A.B.A. claims victory in warehouse exemption effort

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The American Bakers Association declared a “major victory” on behalf of the wholesale baking industry this week with the announcement that an exemption from preventative control provisions for ambient temperature depots and warehouses has been included in the Food and Drug Administration’s proposal, “Preventive Controls for Human Food: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Foods.”

The A.B.A. topped a list of food industry groups that in July 2012 petitioned the F.D.A. to exempt storage facilities from its preventative controls provisions. The F.D.A.’s proposal released last week contains several exemptions, including one for non-refrigerated distribution warehouses such as those utilized by the baking industry, the A.B.A. said. The petition was allowed under language in the Food Safety Modernization Act that was included at the A.B.A.’s recommendation.

“Granting flexibility to bakers and other low risk distribution facilities is a win for bakers, food manufacturers and F.D.A.,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. “This exemption will allow F.D.A. to reserve its limited resources for facilities with the higher potential for food safety issues.”

Lee Sanders, senior vice-president of government relations and public affairs at the A.B.A., added, “Commercial bakeries utilize storage facilities as a short-term intermediary between the bakery and retailers and other customers, to facilitate expeditious distribution of freshly-prepared products. These foods typically remain in distribution facilities less than 24 to 36 hours.”

Under the newly released provisions, refrigerated warehouses would be subject to modified preventive control requirements, the A.B.A. said. The F.D.A.’s proposal adds new preventive controls provisions for facilities registered with the F.D.A.’s current food facility registration regulations. The A.B.A. noted that covered facilities will need to maintain a food safety plan, perform a hazard analysis and institute preventive controls for the mitigation of those hazards.

The A.B.A. will prepare comments in response to the F.D.A.’s proposal. Those comments are due to the agency in mid-May. MBN

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