[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 105 (Monday, June 1, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33034-33036]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [http://www.gpo.gov/]
[FR Doc No: 2020-11264]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 352

[Docket No. FSIS-2019-0028]
RIN 0583-AD83

Inspection of Yak and Other Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae 

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to 
amend its regulations to define yak and include it among ``exotic 
animals'' eligible for voluntary inspection. This proposed change 
responds to a petition for rulemaking. It would officially allow yak 
products to be voluntarily inspected and to bear the USDA voluntary 
mark of inspection, benefitting the yak industry. FSIS is also 
requesting comments on whether all farmed-raised species in the 
biological families Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae, if not already 
subject to mandatory inspection, should be eligible for voluntary 
inspection, and whether any species in these families should be added 
to the list of amenable species requiring mandatory inspection. FSIS 
already requires mandatory inspection for several species of the Family 
Bovidae (cattle, sheep, and goats). The Agency also provides voluntary 
inspection to several species of Bovidae not subject to mandatory 
inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as several 
species of Cervidae. These species include: Reindeer, elk, deer, 
antelope, water buffalo, and bison.

DATES: Submit comments on or before July 31, 2020.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on the 
proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by one of the following 
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the 
ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this 
web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
     Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-
     Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2019-0028. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to http://www.regulations.gov/.
    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, 
call (202) 720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Edelstein, Acting Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development; Telephone: 
(202) 720-0399.



    Under the Agricultural Marketing Act (AMA; 7 U.S.C. 1622 (h)) and 
the regulations at 9 CFR part 352, FSIS conducts voluntary inspection 
of exotic animals, when requested by an establishment. In the 
regulations at 9 CFR 352.1(k), FSIS defines ``exotic animals'' to 
include reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, water buffalo, and bison. Yak is 
not currently listed in the regulations as an ``exotic animal.'' 
However, the Agency has been inspecting yak under its voluntary program 
for several years.
    In 2014, FSIS issued a memo rescinding all labels for yak product, 
because the species was not listed as an ``exotic animal'' eligible for 
voluntary inspection. On September 3, 2014, the International Yak 
Association (IYAK) submitted a petition for rulemaking, under 9 CFR 
part 392, requesting that FSIS amend 9 CFR 352.1(k) to include yak 
under the definition of an ``exotic animal.'' The petition is available 
on FSIS's website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/db2ac10c-7b92-4bb4-a0d3-885641738711/Petition-YAK-112014.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. The petitioner stated that because FSIS had 
voluntarily inspected yak for many years, it had created an expectation 
among breeders and buyers that FSIS would continue to inspect yak. 
Furthermore, the petitioner argued that withdrawing voluntary 
inspection services could significantly harm the yak industry. On 
November 21, 2014, IYAK submitted additional supporting data. IYAK had 
surveyed United States yak producers and found that continued FSIS 
inspection of yak meat is critical to the industry as a whole.\1\ After 
reviewing the petition and supporting data, FSIS decided to grant the 
petition and stated that it would continue to voluntarily inspect yak 
while FSIS went through rulemaking to add yak to the list of exotic 
animals eligible for voluntary inspection (https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/aa5f69d7-ddc6-44bc-9ff3-bc9489fcd338/IYAK-FSIS-response-120314.pdf?MOD=AJPERES and https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c109452f-4497-4144-815e-6a382b94a113/FSIS-Final-Response-IAK-080315.pdf?MOD=AJPERES). At the time, FSIS was unable to predict when 
it would initiate rulemaking.

    \1\ IYAK asked that the supporting data remain confidential 
because it contains proprietary information.

Proposed Rule

    FSIS is now proposing to amend 9 CFR part 352 to define yak and to 
add it to the list of exotic animals eligible for voluntary inspection. 
Under this proposed rule, yak would be defined as a long-haired bovid 
animal originally found throughout the Himalaya region of southern 
Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau. As is noted above, FSIS is 
currently inspecting yak slaughter and processing under voluntary 
inspection services. Yak inspection is similar to that of other 
Bovidae, including cattle.

Request for Public Comment

    Over the years, FSIS has received inquiries about its voluntary 
inspection program from various animal producers

[[Page 33035]]

and growers. Because of interest from these stakeholders, FSIS is 
requesting comments as to whether the regulations should be amended to 
list as eligible for voluntary inspection all farm-raised species in 
the biological families Cervidae (e.g., moose, all deer and elk), all 
Bovidae not currently subject to mandatory inspection (e.g., water 
buffalo and impalas), and Camelidae (e.g., camel, llama, and alpaca).
    FSIS provides voluntary inspection of some species in the 
biological families Bovidae and Cervidae under the AMA. Currently, all 
``exotic animals,'' as defined in the regulations, fall under these two 
families. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has 
jurisdiction over the slaughter and processing of species of the 
biological family Camelidae, as do some state or local agencies. FSIS 
does not provide voluntary inspection for any of these species but is 
requesting comment on this issue because there has been stakeholder 
interest in FSIS expanding its services to include Camelidae.
    Based on interest from stakeholders, FSIS also requests comment as 
to whether any species in these families, if not currently subject to 
mandatory inspection, should be. As discussed above, FSIS already 
requires the inspection of some species of the biological family 
Bovidae under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA; 21 U.S.C. 601(w)). 
These species include cattle, sheep, and goats.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess 
all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 
13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, 
of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. 
This proposed rule has been designated as a ``non-significant'' 
regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866. Accordingly, the 
rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
under E.O. 12866.

