NLG) turning tubes resulting from incorrectly applied repairs. This AD requires removing the affected parts and replacing them with serviceable parts. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. DATES: This AD is effective October 21, 2019. The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of October 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: For Fokker service information identified in this final rule, contact Fokker Services B.V., Technical Services Dept., P.O. Box 1357, 2130 EL Hoofddorp, the Netherlands; telephone +31 (0)88–6280–350; fax +31 (0)88– 6280–111; email technicalservices@ fokker.com; internet http:// www.myfokkerfleet.com. For Safran service information identified in this final rule, contact Safran Landing Systems, One Carbon Way, Walton, KY 41094; telephone (859) 525–8583; fax (859) 485–8827; internet https:// www.safran-landing-systems.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206–231–3195. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2019– 0324; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for Docket Operations is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206–231–3226. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 14, 2019 (84 FR 21270). The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracks on certain NLG turning tubes resulting from incorrectly applied repairs. The NPRM proposed to require removing the affected parts and replacing them with serviceable parts. The FAA is issuing this AD to address cracking of NLG turning tubes, which could lead to NLG turning tube failure, possibly resulting in damage to the airplane and injury to occupants. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2019–0037, dated February 19, 2019 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or ‘‘the MCAI’’), to correct an unsafe condition for all Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100 airplanes. The MCAI states: Occurrences have been reported of finding cracks on certain NLG turning tubes. The subsequent investigation results revealed that the cracks initiated from an area that is sensitive to fatigue cracking, which had been subject to incorrectly applied repairs. This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to NLG turning tube E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 179 (Monday, September 16, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48551-48563]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-19707]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

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


Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 179 / Monday, September 16, 2019 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 48551]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 54

[No. AMS-LP-16-0080]


Amendments to the Regulations Governing Meats, Prepared Meats, 
and Meat Products (Grading, Certification, and Standards)

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This final rule informs the public that the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending 
its regulations to update a number of outdated administrative and 
organizational references, clarify agency action as it relates to the 
withdrawal or denial of service, update the official shields and 
grademarks associated with the grading service, and make reference to 
the use of instrument grading equipment as a means of determining 
official grades on beef and lamb carcasses.

DATES: This final rule is effective September 16, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dana K. Stahl, Chief, Grading Services 
Branch, QAD, Livestock and Poultry Program, AMS, USDA; 1400 
Independence Avenue SW; Room 3932-S, Stop 0258, Washington, DC 20250-
0258; (202) 690-3169; or email to [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Orders 12866 and 13771, and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rulemaking does not meet the definition of a significant 
regulatory action contained in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 
and is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB). Additionally, because this rule does not meet the definition of 
a significant regulatory action it does not trigger the requirements 
contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB's Memorandum titled 
``Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of 
January 30, 2017, titled 'Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs' '' (February 2, 2017).
    Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA) [5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.], the Administrator of AMS 
considered the economic effect of this action on small entities and 
determined that this final rule does not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small business entities, because the 
user-fee services that are subject to the requirements of this 
regulation are not subject to scalability based on the business size. 
The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly burdened.
    Currently, approximately 235 applicants subscribe to AMS's 
voluntary, user fee services. The U.S. Small Business Administration's 
Table of Small Business Size Standards matched to the North American 
Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes identifies small business 
size by average annual receipts or by the average number of employees 
at a firm. This information can be found at 13 CFR parts 121.104, 
121.106, and 121.201.
    AMS requires that all applicants for service provide information 
about their company for the purpose of processing bills. Information 
collected from an applicant includes company name, address, billing 
address, and similar information. AMS does not collect information 
about the size of the business. However, based on working knowledge of 
these operations, AMS estimates that roughly 72 percent of current 
applicants may be classified as small entities. It is not anticipated 
that this action will impose additional costs to applicants, regardless 
of size. Current applicants will not be required to provide any 
additional information to receive service. The effects of this final 
rule are not expected to be disproportionately greater or lesser for 
small applicants than for large applicants.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act of 2002 [44 
U.S.C. 101] to promote the use of the internet and other information 
technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to 
government information and services, and for other purposes. 
Accordingly, AMS developed options for companies requesting service to 
do so electronically.
    The USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that 
duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule.

Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act [5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.], 
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this rule 
as not a major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Executive Order 13175

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

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order (E.O.) 
12988, Civil Justice Reform. This final rule is not intended to have 
retroactive effect. The E.O. prohibits states or political subdivisions 
of a state to impose any requirement that is in addition to, or 
inconsistent with, any requirement of the E.O. There are no civil 
justice implications associated with this final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35], this final rule will not change the information collection 
and recordkeeping requirements previously approved and would not impose 
additional reporting or recordkeeping burden on users of these 
voluntary services.
    The information collection and recordkeeping requirements of this 
part have been approved by OMB under 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35 and have been 
assigned OMB Control Number 0581-0128.

[[Page 48552]]

    In September 2014, three separate OMB collections--OMB 0581-0127, 
OMB 0581-0124, and OMB 0581-0128--were merged, such that the current 
OMB 0581-0128 pertains to Regulations for Voluntary Grading, 
Certification, and Standards and includes 7 CFR parts 54, 56, 62, and 
70.

Background and Revisions

    The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.), 
herein after referred to as the ``Act,'' directs and authorizes the 
Secretary of Agriculture to facilitate the competitive and efficient 
marketing of agricultural products. AMS programs support a strategic 
marketing perspective that adapts product and marketing decisions to 
consumer demands and changes in domestic and international marketing 
practices and incorporates emerging technology. AMS provides impartial 
grading and certification services that ensure agricultural products 
meet specified requirements. These services are voluntary, with users 
paying for the cost of the requested service. AMS grading services 
verify that product meets USDA grade standards (e.g., USDA Choice) and 
certify that products meet requirements defined by the company or 
another third-party. Product characteristics such as manner of cut, 
color, and other quality attributes can be directly examined by an AMS 
employee or an authorized agent to determine if product requirements 
have been met. The product can be identified as ``USDA Prime,'' ``USDA 
Choice,'' ``USDA Select,'' ``USDA Certified,'' ``USDA Accepted as 
Specified,'' or ``USDA Further Processing Certification Program.''

