Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:47C-1.1 and 2.1
Authorized By: Louis E. Greenleaf, State Superintendent, Office of Weights and Measures.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 51:1-29 and 51:1-61.
Submit comments by April 17, 2004 to:
Louis E. Greenleaf
The agency proposal follows:
Pursuant to its rulemaking authority at N.J.S.A. 51:1-61, the Office of Weights and Measures (the Office) proposes an amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:47C- 2.1 to require certain testing procedures for packages of meat, poultry and fish products to determine net weight content. Amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:47- 1.1 add definitions for "dry tare," "unused dry tare" and "used dry tare."
The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:47C-1.1 states that persons conducting net weight inspections of meat, poultry or fish must use dry tare. The proposed amendment also sets forth how the packages are to be tested for net weight. Meat and poultry which bears a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection seal must be weighed by the used dry tare (or dried used tare) method. Packages which do not have a USDA inspection seal must be weighed by the unused dry tare method if available. If not available, used dry tare (or dried used tare) may be used. Packages of fresh and unfrozen fish must use unused dry tare if available. If not available, used dry tare (or dried used tare) may be used.
The proposed amendment is necessary because it will assure that all officials in the State will test packages for tare determination for net weight contents in conformance with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 133, "Checking the net contents of packaged goods," which references, USDA requirements in Title 9, Subpart A, Sec. 317.19. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency within the United States Department of Commerce, has the statutory authority, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § § 271 et seq., to ensure uniformity of weights and measures laws and methods of inspection. In exercise of that authority, it sponsors the National Conference on Weights and Measures, an organization composed of regulatory agencies and commercial businesses involved in weighing and measuring activities. Uniform procedures, "Checking the net contents of packaged goods," are published in NIST Handbook 133. The proposed amendment will conform the rule to these requirements.
Presently, supermarkets and small grocery stores use store pack and off-site packaging of meat, poultry and fish. The proposed amendments will conform with these practices and allow ease of compliance and enforcement.
As the Office has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is exempted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.
The Office believes that the proposed amendments will benefit the public, enforcement agencies and businesses selling meat, poultry and seafood by providing uniformity in the methods of sale and enforcement concerning the use of dry tare. This will not only promote equity in the marketplace providing protection for the public but also minimize cost to the merchants.
The Office believes that the proposed amendments will incur no additional cost to the regulatory agencies involved in their day-to-day operations. The regulatory agencies, State, county and municipal departments, routinely inspect packages of meat, poultry and fish products. The procedures outlined in the proposed amendments will be cost effective by speeding up the inspection process without compromising consumer protection. Those supermarkets and small grocery stores are subject to these regulations may incur reduced costs as a result of the use of consistent standards by all testing officials in New Jersey.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments adopt a Federal standard contained in National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 133, "Checking the net contents of packaged goods," which references USDA requirements in Title 9, Subpart A, Sec. 317.19.
The Office does not anticipate that the proposed amendments will increase or decrease jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The proposed amendments will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., requires the Office to give a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the proposed new rule will apply. If, for the purposes of the Act, the approximately 4,000 sellers of fresh meat, poultry and seafood regulated by the Office are deemed "small businesses," then the following analysis applies.
The Act requires the Office to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed rule including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Office to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs, outline the manner in which it has designed the rules to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses, and to set forth whether the rules establish differing compliance requirements for small businesses.
The proposed amendments contains no reporting, recordkeeping or compliance requirements. The rule specifies the methodology to be used by persons inspecting the net weight of meat, poultry and fish.
There is no additional capital cost, and the merchants or packers will not require professional services to comply with this rule. The Office believes that the proposed amendment should be uniformly applied to all licensees regardless of size, in order to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the general public. Therefore, no differing or lesser requirements are provided for small businesses.
Smart Growth Impact
The Office does not anticipate that the proposed amendments will have any impact on the achievement of smart growth or on implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, otherwise known as the State Plan.
Full text of the proposal follows :
<< NJ ADC 13:47C-1.1 >>
13:47C-1.1 Words and phrases defined
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
<<+"Used dry tare" or "dried used tare" means used packaging material that has been air dried or dried in some manner to simulate the unused tare weight, including all packaging materials that can be separated from the packaged product either readily or by washing, scraping, ambient air drying, or other techniques involving more than normal household recovery procedures, but not including laboratory procedures like oven drying.+>>
<< NJ ADC 13:47C-2.1>>
13:47C-2.1 Meat, poultry, fish and/or shellfish sold by net weight: methods of sale
(a)-(e) (No change.)
<<+(f) Persons conducting net weight inspections of meat, poultry or fish shall use dry tare. Packages of meat, poultry and fish shall be tested for net weight content as follows:+>>
<<+1. For packages of meat and poultry that bear a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection seal, used dry tare (or dried used tare) shall be used as the method of tare determination.+>>
<<+2. For packages that do not bear the USDA seal of inspection, unused dry tare shall be used when available at the place of sale. If unused dry tare is not available, then used dry tare (or dried used tare) shall be used as the method of tare determination.+>>
<<+3. When testing packages of fresh or unfrozen fish, unused dry tare shall be used if available at the place of sale. If unused dry tare is not available, then used dry tare (or dried used tare) shall be used as the method of tare determination.+>>