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Time Running Out for Next Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance Dates

Mary Kennedy
By  Mary Kennedy , DTN Basis Analyst
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Two important dates for compliance with the FSMA are drawing near. One of these may affect many in the ag industry and its compliance deadline is April 6, 2018. It is the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, which advances FDA's efforts to protect foods from farm to table by keeping them safe from contamination during transportation. (DTN file photo)

Several national and state groups continue to educate U.S. grain facilities about compliance with new rules for the handling, transportation and storage of food, and animal feed, that are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Many are still working with the FDA on behalf of the ag industry to clarify several of the new complicated rules, with National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association (MGFA) being two of those groups.

The FSMA is changing the way we think about animal food safety in the feed industry. Many in the feed and pet food industries are uncertain about what the rule requires and how it applies to their situation.

The NGFA hosted 16 regional seminars in 12 states during 2016 and 2017 to educate industry members on the far-reaching new feed safety rules. The seminars were conducted in cooperation with state feed regulatory agencies, and state and regional associations affiliated with NGFA, to help industry members understand the changes, requirements and appropriate exemptions included in the FSMA rules.

At a seminar during the 2018 MGFA annual convention on March 7, David Fairfield, NGFA Sr. VP of Feed Services told a group of over 200 elevator managers and farmers that "feed is food" is the new standard. He noted that FSMA rules apply to facilities required to register as a "food facility" with FDA under Bioterrorism Act requirements.

"Feed mills, grain elevators, grain processors that manufacture, pack process or hold food for humans, or animals, must register with the FDA. You need to understand your obligations," added Fairfield.

One of the most notable and contentious issues Fairfield pointed out, is that pulses (dry peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas) have been categorized with the requirements for fruits and vegetables (produce). He said that the NGFA does not agree with placing pulses in that category and is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change that ahead of the compliance date for small businesses.

In a February 8 statement submitted to the FDA, the NGFA outlined several existing regulatory requirements that "could be changed or eliminated to reduce regulatory burden on the grain and feed industry while still preserving FDA's ability to fulfill its public health responsibilities."

The NGFA urged FDA to reclassify pulses from the fruits and vegetables category and place them in to the grain category. "This reclassification is necessary so that pulses are not subject to additional FSMA-related requirements that are inappropriate and unnecessary to protect public health," the NGFA noted. Read the entire statement, which includes the other issues that concern NGFA, here:…

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The other important issue Fairfield discussed is the FSMA rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Primary. According to the FDA, responsibility for determining appropriate transportation operations now rests with the shipper, who may rely on contractual agreements to assign some of these responsibilities to other parties. Fairfield made it very clear to his audience at the MGFA convention seminar, "If you qualify as a shipper as stated by FDA, you are obligated to comply."

Specifically, this FSMA rule establishes requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, records, training and waivers.

Here are some key exemptions to this rule for shippers to be aware of:

-Shippers, receivers or carriers engaged in food transportation operations that have less than $500,000 in average annual revenue

-Transportation activities performed by a farm

-Transportation of food that is transshipped through the United States to another country

-Transportation of food that is imported for future export and that is neither consumed or distributed in the United States

-Transportation of compressed food gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrogen or oxygen authorized for use in food and beverage products), and food contact substances

-Transportation of human food byproducts transported for use as animal food without further processing

-Transportation of food that is completely enclosed by a container except a food that requires temperature control for safety

To read more from the FDA site that addresses this rule, including recent updates, other exemptions and waivers, visit:…

"The clock is ticking," concluded Fairfield.

For a spreadsheet of the dates of compliance issued by the FDA, visit:…

For assistance with any questions on the FSMA Rules, visit the FDA website:…

Mary Kennedy can be reached at

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