Administrative and Organizational Revisions

    In 2012, an organizational merger within AMS combined the Livestock 
and Seed Program and Poultry Programs into the Livestock, Poultry, and 
Seed (LPS) Program. Subsequently, the LPS Program created the Quality 
Assessment Division (QAD) to oversee services carried out by the Audit 
Services Branch, Grading Services Branch, Standardization Branch, and 
the Business Operations Branch. The Grading Services Branch administers 
grading and certification services that were performed by the former 
Meat Grading and Certification Branch of the former Livestock and Seed 
Program and the former Grading Branch of Poultry Programs. In 2018, 
another organizational change caused the LPS Program to be renamed the 
Livestock and Poultry Program.
    Meat grading and certification activities are carried out under 7 
CFR 54, while poultry and shell egg grading and certification 
activities are carried out under 7 CFR 70 and 7 CFR 56, respectively.
    Through this rulemaking, AMS will update a number of administrative 
and organizational references to reflect the current terminology and 
structure of AMS. These amendments include amending Sec.  54.1 to 
change the LPS Program to the Livestock and Poultry Program. Certain 
terms and definitions will be added to, updated in, or deleted from 
Sec.  54.1 to reflect the current organizational structure within the 
Agency. The term and definition for Livestock will be removed from the 
regulation because the use of this definition was fundamentally the 
same as the definition of Animals. The term and definitions for 
Contract verification service will be removed from Sec.  54.1 because 
this service is no longer provided, and a conforming change will be 
made to Sec.  54.4 Kind of service. The definition for Animals will be 
revised to add ``bison,'' as the Agency certifies bison; Chief will be 
revised to identify the Grading Services Branch Chief; Division will be 
revised to identify QAD and appropriately reflect its level within the 
organization; Meat by-products will be revised to exclude brain derived 
from ruminant animals, which is no longer allowed per food safety 
regulations; and the term Standards will be replaced with Official 
standards, and its definition will be revised for consistency within 
the regulation. The terms Yield grade and Appeal service and their 
respective definitions will be added to identify the different types of 
grading service offered under the regulations. The terms Program and 
Deputy Administrator and their respective definitions will be added to 
appropriately recognize the office and leadership within the current 
organizational structure of the Agency.
    Since this regulation has not received significant revisions for 
some time, AMS is revising it to make it consistent with The Plain 
Writing Act of 2010 [Pub. L. 111-274]. To accomplish this, AMS is 
focusing on appropriate pronoun use, omitting unnecessary words, and 
writing short sentences.
    To reflect organizational changes and for consistency with other 
changes to this regulation, AMS will amend Sec.  54.4 Kind of service, 
Sec.  54.6 How to obtain service, Sec.  54.7 Order of furnishing 
service, Sec.  54.8 When request for service deemed made, Sec.  54.9 
Withdrawal of application or request for service, and Sec.  54.10 
Authority of agent.
    AMS will also amend Sec.  54.5 Availability of service by removing 
language that states service will be provided without discrimination, 
as this is a duplicative statement of a requirement that is mandated 
through Departmental regulations, not by AMS.
    AMS will amend Sec.  54.6 How to obtain service by increasing the 
length of time between cancellation of commitment service and 
reapplication for commitment service from 1 to 2 years and clarifying 
that the applicant is responsible for reimbursing relocation costs 
incurred by the Agency to transfer the grader.
    AMS will remove the reference to the Medium grade for lamb, 
yearling lamb, mutton, and pork carcasses in Sec.  54.11(a)(1)(vii). 
The official standards for grades of lamb and mutton carcasses were 
amended in October 1940 (Amendment No. 1 to S.R.A. 123) to change the 
grade designations Medium and Common to Commercial and Utility, 
respectively. In April 1968, the official standards for pork carcasses 
were revised and the former Medium and Cull grades were combined and 
renamed U.S. Utility. Removing the reference to Medium in Sec.  
54.11(a)(1)(vii) aligns the regulatory language with the language 
contained within the official standards.

Clarify Agency Action on Denial or Withdrawal of Service

    AMS will create a stair-stepped approach regarding denial or 
withdrawal of Grading Services Branch services. As written, Sec.  54.11 
requires AMS to go before an administrative law judge to hear a case 
for an applicant accused of misconduct before any action can be taken; 
the process and actions currently identified in this part limit AMS's 
ability to effectively manage its services, including denying, 
withdrawing, or suspending services in a timely manner when warranted 
for reasons of misconduct. Therefore, AMS is clarifying that it shall 
rely first on the Supplemental Rules of Practice in 7 CFR 50 and then, 
if necessary, use the Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory 
Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary Under Various Statues set forth 
in 7 CFR 1.130 through 1.151 when denying, withdrawing, or suspending 
services to applicants. An applicant will still have an opportunity for 
a hearing before an administrative law judge before any permanent 
action occurs.

Other Amendments to the Regulation

    The regulations outlined in this part are intended to describe to 
the public how AMS provides grading and

[[Page 48553]]

