The NGFA is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to properly implement the exemption authority provided within the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for grain elevators solely engaged in storing raw agricultural commodities. The Association has been circulating information on Capitol Hill in recent weeks to garner support from lawmakers.
Specifically, the NGFA is urging FDA to revise its FSMA exemptions for “solely engaged” grain elevator facilities and exemptions for grain elevators that store pulse crops. The paragraphs below summarize two significant problems with FDA’s rules implementing the statute.
‘Solely Engaged’ – The Problem: FDA has adopted a perverse and misguided interpretation of FSMA’s language authorizing an exemption from the agency’s human and animal food rules for grain elevators that are “solely engaged” in storing raw agricultural commodities. Contrary to the statutory language that authorizes an exemption for facilities storing raw agricultural commodities (except fruits and vegetables), FDA has deemed that elevators lose that exemption merely if they are located on the same premises as a feed mill or grain processing plant that is subject to such regulations, even though the grain elevator is not involved in regulated manufacturing or processing operations.
NGFA Recommendation: To ensure FSMA regulatory requirements are science- and risk-based on food safety risks, FDA should revise its current interpretation of the “solely engaged” exemptions in its human and animal food rules to acknowledge that distinct and separate activities (e.g., storage versus manufacturing operations) may occur at the same geographic location, and grant the exemption to grain elevators engaged solely in storage-related functions.
Pulse Crops – The Problem: 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. This does not represent a science- or risk-based approach to food safety, imposes significant, unnecessary compliance costs and creates regulatory disparities among elevator operations.
NGFA Recommendation: FDA should reclassify pulses as a “grain” to avoid imposing unnecessary and inappropriate regulatory requirements on grain elevators that store pulses.
View more information from the NGFA at http://feed.ngfa.org/ngfa-fsma-resources/.