February 4, 2015
TO: JPA Members
FROM: Patricia Faison
RE: JPA Regulatory Update
(1) Legislation Introduced to Create One Food Safety Agency
(2) State Legislation Impacting Juice Drinks and Sweetened Beverages
(3) FDA Requests Funding for FDA Efforts to Implement FSMA
(4) FDA Requests Nominations for the Food Advisory Committee (Possible Action Requested by February 10, 2015)
(5) FDA Extends Deadline to Comment on the Redbook
(6) FDA Announces Public Meeting on Foodborne Illness Attribution
(7) Rhode Island Introduces Two Bills to Mandate GE Food Labeling
There was a considerable amount of information recently released that we thought would be of interest. This communication, although lengthy, keeps you up to date on issues affecting the food industry.
Legislation Introduced to Create One Food Safety Agency
According to an article recently published by Food Safety News, available here, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced legislation in Congress to create one federal food safety agency. The House version of the “Safe Food Act of 2015” is available here. The article notes the bill would consolidate all the authorities for food safety inspections, enforcement and labeling into the Food Safety Administration – independent of any federal department.” The article states the goal of the legislation is to improve food safety while reducing costs of a system with overlapping responsibilities. In part, the new Agency would be composed of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Senator Durbin issued a press release, available here, noting similar legislation had been introduced in Congress in 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
JPA staff will monitor the progress of this bill as it could have a major impact on the food industry, if passed by Congress.
State Legislation Impacting Juice Drinks and Sweetened Beverages
State legislation affecting juice drinks and other sweetened beverages was introduced recently in Hawaii and Vermont. The warning label bills exempt 100% fruit juice from a safety warning (Hawaii and Vermont) and a fee on sugar sweetened beverages (Hawaii).
- Hawaii SB 1256, available here, and HB 1439, available here, call for a one-cent per ounce tax on most sugar sweetened beverages. Hawaii has tried to pass a tax over the past five years; former Gov. Abercrombie was the main proponent. It is not expected that this proposal will be successful.
- Hawaii SB 1270, available here, and HB 1438, available here, call for a safety warning label on most sweetened beverages with more than five calories per serving.
Both Hawaii proposals are expected to have hearings within the next couple of weeks.
- Vermont H 89, available here, would require sugar-sweetened beverages to show the following warning on the front of the container: “HEALTH AND SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.” Fruit juice concentrate is included in the definition of “caloric sweetener” with sucrose, fructose, glucose and other sugars. The bill was referred to the Committee on Human Services.
JPA is monitoring these bills with contacts at the American Beverage Association.
FDA Requests Funding for FDA Efforts to Implement FSMA
JPA has been keeping members abreast of activities by the FDA to implement the provisions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA recently issued a press release, available here, announcing the Agency is requesting a budget of $4.9 billion as part of President Obama’s fiscal year (FY 2016) budget. This budget request includes $109.5 million for FSMA implementation. According to the press release, this would allow the FDA to:
- Implement fundamental requirements for domestic food and feed safety;
- Acquire the technical staffing needed to support the law, including new inspector training;
- Provide the appropriate guidance to industry about the law;
- Strengthen the role of states in helping to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply; and
- Build and implement a new import safety system.
FDA’s Constituent Update, available here, details how the funds for FSMA will be used by the Agency.
JPA will continue to monitor and provide updates, as information becomes available.
FDA Requests Nominations for the Food Advisory Committee
The FDA recently published a notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 5559; February 2, 2015), available here, announcing the Agency is accepting nominations until February 27, 2015 for nonvoting industry representatives to serve on the Food Advisory Committee. According to the notice, the Committee “reviews and evaluates emerging food safety, nutrition and other food- or cosmetic-related health issues that FDA considers of primary importance for its food and cosmetic programs. In part, the Committee will make recommendations to the Agency on matters related to: “(1) broad scientific and technical food- or cosmetic-related issues; (2) the safety of new foods and food ingredients; (3) labeling of foods and cosmetics; (4) nutrient needs and nutritional adequacy; and (5) safe exposure limits for food contaminants.”
An organization may nominate an individual(s) to serve as a nonvoting industry representative or individuals may nominate themselves for the position. If you are interested in being nominated, or believe JPA should nominate an individual(s), please provide your detailed input to me by the close of business on February 11, 2015.
FDA Extends Deadline to Comment on the Redbook
On October 30, 2014, JPA notified members that FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) had announced the Agency was seeking input on the guidance, “Toxicological Principles for the Safety Assessment of Food Ingredients” (also called the “Redbook”). The Redbook, available here, provides guidance to stakeholders regarding the information used by CFSAN to evaluate the safety of food and color additives. The Agency also held a public meeting on December 9, 2014 to obtain comments from stakeholders.
The FDA recently issued a notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 5559; February 2, 2015), available here, announcing the deadline to submit comments to the Agency has been extended to May 11, 2015 due to a request by interested parties. According to the FDA, comments on the Redbook will inform the Agency’s future efforts on what should be included, excluded, or changed in the Redbook. FDA’s Constituent Update is available here.
FDA Announces Public Meeting on Foodborne Illness Attribution
The FDA recently issued a Constituent Update, available here, announcing the Agency with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service will host a public meeting on February 24, 2015 “to update stakeholders on the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) work to improve foodborne illness source attribution.” According to the IFSAC webpage, available here, the aim of the projects and studies undertaken by the group is to identify foods that are important sources of foodborne illnesses.
The Federal Register notice (80 FR 4532; January 28, 2015), available here, states the IFSAC will provide updates on key projects focusing mainly on a project in which “IFSAC developed, for the first time, a single approach to producing harmonized foodborne illness source attribution estimates from outbreak data for Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria, and Campylobacter.” The Constituent Update and Federal Register notice detail the meeting’s registration process.
Rhode Island Introduces Two Bills to Mandate GE Food Labeling
According to an article recently published online by The Brown Daily Herald, available here, two bills have been introduced in Rhode Island General Assembly to require the labeling of foods produced with genetic engineering. Both of the House bills, 5078 and 5197, mandate such labeling although the bills are not identical.
In part, Bill 5078 would exempt alcoholic beverages, foods served and sold in restaurants or other facilities engaged primarily in the sale of food for immediate consumption, and products sold by farmers at roadside stands or farmers’ markets. This bill specifically notes a “natural” food would not be produced using genetic engineering. In part, Bill 5197 would exempt organic foods, packaged foods containing no more than 0.9 percent (0.9%) genetically engineered materials and foods that can be verified as not containing GE materials or produced from such technology.
House Bill 5078 has been referred to the Rhode Island House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, and H 5197 has been referred to the House Health, Education & Welfare Committee. Both bills specify January 1, 2016 as the effective date, if enacted.
Legislation has also been introduced in the Rhode Island Senate. Senate Bill 93 would mandate the labeling and traceability of foods produced with genetic engineering. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
JPA will continue to monitor and provide updates, as information becomes available.
As always, please contact Headquarters with questions or comments.
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