certification services and the related processes, not provide 
instruction to employees or repeat requirements covered by another 
Federal regulation. Accordingly, AMS will remove and reserve for future 
use Sec.  54.12 Financial interest of official grader. USDA graders and 
other employees are required to meet and maintain Departmental ethics 
requirements; therefore, AMS has determined that it is unnecessary to 
maintain this administrative item in this regulation. AMS will remove 
and reserve Sec.  54.14 Official certificates, which removes the 
Agricultural Products Certificate Form LS-5-3 and the Applicant Charges 
Certificate Form LS-5-5. These forms were discontinued in 2009, and the 
information they contained is now entered into a database. If an 
applicant requires an official certificate from USDA, an official 
memorandum is issued containing the pertinent information.
    In 2001, vision-based instrument technology was approved for use in 
the official determination of the size of the ribeye area. In 2007, it 
was approved for yield grade determination, and in 2009, it was 
approved for marbling assessment. Although this technology has been 
used as an aid in the application of official USDA beef grades since 
2001, the current regulations make no mention of it. AMS considers the 
use of instrument technology to be an important option for determining 
degrees of marbling in meat carcasses and yield and, therefore, is 
adding a reference to it in Sec.  54.15.
    AMS will appropriately identify and reference figures within Sec.  
54.17. Currently, multiple figures in that section contain the same 
label, Figure 1, which makes it difficult to accurately reference any 
one particular figure. AMS will remove the Carcass Data Service orange 
ear tag from Sec.  54.17, because the Agency no longer prints or 
maintains them and instead allows cattle enrolled in the Carcass Data 
Service to be identified through other approved methods. AMS will 
appropriately identify and reference in Sec.  54.17 the USDA Further 
Processing Certification Program shield used to identify product 
produced under the USDA Further Processing Certification Program. 
Additionally, AMS will amend language within this section to accurately 
identify the USDA Hold tag that is now used in place of the USDA 
Product Control tag. The tag is now red in color as opposed to orange.
    Within Sec.  54.19, AMS will remove the heading APPEAL SERVICE, 
rename Sec.  54.19 as Appeal of a grading service decision, reassign 
amended language from Sec. Sec.  54.20 through 54.26 under Sec.  54.19 
(a) through (h), and subsequently reserve Sec. Sec.  54.21 through 
54.26.
    AMS will rename Sec.  54.20 Exemptions. The amendments will 
identify the requirements within the regulation where exemptions are 
most commonly provided and identify an option for exemptions as seen 
fit by the Director. It also will require the Director to approve all 
exemptions to this regulation. AMS will make conforming changes to 
Sec. Sec.  54.4 Kind of service, 54.5 Availability of service, and 
54.13 Accessibility and refrigeration of products; access to 
establishments.
    Together, amendments to Sec. Sec.  54.5 Availability of service, 
54.13 Accessibility and refrigeration of products; access to 
establishments, and Sec.  54.20 Exemptions clarify the grading of meat 
in less-than-carcass form, and further, that the grading of imported 
carcasses is allowable only under an exemption approved by the 
Director. For clarity, the requirements for grading of imported 
carcasses are addressed within Sec. Sec.  54.20.
    AMS will remove and reserve Sec.  54.30 Errors in service. AMS 
proposed that the subject covered in this Sec.  54.30 is most 
appropriately covered under a policy or procedure rather than a 
regulation.
    Lastly, AMS will replace the title and language of Sec.  54.31 
Uniforms with the title OMB Control Number. AMS believes the subject of 
uniforms is more appropriate under a policy rather than a regulation. 
AMS will add language under this section that clearly identifies the 
OMB control number, OMB 0581-0128, assigned to this regulation in 
accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Summary of Comments

    A proposed rule to amend the Regulations Governing Meats, Prepared 
Meats, and Meat Products (Grading, Certification, and Standards) was 
published in the Federal Register (84 FR 1641) on February 5, 2019. 
Comments on the proposed rule were solicited from interested parties 
until April 8, 2019. AMS received 12 comments: 8 from consumers, 1 from 
an industry company, and 3 from industry trade organizations. One of 
the 12 comments was outside the scope of the regulations.
    Three consumer commenters supported all the amendments as 
beneficial for consumers and producers of meat products, while two 
consumer commenters were supportive of the amendments with the 
exception of 54.13(d), which requires that applicants for grading 
service make products, records, and equipment accessible so that 
graders may perform their duties effectively. This includes offering 
product for grading or certification that is, at a minimum, 90 percent 
acceptable. The two commenters suggested that this number should be 
increased to 100 percent. In response, AMS will maintain the 
requirement as written in the proposed rule, as 90 percent reflects a 
practical and achievable goal that effectively limits ineligible 
product from being offered for grading and certification.
    The 3 industry commenters and 1 company commenter generally 
supported the changes in the proposed rule, with a few exceptions.
    One commenter pointed out that the definition in Sec.  54.1 for 
``Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications'' should be amended to 
include quotation marks to designate ``IMPS'' as an acronym and the 
definition of ``meat by-products'' should be consistent with that used 
by the Food Safety and Inspection Service. In response to these 
suggestions, the Agency is revising the proposed language for the 
definitions of ``Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications'' and 
``meat by-products.''
    One commenter suggested that AMS provide background on the change 
to the reimbursement requirements in Sec.  54.6 from 1 year to 2 years, 
stating that AMS did not provide justification or an impact analysis 
for this change. AMS proposed this change, requiring that the applicant 
be responsible for the cost of relocating a grader should it cancel its 
commitment service and then reinstate it within 2 years, in light of 
the significant expense and disruption to the Agency of relocating a 
grader multiple times within a short period of time, based on previous 
experience. Expanding this requirement to a 2-year timeframe will help 
AMS continue to provide consistent service and a stable work 
environment for AMS employees. Therefore, AMS will maintain the 
requirement as amended in the proposed rule.
    Regarding Sec.  54.11, one commenter recommended revising language 
in the preamble of the final rule to show the distinct order of AMS 
procedures when denying, withdrawing, or suspending service that 
``reflects agency practice and does not represent a tangible change.'' 
AMS agrees and has added clarifying language to the preamble.
    One commenter suggested a revision in 54.13(a) that would replace 
the word ``any'' with ``covered'' or a similar phrase to clarify the 
regulatory intent when talking about marks of grade or compliance. AMS 
has determined not to make this change. By referencing ``any

[[Page 48554]]

