The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced a proposed rule to establish guidelines for the formal submission of petitions for rulemaking.

The proposed rule will help ensure that all petitions filed with FSIS contain information that the agency needs to proceed with its consideration in a timely manner. This measure will support FSIS' food safety mission by providing for expedited review of petitions that request actions that are intended to enhance the public health by removing or reducing potential food safety hazards.

Under this proposed rule, FSIS will consider the technical merits of the proposal, data submitted in support of the requested action, whether the requested action will be an appropriate use of agency resources and the degree to which the requested action is consistent with agency priorities.

The proposed rule will benefit both prospective petitioners and FSIS by facilitating a standardized review and evaluation of rulemaking petitions filed with the agency. By encouraging consistency in the content of rulemaking petitions and the submission of adequate supporting documentation, the proposed rule is expected to reduce the administrative costs to FSIS associated with the review and evaluation of rulemaking petitions.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before March 13, 2006, and must be sent to Docket Clerk, #00-019P, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 300 12th Street, SW, Room 102 Cotton Annex, Washington, D.C., 20250. Comments will also be posted on the Agency's web site at

For further information, contact Lynn Dickey, Ph.D., Director, Regulations and Petitions Policy Staff, Office of Policy, Programs, and Employee Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture at (202) 720-5627.

Source: FSIS