The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) is commending members of Congress for urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reclassify specific pulse crops as grains to qualify for the exemption from certain requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that applies to raw agricultural commodities other than fruits and vegetables.
The NGFA has been urging FDA to reclassify pulses as a “grain” to avoid imposing unnecessary, inappropriate and costly regulatory requirements on grain elevators that store pulses. Under FSMA, FDA is authorized to grant a science- and risk-based exemption from FSMA’s requirements that facilities conduct hazard analyses and implement preventive controls and extensive recordkeeping for facilities that are engaged solely in the storage of grains and other raw agricultural commodities other than fruits and vegetables.
FDA currently classifies pulse crops like dry peas, lentils, chick peas and dry beans as “fruits or vegetables” rather than as “grain” for purposes of the agency’s FSMA-related human food and animal food rules. In their Sept. 28 letter to FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the lawmakers said that this does not represent a science- or risk-based approach to food safety and imposes unnecessary compliance costs.
“By diverging from a common-sense reading of the statute, FDA has veered away from the science, and risk-based approach to food safety that is the very foundation of FSMA, and in so doing imposed significant and unnecessary compliance costs and created irrational regulatory disparities among operations within the industry,” wrote Reps. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.; Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.; Mike Bishop, R-Mich.; Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.; Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Tim Walz, D-Minn.; Greg Gianforte, R-Mont.; and Paul Mitchell, R-Mich.
The lawmakers’ letter to FDA cited NGFA’s conservative estimate that it costs between $57,000 and $127,000 per facility to comply with FSMA’s human and animal food rules.
“We urge FDA to act quickly to reclassify pulses as ‘grains’ under its FSMA rules for human and animal food. The current interpretations by FDA are contrary to a science- and risk-based approach to protect public and animal health,” the congressmen note in the letter.
View more information from the NGFA about FSMA at http://feed.ngfa.org/ngfa-fsma-resources/.