marks'' the Agency continues to accept defined marks that are 
recognized within the industry and have replaced official stamps for 
some methods of identification. One example is an ink brush stroke on 
the hock to identify a carcass meeting the Angus breed phenotypic 
specification; this practice reduces the amount of ink on the carcass 
round and therefore reduces trim and waste within the packing sector.
    One industry commenter supported the reference to instrument 
grading in section in Sec.  54.15 and urged USDA to ensure consistency 
of instrument grading calibration.
    One industry commenter supported the proposed changes to the 
marketing grade terms (e.g., Prime, Choice, Select) to indicate the 
level of quality, while two consumer commenters opposed the changes, 
suggesting ``terms such as level 1, level 2, and level 3 may make the 
quality grade meanings clearer to consumers.'' In response to these 
comments, AMS will keep the proposed changes so that marketing grade 
terms remain consistent with the past as the terms are widely known and 
recognized by the industry, consumers, and foreign trading partners.
    Several comments were received regarding the proposed changes to 
Sec.  54.5 and Sec.  54.20 with respect to grading of imported 
carcasses. One commenter asked for clarification on whether, as a 
result of the proposed changes, the eligibility of imported product 
would change significantly. The answer is no. The regulations and AMS 
procedures allow the Agency to grant exemptions to grade imported 
product in carcass form, enabling AMS to use all parts of the official 
standards to determine the appropriate grade. AMS is clarifying that 
exemptions have always been required for the official grading of 
imported carcasses since Sec.  54.5 requires that carcasses come from 
animals slaughtered in establishments that are federally inspected or 
operated under state meat inspection. In the final rule, this 
requirement is maintained under Sec.  54.5 and language is added to 
clarify that the grading of imported carcasses is allowed only under an 
exemption approved by the Director.
    Two commenters supported the general guidance in Sec.  54.20 
allowing additional flexibility under exemptions granted by the Agency. 
One commenter opposed the proposed amendment to Sec.  54.5 that service 
``may be furnished'' instead of ``will be furnished'' for imported 
meat, suggesting instead that the phrase be changed to ``shall be 
provided.'' Another commenter recommended a change to the proposed 
language in Sec.  54.20 authorizing the Director to issue exemptions, 
requesting that ``shall issue'' be added. After consideration, AMS will 
proceed with language of the proposed rule in Sec.  54.5 and Sec.  
54.20 with minor changes. The Agency believes that maintaining 
flexibility in the process by which the Director may approve or deny 
exemptions is necessary to enhance commerce while ensuring decisions 
are for good cause and based upon the supporting documentation provided 
by the applicant. Changing the word ``will'' to ``may'' supports the 
Agency's due diligence to ensure minimal impact upon the industry 
should an exemption be granted and to deny requests if determined 
otherwise.
    One commenter supported the language in Sec.  54.20 that provides 
an exemption allowing for the grading of meat in other-than-carcass 
form ``if the class, grade, and other quality attributes may be 
determined under the applicable standards.'' This commenter suggested 
that as long as an establishment can demonstrate that products 
presented for grading are of the proper class and maturity, and the 
grade can be determined based on the quality attributes of the meat, 
there is no need to limit grading services to whole carcasses. The 
commenter referenced an exemption that AMS granted in 2017 for the 
grading of ribs and loins imported from Mexico. The commenter also 
asked AMS to clarify, in the final rule or in guidance, what criteria 
must be satisfied to demonstrate an animal's class when meat is 
presented for grading in other-than-carcass form.
    In response, AMS maintains that the official standards are written 
in terms of carcasses and sides, and thus the grading of product in 
less-than-carcass form is generally contrary to the standards. AMS 
maintains the flexibility to grant exemptions for product presented in 
other-than-carcass form, but these exemptions are typically for 
religious reasons where a whole carcass has been presented for grading 
as quarters instead of sides. In contrast, AMS maintains that subprimal 
parts, such as ribs and loins, present insufficient criteria by which a 
grader may make an adequate class or quality determination. Therefore, 
AMS will maintain the proposed language in Sec.  54.20 with one 
clarifying change: references to ``meat from imported animals'' and 
``imported meat'' are changed to ``imported carcasses'' for clarity and 
accuracy.
    Coinciding with the publication of this final rule, AMS will be 
amending its procedures (QAD Procedure 504 Import Grading) accordingly.
    One industry commenter opposed any reciprocity of official 
standards and services of USDA beef grades outside the U.S. and also 
opposed other countries utilizing USDA's system and associated terms. 
While AMS considers this comment to be outside the scope of this 
rulemaking, we recognize the industry's concerns.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR 54

    Food grades and standards, Food labeling, Meat and meat products, 
Poultry and poultry products.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, AMS amends 7 CFR part 54 
as follows:

PART 54--MEATS, PREPARED MEATS, AND MEAT PRODUCTS (GRADING, 
CERTIFICATION, AND STANDARDS)

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR 54 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621-1627.


0
2. Amend Sec.  54.1 by:
0
A. Revising the section heading.
0
B. Revising the definitions of ``Administrator,'' ``Animals,'' 
``Branch,'' ``Chief,'' ``Director,'' ``Division,'' ``Institutional Meat 
Purchase Specifications,'' ``Meat by-products'', and ``Service''.
0
C. Adding in alphabetical order the definitions ``Appeal service,'' 
``Deputy Administrator,'' ``Official standards,'' and ``Program''.
0
D. Removing the definitions for ``Contract verification service,'' 
``Livestock,'' ``Standards''.
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  54.1  Meaning of words and terms defined.

* * * * *
    Administrator. The Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing 
Service (AMS), or any officer or employee of the AMS to whom authority 
has been or may be delegated to act in the Administrator's stead.
* * * * *
    Animals. Bison, cattle, goats, sheep, swine, or other species 
identified by the Administrator.
* * * * *
    Appeal service. Appeal service is a redetermination of the class, 
grade, other quality, or compliance of product when the applicant for 
the appeal service formally challenges the correctness of the original 
determination.
* * * * *

[[Page 48555]]

    Branch. The Grading Services Branch of the Division.
* * * * *
    Chief. The Chief of the Grading Services Branch, or any officer or 
employee of the Branch to whom authority has been or may be delegated 
to act in the Chief's stead.
* * * * *
    Deputy Administrator. The Deputy Administrator of the Program, or 
any other officer or employee of the Program to whom authority has been 
or may be delegated to act in the Deputy Administrator's stead.
    Director. The Director of the Division, or any officer or employee 
of the Division to whom authority has been or may be delegated to act 
in the Director's stead.
* * * * *
    Division. The Quality Assessment Division of the Livestock and 
Poultry Program.
* * * * *
    Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications. Specifications 
describing various meat cuts, meat products, and meat food products 
derived from species covered in the definition of Animals above, 
commonly abbreviated ``IMPS,'' and intended for use by any meat 
procuring activity. For labeling purposes, only product certified by 
the Grading Services Branch may contain the letters ``IMPS'' on the 
product label.
* * * * *
    Meat by-products. Any part capable of use as human food, other than 
meat, which has been derived from one or more cattle, sheep, swine, or 
goats.
* * * * *
    Official standards. Official standards refer to the United States 
Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef; the United States Standards for 
Grades of Veal and Calf Carcasses; the United States Standards for 
Grades of Lamb, Yearling Mutton, and Mutton Carcasses; and/or the 
United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses.
* * * * *
    Program. The Livestock and Poultry Program of the Agricultural 
Marketing Service.
    Service. Services offered by the Grading Services Branch such as 
Grading Service, Certification Service, and Carcass Data Service.
* * * * *
    Yield grade. The indicated yield of closely trimmed (\1/2\ inch fat 
or less), boneless retail cuts expected to be derived from the major 
wholesale cuts (round, sirloin, short loin, rib, and square-cut chuck) 
of a carcass.

