Thursday, August 31, 2017

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—August 31, 2017

Written by M. Sean High—Staff Attorney

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture:

Animal Welfare: USDA Seeks Comment on Animal Welfare Licensing Requirements
On August 24, 2017, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comment regarding potential revisions to the licensing requirements under the Animal Welfare Act (82 FR 40077).  According to APHIS, public comment is being sought in order “to help [APHIS] consider ways to reduce regulatory burden and more efficiently ensure the sustained compliance of licensees with the Act.” Accordingly, APHIS “will consider all comments [received] on or before October 23, 2017.”

COOL: Italy to Require Country of Origin Labels on Pasta and Rice
On August 25, 2017, Food Navigator reported that Italy has passed measures requiring that rice and pasta sold in the country must contain a country of origin label (COOL). According to the article, “[t]he COOL requirements echo standards implemented by Italy last year that mean manufacturers have to indicate the origin of raw materials used to produce dairy products, including milk, cheese, butter and yogurt.” Food Navigator stated that “food makers have 180 days to adapt their packaging to the new standards and ‘dispose’ of labels and packaging already produced.”

Food Safety: USDA Seeks Nominations for National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
On August 28, 2017, USDA published notice in the Federal Register soliciting nominations to fill 17 vacancies on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) (82 FR 40744).  According to the notice, previously, on December 7, 2016, USDA had sought nominations for 15 vacancies on NACMCF with a January 6, 2017 closing date.  As a result of USDA’s latest notice, the nomination period is reopened with a scheduled close date of September 27, 2017.  Regarding the increased number of committee vacancies, USDA stated that “[s]ince the original announcement was made two additional members have left the committee.”

Menu Labeling: FDA Announces Menu Labeling Guidance
On August 25, 2017, the FDA announced that the agency will be providing “additional, practical guidance on the menu labeling requirements by the end of this year.” The FDA stated that the “additional guidance will address concerns that were raised about challenges establishments faced in understanding how to meet their obligations under the new regulations.” According to the FDA, “[t]hese new policy steps should allow covered establishments to implement the requirements by next year’s compliance date.”

FSMA: FDA Releases Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule Guidance
On August 30, 2017, “the FDA announced the availability of guidance for food facilities that explains how to establish and implement a heat treatment, such as baking or cooking, to prevent contamination by disease-causing bacteria.” According to the FDA, the guidance is “entitled “Draft Guidance for Industry: Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food,” [and is] designed to help food facilities comply with the preventive controls for human food rule, mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.” The FDA stated that the “guidance is intended to help food facilities comply with specific requirements of the rule, such as developing a written food safety plan, establishing preventive controls, and taking corrective actions.”

FSMA: FDA Announces FSMA Third-Party Certification User Fee Rate for FY 2018
On August 29, 2017, the FDA published notice in the Federal Register announcing the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) third-party certification program user fee rate for fiscal year 2018 (82 FR 41035).  According to the FDA, under FSMA, the program covers the “accreditation of third-party certification bodies conducting food safety audits and issuing food and facility certifications to eligible foreign entities (including registered foreign food facilities) that meet our applicable requirements.” The FDA stated that the announced third-party certification program user fee rate will become “effective on October 1, 2017, and will remain in effect through September 30, 2018.”

FSMA: FDA Releases FSMA Intentional Adulteration Rule Guidance
On August 24, 2017, the FDA announced “the availability of an SECG [Small Entity Compliance Guide] to help small businesses comply with the Final Rule on Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration (or Intentional Adulteration Rule), mandated by FSMA [Food Safety Modernization Act].  According to the FDA, “[t]he SECG was prepared in accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act…[and] provides nonbinding recommendations on such topics as developing a food defense plan and records management.” The FDA stated that the “compliance date for small businesses under the Intentional Adulteration Rule is July 27, 2020.  According to the FDA, “[v]ery small businesses are exempt from the rule, except for a documentation requirement described in the SECG, which has a compliance date of July 26, 2021.”

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices
Department of Agriculture

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