Expected Costs of the Proposed Rule

    If this rule is finalized, FSIS does not expect any additional 
industry or Agency costs because, although yak is not currently listed 
as an ``exotic animal'' eligible for voluntary inspection, FSIS has 
been inspecting yak under the voluntary inspection program for many 

Expected Benefits of the Proposed Rule

    In 2014, IYAK conducted a National Yak Industry Survey to support 
its petition requesting that FSIS amend 9 CFR 352.1(k) to include Yak 
under the definition of an ``exotic animal.'' According to IYAK's 
survey, FSIS voluntarily inspected 109 yaks from 22 establishments in 
2014. The IYAK survey also stated that there were 33 total 
establishments slaughtering yak in 2014. From 2014 to November 8, 2019, 
22 unique establishments submitted a total of 70 yak product labels to 
the FSIS Labeling and Program Delivery Staff (LPDS) for approval.\2\ 
These establishments would benefit from being able to continue to use 
their labels with FSIS's voluntary mark of inspection if this proposed 
rule is finalized. According to the 2014 IYAK survey, 90 percent of the 
establishments surveyed noted that USDA inspection is critical to the 
yak industry. Amending 9 CFR 352.1 to list yak as an ``exotic animal'' 
eligible for FSIS's voluntary inspection service would avoid disruption 
to the yak industry and the possible economic harm to producers if FSIS 
stopped voluntarily inspecting yak.

    \2\ FSIS used data from the Labeling and Program Delivery 
Staff's Label Submission and Approval System (LSAS). This data was 
received on November 7, 2019.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Assessment

    The FSIS Administrator has made a preliminary determination that 
this proposed rule would have a significant, but positive, economic 
impact on a substantial number of small yak entities, as defined by the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This proposed rule 
would allow FSIS to continue to voluntarily inspect yak and there would 
be no increased costs to industry. About 14 percent of the 
establishments that submitted yak labels from 2014 to November 8, 2019 
were classified as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) 
size small and 86 percent were HACCP size very small.\3\ The proposed 
rule would benefit small and very small establishments because it would 
continue to give these establishments access to the FSIS voluntary mark 
of inspection and access to buyers who look for that mark of inspection 
when making purchasing decisions.

    \3\ FSIS used data from the Public Health Information System 
(PHIS) to identify these establishments by HACCP category. This data 
was received on November 19, 2019.

Executive Order 13771

    Consistent with E.O. 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017), this 
proposed rule would expand marketing options for the Yak industry. 
Therefore, if finalized as proposed, this rule is expected to be an 
E.O. 13771 deregulatory action.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    There are no new paperwork or recordkeeping requirements associated 
with this proposed rule under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Environmental Impact

    Each USDA agency is required to comply with 7 CFR part 1b of the 
Departmental regulations, which supplements the National Environmental 
Policy Act regulations published by the Council on Environmental 
Quality. Under these regulations, actions of certain USDA agencies and 
agency units are categorically excluded from the preparation of an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) unless the agency head determines that an action may have a 
significant environmental effect (7 CFR 1b.4(b)). FSIS is among the 
agencies categorically excluded from the preparation of an EA or EIS (7 
CFR 1b.4(b)(6)).
    FSIS has determined that this proposed rule, which amends its 
regulations to define yak and include it among ``exotic animals'' 
eligible for voluntary inspection under 9 CFR part 352, would not 
create any extraordinary circumstances that would result in this 
normally excluded action having a significant individual or cumulative 
effect on the human environment. Therefore, this action is 
appropriately subject to the categorical exclusion from the preparation 
of an EA or EIS provided under 7 CFR 1b.4 of the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture regulations.

E-Government Act

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

Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act at 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., 
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that 
this proposed rule is

[[Page 33036]]

not a ``major rule,'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal 
Register publication on-line through the FSIS web page located at: 
    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through 
the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information 
regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register 
notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that 
could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and 
stakeholders. The Constituent Update is available on the FSIS web page. 
Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much 
broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email 
subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to 
selected food safety news and information. This service is available 
at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to 
export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can 
add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the option to password 
protect their accounts.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

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

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

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

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 352

    Exotic animals.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, FSIS is proposing to amend 
9 CFR part 352 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 352 is revised to read as follows:

     Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1622, 1624; 7 CFR 2.17(g) and (i), 2.53.

2. Amend Sec.  352.1 by revising paragraph (k) and adding paragraph 
(bb) to read as follows:
* * * * *
    (k) Exotic animal means any reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, water 
buffalo, bison, or yak.
* * * * *
    (bb) Yak means a long-haired bovid animal originally found 
throughout the Himalaya region of southern Central Asia and the Tibetan 

    Done at Washington, DC.
Paul Kiecker,
[FR Doc. 2020-11264 Filed 5-29-20; 8:45 am]