0
3. Revise Sec.  54.4 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.4  Kind of service.

    (a) Grading Service consists of the determination, certification, 
and identification of the class, grade, or other quality attributes of 
products under applicable official standards.
    (b) Certification Service consists of the determination, 
certification, and identification of products to an approved 
specification. Determination of product compliance with specifications 
for ingredient content or method of preparation may be based upon 
information received from the inspection system having jurisdiction 
over the products involved.
    (c) Carcass Data Service consists of the evaluation of carcass 
characteristics of animals identified with an approved ear tag to 
applicable official standards or specifications, and the recording and 
transmitting of the associated data to the applicant or a party 
designated by the applicant.

0
4. Revise Sec.  54.5 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.5  Availability of service.

    Service under these regulations may be made available to products 
shipped or received in interstate commerce. It also may be made 
available to the products not shipped or received if the Director or 
Chief determines that the furnishing of service for such products will 
facilitate the marketing, distribution, processing, or utilization of 
agricultural products through commercial channels. Service will be 
furnished for products only if they were derived from animals 
slaughtered in federally inspected establishments or establishments 
operated under state meat inspection in a state other than one 
designated in 9 CFR 331.2. Service may be furnished for imported 
carcasses only if an exemption to do so is granted by the Director as 
described in Sec.  54.20.

0
5. Revise Sec.  54.6 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.6  How to obtain service.

    (a) Application. Any person may apply for service with respect to 
products in which he or she has a financial interest by completing the 
required application for service. In any case in which the service is 
intended to be furnished at an establishment not operated by the 
applicant, the application shall be approved by the operator of such 
establishment and such approval shall constitute an authorization for 
any employee of the Department to enter the establishment for the 
purpose of performing his or her functions under the regulations. The 
application shall include:
    (1) Name and address of the establishment at which service is 
desired;
    (2) Name and mailing address of the applicant;
    (3) Financial interest of the applicant in the products, except 
where application is made by a representative of a Government agency in 
the representative's official capacity;
    (4) Signature of the applicant (or the signature and title of the 
applicant's representative);
    (5) Indication of the legal status of the applicant as an 
individual, partnership, corporation, or other form of legal entity; 
and
    (6) The legal designation of the applicant's business as a small or 
large business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration's 
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes.
    (b) Notice of eligibility for service. The applicant will be 
notified whether the application is approved or denied.
    (c) Request by applicant for service: (1) Noncommitment. Upon 
notification of the approval of an application for service, the 
applicant may, from time-to-time as desired, make oral or written 
requests for service to be furnished with respect to specific products. 
Such requests shall be made at an office for grading, either directly 
or through an AMS employee.
    (2) Commitment. If desired, the applicant may request to enter into 
an agreement with AMS to furnish service on a weekly commitment basis, 
where the applicant agrees to pay for 8 hours of service per day, 5 
days per week, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal legal holidays 
occurring Monday through Friday on which no grading and certification 
services are performed, and AMS agrees to make an official grader 
available to provide service for the applicant. However, AMS reserves 
the right to use any official grader assigned to a commitment applicant 
to perform service for other applicants when, in the opinion of the 
Chief, the official grader is not needed to perform service for the 
commitment applicant. In those instances, the applicant will not be 
charged for the work of the grader assigned to his or her facility.
    (3) If an applicant who terminates commitment grading service 
requests service again within a 2-year period from the date of the 
initial termination, the applicant will be responsible for all 
relocation costs associated with the grader assigned to fulfill the new 
service agreement. If more than one applicant is involved, expenses 
will be prorated according to each applicant's committed portion of the 
official grader's services.

0
6. Revise Sec.  54.7 to read as follows:

[[Page 48556]]

Sec.  54.7  Order of furnishing service.

    Service shall be furnished to applicants in the order in which 
requests are received. Preference will be given, when necessary, to 
requests made by any government agency or any regular user of the 
service, and to requests for appeal service under Sec.  54.19.

0
7. Revise Sec.  54.8 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.8  When request for service deemed made.

    A request for service is considered made when received by the 
designated office as identified on the Application for Service form. 
Records showing the date and time of the request shall be made and 
maintained in the designated office.

0
8. Revise Sec.  54.9 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.9  Withdrawal of application or request for service.

    An application or a request for service may be withdrawn by the 
applicant at any time before the application is approved or prior to 
performance of service. In accordance with Sec. Sec.  54.27 and 54.28, 
any expenses already incurred by AMS in connection with the review of 
an application or fulfilling a request for service are the 
responsibility of the applicant.

0
9. Revise Sec.  54.10 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.10  Authority of agent.

    Proof that any person making an application or a request for 
service on behalf of any other person has the authority to do so may be 
required at the discretion of the Director or Chief.

