The FSIS Requests Approval to Changes Surrounding Voluntary Recall Paperwork

In an effort to reduce paperwork, the FSIS has also announced its intent to change the information collection involved in voluntary recalls of meat, poultry, and egg products, specifically as it pertains to its recall effectiveness checks. The currently approved information collection is set to expire on September 30, 2018 if not changed or renewed. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and the Office of Management and Budget regulations, the FSIS estimates these new changes will reduce the paperwork burden on respondents by 2,000 hours.

As the government body which verifies that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe for public consumption, the FSIS is responsible for making sure that these items are wholesome, unadulterated, and properly packaged and labeled. If a producer fails in one of these arenas and distributes a product that may be harmful to the public, the FSIS will then request that the producer recall its product. In addition, the FSIS asks that the producer provide them with basic information such as the identity of the product, the reason for recall, and distributor, retail, and shipping information.

During a recall, the FSIS will also conduct “recall effectiveness checks” by contacting the retail and consumer level businesses that may have sold the recalled product (if the product has made it this far). The purpose of this communication and resulting paperwork is to ensure that businesses have received notice of the recall, to verify how much of the product they have received, and to confirm they have removed it from their shelves. It is this paperwork that the FSIS wishes to change.

Armed with updated information on their recall effectiveness checks (obtained by an information collection assessment), the FSIS estimates that the total paperwork burden on those importers, distributors, and other consumer-level retailers who receive a recalled product is about 1.08 hours per respondent each year. There are an estimated 6,090 respondents, resulting in a total of up to 6,600 hours annually. The FSIS believes its proposed changes will significantly reduce this burden.

The details of the information collection assessment are available upon request from FSIS offices, and they are currently accepting feedback to determine if the proposed changes will allow recall effectiveness checks to be performed in the most efficient, accurate, and least burdensome manner possible. The FSIS will also be accepting comments on whether automated, electronic, or other technological collection techniques or information technology would be helpful in minimizing the burden for respondents.

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