“Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food” Final Rule – FDA Webinar
On April 5, 2016, JPA members were notified that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued the final rule, “Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.” The FDA will host a webinar on April 25, 11 a.m. – 12 noon (Eastern time) to review the final rule and provide an opportunity for interested parties to ask questions. Additional details and instructions for joining the webinar are available here.
FDA Seeks Data and Information on Assessing the Risk of Raw Manure as Fertilizer on Produce
In March 2016, JPA members were notified that the FDA had published a notice, available here, seeking information and scientific data to inform the Agency as it conducts a risk assessment on the use of raw manure and other biological soil amendments of animal origin as fertilizers on produce farms. The risk assessment is intended to help the Agency determine how consumer health is impacted by the use of raw manure and soil amendments in crops covered by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA’s) Produce Safety final rule, and what measures can be taken to prevent consumers from becoming ill. The Agency had established May 3, 2016 as the deadline to comment. The FDA recently issued a Constituent Update to notify interested stakeholders that the deadline to comment has been extended by 60 days to July 5, 2016.
USDA Announces $22 Million Available for Citrus Greening Research
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently issued a press release announcing the availability of $22 million in grants to help the citrus industry combat Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease. According to the notice, pre-applications that include a Stakeholder Relevance Statement are due on May 16. Additional details regarding the application process are available here.
Proposition 65 – Emergency Warning Notification for Food and Beverage Packaging Containing BPA
JPA staff has been providing periodic updates regarding Bisphenol A (BPA), a substance used in the manufacture of some plastics used for food and beverage containers. Some concerns have been raised due to possible health risks associated with this substance. JPA members were previously notified that the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) had added BPA to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity. In March 2016, members were notified that the Agency had issued a notice proposing to establish an emergency regulation to allow temporary use of a standard point-of-sale warning message for BPA exposures from canned and bottled foods and beverages in retail stores. It was reported that many canned and bottled food and beverages can cause exposures to BPA. According to OEHHA, these products do not currently bear a Proposition 65 warning because no warning is required for BPA until May 11, 2016. In addition, the Agency has not established a safe harbor level for BPA. OEHHA noted that given the variety of canned and bottled foods that may cause significant exposures to BPA, and the fact that retailers likely do not know which products currently on shelves may require warnings, there is concern that some retailers will decide to remove canned and bottled foods from store shelves to avoid potential enforcement actions. OEHHA also noted that widespread Proposition 65 warning signs throughout stores could cause some consumers to reduce or stop purchasing canned or bottled vegetables and fruits, to the detriment of their own health.
To avoid public confusion and misconception about the safety of the food supply, OEHHA had proposed the following point-of-sale warning: “WARNING: Many cans containing foods and beverages sold here have epoxy linings used to avoid microbial contamination and extend shelf life. Lids on jars and caps on bottles may also have epoxy linings. Some of these linings can leach small amounts of bisphenol A (BPA) into the food or beverage. BPA is a chemical known to the State of California to cause harm to the female reproductive system. For more information go to: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/BPA.”
OEHHA recently issued another Notice of Emergency Action, available here, revising the point-of-sale warning language to: “WARNING: Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to the State of California to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information go to: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/BPA.”
Additional details regarding the Agency’s action are available here. The State of California Office of Administrative Law approved the emergency regulatory action, which became effective on April 18, 2016 and expires on October 18, 2016.