0
10. Amend Sec.  54.11 by revising the section heading, paragraph (a)(1) 
introductory text, and paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (iii), (vii), (x), 
and (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  54.11  Denial, conditional withdrawal, or suspension of service.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Basis for denial or withdrawal. An application or a request for 
service may be rejected, or the benefits of the service may be 
otherwise denied to, or withdrawn from, any person who, or whose 
employee or agent in the scope of the individual's employment or 
agency:
    (i) Has willfully made any misrepresentation or has committed any 
other fraudulent or deceptive practice in connection with any 
application or request for service;
    (ii) Has given or attempted to give, as a loan or for any other 
purpose, any money, favor, or other thing of value, to any employee of 
the Department authorized to perform any function;
    (iii) Has interfered with or obstructed, or attempted to interfere 
with or to obstruct, any employee of the Department in the performance 
of his or her duties under the regulations by intimidation, threats, 
assaults, abuse, or any other improper means;
* * * * *
    (vii) Has applied the designation ``US'' or ``USDA'' and ``Prime,'' 
``Choice,'' ``Select,'' ``Good,'' ``Standard,'' ``Commercial,'' 
``Utility,'' ``Cutter,'' ``Canner,'' ``Cull,'' ``No. 1,'' ``No. 2,'' 
``No. 3,'' ``No. 4,'' ``Yield Grade 1,'' ``Yield Grade 2,'' ``Yield 
Grade 3,'' ``Yield Grade 4,'' ``Yield Grade 5,'' and ``USDA Accepted as 
Specified,'' by stamp or text enclosed within a shield, or brand 
directly on any carcass, wholesale cut, or retail cut of any carcass, 
or has applied the aforementioned designations including ``USDA 
Certified,'' and ``USDA Further Processing Certification Program'' on 
the marketing material associated with any such product as part of a 
grade designation or product specification;
* * * * *
    (x) Has in any manner not specified in this paragraph violated 
subsection 203(h) of the Act: Provided, that paragraph (a)(1)(vi) of 
this section shall not be deemed to be violated if the person in 
possession of any item mentioned therein notifies the Director or Chief 
without delay that the person has possession of such item and, in the 
case of an official device, surrenders it to the Chief, and, in the 
case of any other item, surrenders it to the Director or Chief or 
destroys it or brings it into compliance with the regulations by 
obliterating or removing the violative features under supervision of 
the Director or Chief: And provided further, that paragraphs (a)(1) 
(ii) through (ix) of this section shall not be deemed to be violated by 
any act committed by any person prior to the making of an application 
of service under the regulations by the principal person. An 
application or a request for service may be rejected or the benefits of 
the service may be otherwise denied to, or withdrawn from, any person 
who operates an establishment for which that person has made 
application for service if, with the knowledge of such operator, any 
other person conducting any operations in such establishment has 
committed any of the offenses specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through 
(x) of this section after such application was made. Moreover, an 
application or a request for service made in the name of a person 
otherwise eligible for service under the regulations may be rejected, 
or the benefits of the service may be otherwise denied to, or withdrawn 
from, such a person: (A) In case the service is or would be performed 
at an establishment operated:
    (1) By a corporation, partnership, or other person from whom the 
benefits of the service are currently being withheld under this 
paragraph; or
    (2) By a corporation, partnership, or other person having an 
officer, director, partner, or substantial investor from whom the 
benefits of the service are currently being withheld and who has any 
authority with respect to the establishment where service is or would 
be performed; or
    (B) In case the service is or would be performed with respect to 
any product with which any corporation, partnership, or other person 
within paragraph (a)(1)(x)(A)(1) of this section has a contract or 
other financial interest.
    (2) Procedure. All cases arising under this paragraph shall be 
initially conducted in accordance with the Supplemental Rules of 
Practice in part 50 of this chapter. Any issue unable to be resolved 
under part 50 of this chapter shall be resolved or handled in 
accordance with the Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory 
Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary Under Various Statutes set 
forth in Sec. Sec.  1.130 through 1.151 of this title.
* * * * *


Sec.  54.12  [Removed and Reserved]

0
11. Remove and reserve Sec.  54.12.

0
12. Revise Sec.  54.13 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.13  Accessibility and refrigeration of products; access to 
establishments; suitable work environment; and access to records.

    (a) The applicant shall make products easily accessible for 
examination, with appropriate and adequate illuminating facilities, in 
order to disclose their class, grade, other quality characteristics, 
and compliance with official standards or other contractual 
requirements for which service is being provided. Supervisors of 
grading and other employees of the Department responsible for 
maintaining uniformity and accuracy of service shall have access to all 
parts of establishments covered by approved applications for service 
under the regulations, for the purpose of examining all products in the 
establishments that have been or are to be graded or examined for 
compliance with specifications or which bear any marks of grade or 
compliance.
    (b) Grading service will be furnished only for meat that an 
official grader determines is chilled so that grade factors are 
developed to the extent that

[[Page 48557]]

a proper grade determination can be made in accordance with the 
official standards. Meat that is presented in a frozen condition is not 
eligible for a grade determination. Meat of all eligible species shall 
be graded only in the establishment where the animal was slaughtered or 
initially chilled (except for veal and calf carcasses, which will be 
graded only after the hide is removed and only in the establishment 
where such removal occurs).
    (c) Applicants are responsible for providing a work environment 
where official graders are not subjected to physical and/or verbal 
abuse, or other elements that could have a negative effect on providing 
an unbiased, third-party evaluation. Applicants shall designate primary 
company representatives to discuss grade placements and certification 
determinations with official graders.
    (d) Applicants will make products and related records (approved 
labeling, technical proposals, quality plans, specifications, end 
product data schedules, grade volume information, etc.) easily 
accessible and provide assistance and any equipment necessary to 
accomplish the requested services. Equipment may include storage 
lockers/cabinets, branding ink, certified scales, food blenders, 
processors, grinders, sampling containers, sanitation equipment, 
thermometers, adequate lighting, weight tags, display monitors, video 
equipment for monitoring live animal schedules, etc. When offering 
product for grading or certification, applicants must ensure a minimum 
of 90 percent acceptable product.
    (e) Applicants will provide a metal cabinet(s) or locker(s) for the 
secure storage of official meat grading equipment and identification 
devices for each official meat grader assigned to their establishment. 
Such cabinet(s) or locker(s) must be capable of being locked with a 
Government-owned lock and be located in an easily accessible and secure 
location within the applicant's establishment.


Sec.  54.14  [Removed and Reserved]

0
13. Remove and reserve Sec.  54.14.


Sec.  54.15  Instrument grading.

0
14. Revise Sec.  54.15 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.15  Instrument grading.

    (a) Applicants may use USDA-approved technologies to augment the 
official USDA grading process for approved species presented for 
official grading. This voluntary program may be utilized by a plant at 
its discretion but must comply with QAD procedures to be recognized and 
relied upon by the official grader in conducting official duties.
    (b) Applicants have the option to augment quality and yield grading 
services through the use of vision-based instrument technology. 
Instrument grading may be used as an option for determining degrees of 
marbling and yield factors for meat carcasses. AMS approves the grading 
instrument itself and its use within individual applicant facilities. 
Applicants may contact grading supervision to initiate the process for 
in-plant approval. The process for instrument grading approval at an 
applicant's facility is dictated through internal procedures. Final 
determination of quality and yield grades is made by the official 
grader.


Sec.  54.15  Instrument grading.

0
15. Revise Sec.  54.16 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.16  Marking of products.

    All products examined for class and grade under the official 
standards, or the immediate containers and the shipping containers, 
shall be stamped, branded, or otherwise marked with an appropriate 
official identification. Except as otherwise directed by the Director, 
such markings will not be required when an applicant desires only an 
official memorandum. The marking of products, or their containers, as 
required by this section shall be done by official graders or under 
their immediate supervision.


