A.B.A. celebrates exemption in F.S.M.A. rules

by Josh Sosland
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Robb MacKie, president and c.e.o. of the A.B.A., said flexibility is critical in food safety.

WASHINGTON — An exemption for bakery and some other warehouses from certain rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act was lauded as an important victory by the American Bakers Association.

Facilities “solely engaged in the storage of packaged food that is not exposed to the environment” are on a short list of facilities and activities exempt from new requirements for hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls that are part of the F.S.M.A.

The exception followed a citizen’s petition filed by the A.B.A. and others for the exclusion, submitted in response to proposed Food and Drug Administration rules in connection with F.S.M.A. The exemption was published as part of final rules published Sept. 17 in The Federal Register. The 262-page document, from the F.D.A., part of the Department of Health and Human Services, was titled “Current Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food; Final Rule.”

“A.B.A. has won a major victory on behalf of the wholesale baking industry with the inclusion of an exemption from preventative control provisions for facilities ‘solely engaged in the storage of unexposed, packaged foods,’” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. “We are pleased that F.D.A. recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate in the food safety context. Flexibility is critical.”

The A.B.A. had estimated bakers would be subject to costs as high as $20,000 per facility if the exemption had not been granted.

The A.B.A. in July 2012 led a food industry petition urging the F.D.A. to exempt storage facilities from its preventative controls provisions. This petition was allowed under language in the Food Safety Modernization Act that was included at A.B.A.’s recommendation.

“F.D.A.’s final rule contains several exemptions, including one for non-refrigerated distribution warehouses, such as those utilized by the baking industry,” the A.B.A. said. “F.D.A.’s final rule does clarify that warehousing attached to manufacturing operations are not exempt and must conduct a hazard analysis.”
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