At least monthly in the course of doing business, I find the need to refer to one government regulation or another. With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance deadline looming ahead in September, I decided to pull together a series of primers on some of the most relevant regulations that affect high-volume bakeries on a regular — if not daily — basis … FSMA or not.

Be forewarned, this is not meant to be an all-inclusive, comprehensive guide; rather it can provide a trigger for recognizing the need to further consider specific government regulations and, if need be, to ensure the regulatory standards are met.

This month, we take a look at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement. There are some specific areas in this realm that bakers need to consider.

Permitting requirements under Title V of the Clean Air Act vary by state and region. The bottom line: When it comes to clean air, there is sufficient variability that if you are producing yeast-raised products, you need to do your homework. The amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC) given off in producing a pound of bread varies depending on the yeast concentration and fermentation time. As an estimator, use 0.002 lb VOC per of pound of bread. Realize this is for typical sandwich bread, and the estimator must be changed if time and yeast percentages are different, as in artisan products.

Using the estimator factor, 2,000 lb of bread (1 ton) would release about 4 lb VOC. A bakery producing 100 1-lb loaves a minute would emit about 12 lb VOC per hour. If the line runs 2,000 hours per year, it would generate 24,000 lb VOC annually. This would trigger the need for a permit in some non-attainment zones. Information on attainment zones can be found in EPA’s “Green Book.” A bread line producing 160 loaves per minute of 1.5-lb wide pan bread, and running 5,000 hours per year would generate approximately 144,000 lb VOC and likely trigger permitting in most locations.

The Clean Water Act requires “spill prevention and planning” by facilities that store oil above ground in containers, or vessels, of 55 gal or greater and having a total aggregated volume more than 1,320 gal. That rule covers oils used as food ingredients and for frying. Such containers must comply with Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. These require specific management procedures for loading, unloading and storing oil products, as well as the training of employees in related policies and procedures. The plan must be certified by a registered professional engineer and be reviewed every five years.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) controls the disposal of solid waste — including liquids — both hazardous and non-hazardous. Disposal of “universal wastes” (batteries, certain lamps and pesticides) is also regulated under RCRA. Most bakers will fall into the category of “conditionally exempt small quantity generators.” Depending on maintenance, garage and sanitation activities at the bakery, however, RCRA regulations could require bakers to obtain a Hazardous Waste Evaluation and Generator ID Number. At a minimum, “generators” of waste must themselves identify their waste(s) and disposal amounts and ensure it is properly handled, labeled, stored and documented. Again, employees must be properly trained in the handling and disposal of these materials.

Remember, this is a primer just on EPA regulations. In my next column, I will address various aspects of Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) standards.

Are there government regulations you feel are important? I would like to hear from you, for this is important stuff for all of us.