Sec.  54.15  Instrument grading.

0
16. Revise Sec.  54.17 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.17  Official identifications.

    (a) A shield enclosing the letters ``USDA'' and identification 
letters assigned to the grader performing the service, as shown in 
Figure 1 to paragraph (a) of this section, constitutes a form of 
official identification under the regulations for preliminary grade of 
carcasses. This form of official identification may also be used to 
determine the final quality grade of carcasses; one stamp equates to 
``USDA Select'' or ``USDA Good''; two stamps placed together vertically 
equates to ``USDA Choice''; and three stamps placed together vertically 
equates to ``USDA Prime.''
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.002

    (b) A shield enclosing the letters ``USDA,'' as shown in Figure 2 
to paragraph (b) of this section, with the appropriate quality grade 
designation ``Prime,'' ``Choice,'' ``Select,'' ``Good,'' ``Standard,'' 
``Commercial,'' ``Utility,'' ``Cutter,'' ``Canner,'' or ``Cull,'' as 
provided in the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef, the 
United States Standards for Grades of Veal and Calf Carcasses, and the 
United States Standards for Grades of Lamb, Yearling Mutton, and Mutton 
Carcasses; and accompanied by the class designation ``Bullock,'' 
``Veal,'' ``Calf,'' ``Lamb,'' ``Yearling Mutton,'' or ``Mutton,'' 
constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to 
show the quality grade, and where necessary, the class, under said 
standards, of steer, heifer, and cow beef, veal, calf, lamb, yearling 
mutton, and mutton. The identification letters assigned to the grader 
performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the 
shield.

[[Page 48558]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.003

    (c) A shield enclosing the letters ``USDA'' and the words ``Yield 
Grade,'' as in Figure 3 to paragraph (c) of this section, with the 
appropriate yield grade designation ``1,'' ``2,'' ``3,'' ``4,'' or 
``5'' as provided in the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass 
Beef and the United States Standards for Grades of Lamb, Yearling 
Mutton, and Mutton Carcasses, constitutes a form of official 
identification under the regulations to show the yield grade under said 
standards. When yield graded, bull and bullock carcasses will be 
identified with the class designation ``Bull'' and ``Bullock,'' 
respectively. The identification letters assigned to the grader 
performing the service will appear underneath and outside of the 
shield.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.004

    (d) For combined quality and yield grade identification purposes 
only, a shield enclosing the letters ``US'' on one side and ``DA'' on 
the other, with the appropriate yield grade designation number ``1,'' 
``2,'' ``3,'' ``4,'' or ``5,'' and with the appropriate quality grade 
designation of ``Prime,'' ``Choice,'' ``Select,'' ``Good,'' 
``Standard,'' ``Commercial,'' ``Utility,'' ``Cutter,'' ``Canner,'' or 
``Cull,'' as shown in Figure 4 to paragraph (d) of this section, 
constitutes a form of official identification under the regulations to 
show the quality and yield grade under said standards. The 
identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service 
will appear underneath and outside of the shield.

[[Page 48559]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.005

    (e) Under the regulations, for yield grade identification purposes 
only, a shield enclosing the letters ``US'' on one side and ``DA'' on 
the other, and with the appropriate yield grade designation number 
``1,'' ``2,'' ``3,'' ``4,'' or ``5,'' as shown in Figure 5 to paragraph 
(e) of this section, constitutes a form of official identification 
under the regulations to show the yield grade under said standards. The 
identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service 
will appear underneath and outside of the shield.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.006

    (f) For quality grade identification only, a shield enclosing the 
letters ``US'' on one side and ``DA'' on the other with the appropriate 
quality grade designation of ``Prime,'' ``Choice,'' ``Select,'' 
``Good,'' ``Standard,'' ``Commercial,'' ``Utility,'' ``Cutter,'' 
``Canner,'' or ``Cull,'' as shown in Figure 6 to paragraph (f) of this 
section, constitutes a form of official identification under the 
regulations to show the yield grade under said standards. The 
identification letters assigned to the grader performing the service 
will appear underneath and outside of the shield.

[[Page 48560]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.007

    (g) As shown in Figure 7 to paragraph (g) of this section, a shield 
enclosing the letters ``USDA'' with the appropriate grade designation 
``1,'' ``2,'' ``3,'' ``4,'' or ``Utility,'' as provided in the Official 
United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses, constitutes a 
form of official identification under the regulations to show the grade 
under said standards of barrow, gilt, and sow pork carcasses.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.008

    (h) The following constitute forms of official identification under 
the regulations to show compliance of products:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.009


[[Page 48561]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.010

    (i) Figure 10 to paragraph (i) of this section, constitutes 
official identification to show quality system certification.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.011

    (j) Figure 11 to paragraph (j) of this section, constitutes 
official identification to show that products produced under USDA AMS 
supervision that meet specified requirements may carry the ``USDA 
Certified'' statement and/or ``USDA Certified'' shield, so long as each 
is used in direct association with a clear description of the standard 
or other requirement(s) to which the product claims to be certified.
    (1) The ``USDA Certified'' shield must replicate the form and 
design of the example in Figure 11 and must be printed legibly and 
conspicuously:
    (i) On a white background, with the term ``USDA'' in white 
overlaying a blue upper third of the shield and the term ``Certified'' 
in black overlaying a white middle third of the shield, with no terms 
in the red lower third of the shield; or
    (ii) On a white or transparent background with a black trimmed 
shield, with the term ``USDA'' in white overlaying a black upper third 
of the shield and the term ``Certified'' in black overlaying the white 
or transparent remaining two-thirds of the shield.
    (2) Use of the ``USDA Certified'' statement and the ``USDA 
Certified'' shield shall be approved in writing by the Director prior 
to use by an applicant.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.012

    (k) Figure 12 to paragraph (k) of this section, constitutes 
official identification to show product or services produced under an 
approved USDA Further Processing Certification Program (FPCP):
    (1) Products produced under an approved USDA FPCP may use the 
``USDA Further Processing Certification Program'' statement and the 
``USDA Further Processing Certification Program'' shield; and
    (2) The USDA Further Processing Certification Program shield must 
replicate the form and design of the example in Figure 12 to paragraph 
(k) of this section and must be printed legibly and conspicuously:

[[Page 48562]]

    (i) On a white background, with the term ``USDA'' in white 
overlaying a blue upper third of the shield and the terms ``USDA 
Further Processing Certification Program'' in black overlaying a white 
middle third of the shield, with no terms in the red lower third of the 
shield; or
    (ii) On a white or transparent background with a black trimmed 
shield, with the term ``USDA'' in white overlaying a black upper third 
of the shield and the terms ``USDA Further Processing Certification 
Program'' in black overlaying the white or transparent remaining two-
thirds of the shield.
    (3) Use of the ``USDA Further Processing Certification Program'' 
statement and the ``USDA Further Processing Certification Program'' 
shield shall be approved in writing by the Director prior to use by an 
applicant.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16SE19.013

BILLING CODE 3410-02-C
    (l)(1) One device used by official graders is the LP-36 Form, a 
rectangular, serially numbered, red tag on which a shield encloses the 
words ``USDA Hold.'' This device constitutes a form of official 
identification under the regulations for meat and meat products.
    (2) Official graders and supervisors of grading may use ``USDA 
Hold'' tags or other methods and devices as approved by the 
Administrator for the identification and control of meat and meat 
products that are not in compliance with the regulations or are held 
pending the results of an examination. Any such meat or meat product 
identified shall not be used, moved, or altered in any manner; nor 
shall official control identification be removed, without the expressed 
permission of an authorized representative of the USDA.

0
17. Revise Sec.  54.18 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.18  Custody of identification devices.

    (a) All identification devices used in marking products or their 
containers, including those indicating compliance with approved 
specifications, shall be kept in the custody of the Branch, and 
accurate records shall be kept by the Branch of all such devices. Such 
devices shall be distributed only to persons authorized by the 
Department, who will keep the devices in their possession or control at 
all times.

Subpart A--[Amended]

0
18. Remove undesignated center heading ``Appeal Service''.

0
19. Revise Sec.  54.19 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.19  Appeal of a grading service decision.

    Appeal service is a redetermination of the class, grade, other 
quality, or compliance of product when the applicant for the appeal 
service formally challenges the correctness of the original 
determination.
    (a) Authority to request appeal service. A request for appeal 
service with respect to any product may be made by any person who is 
financially interested in the product when that person disagrees with 
the original determination as to class, grade, other quality, or 
compliance of the product as shown by the markings on the product or 
its containers, or as stated in the applicable official memorandum.
    (b) Requesting appeal service. A request for appeal service shall 
be filed with the Chief. The request shall state the reasons for appeal 
and may be accompanied by a copy of any previous official report, or 
any other information that the applicant may have received regarding 
the product at the time of the original service. Such request may be 
made orally (including by telephone) or in writing (including by 
email). If made orally, the person receiving the request may require 
that it be confirmed in writing.
    (c) Determining original service from appeal service. Examination 
requested to determine the class, grade, other quality, or compliance 
of a product that has been altered or has undergone a material change 
since the original service, or examination of product requested for the 
purpose of obtaining an official memorandum and not involving any 
question as to the correctness of the original service for the product 
involved, shall be considered equivalent to original service and not 
appeal service.
    (d) Not eligible for appeal service. Grade determinations cannot be 
appealed for any lot or product consisting of less than 10 similar 
units or carcasses. Moreover, appeal service will not be furnished with 
respect to product that has been altered or has undergone any material 
change since the original service.
    (e) Withdrawal of appeal service. A request for appeal service may 
be withdrawn by the applicant at any time before the appeal service has 
been performed; however, the applicant is responsible for payment of 
any expenses incurred by the Branch towards providing the appeal 
service prior to withdrawal.
    (f) Denial or withdrawal of appeal service. A request for appeal 
service may be rejected or such service may be otherwise denied to or 
withdrawn from any person, without a hearing, in accordance with the 
procedure set forth in Sec.  54.11(b), if it appears that the person or 
product involved is not eligible for appeal service under Sec.  
54.19(a) and (b), or that the identity of the product has been lost; or 
for any of the causes set forth in Sec.  54.11(b). Appeal service may 
also be denied to, or withdrawn from, any person in any case under 
Sec.  54.11(a).
    (g) Who performs appeal service. Appeal service shall be performed 
by the National Meat Supervisor or his or her designee.

[[Page 48563]]

    (h) Appeal service report. Immediately after appeal service has 
been performed for any products, a report shall be prepared and issued 
referring specifically to the original findings and stating the class, 
grade, other quality, or compliance of the products as shown by the 
appeal service.

0
20. Revise Sec.  54.20 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.20  Exemptions.

    Any exemption to the regulations must be approved by the Director. 
Exemptions may include but are not limited to:
    (a) Grading the meat of animals in other than carcass form if the 
class, grade, and other quality attributes may be determined under the 
applicable official standards.
    (b) Grading in an establishment other than where the animal was 
slaughtered or initially chilled if the class, grade, and other quality 
attributes can be determined under the applicable official standards, 
and if the identity of the carcasses can be maintained.
    (c) If the Branch is unable to provide grading service in a timely 
manner and the meat can be identified in conformance with the official 
standards.
    (d) Grading in the establishment other than where the hide is 
removed, provided the meat can be identified in conformance with the 
official standards.
    (e) Grading imported carcasses, provided:
    (1) The imported carcass is marked so that the name of the country 
of origin is conspicuous to the USDA grader. The mark of foreign origin 
shall be imprinted by roller brand, handstamp, tag, or other approved 
method.
    (2) The imprints of the mark of foreign origin have been submitted 
to the Chief for the determination of compliance with these regulations 
prior to use on meats offered for Federal grading.
    (3) The applicant notifies the official grader performing the 
service whenever imported carcasses are offered for grading.
    (f) For good cause and provided that the meat can be identified in 
conformance with the official standards and procedures.


Sec.  Sec.  54.21--54.26  [Removed and reserved]

0
21. Remove and reserve Sec. Sec.  54.21 through 54.26.


Sec.  54.30  [Removed and reserved]

0
22. Remove and reserve Sec.  54.30.

0
23. Revise Sec.  54.31 to read as follows:


Sec.  54.31  OMB control number.

    The information collection and recordkeeping requirements of this 
part have been approved by OMB under 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35 and have been 
assigned OMB Control Number 0581-0128.

    Dated: September 6, 2019.
Bruce Summers,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-19707 Filed 9-13-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P