Source: National Milk Producers Federation
Milk producers joined milk processors yesterday in supporting the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulations on the safe shipment of food, saying the draft rules largely write into regulations what the dairy industry is already doing.
"Dairy foods are safely transported already, and there is no need to improve on current practices," said Beth Briczinski, vice president for dairy foods and nutrition for the National Milk Producers Federation. "As a result, we basically support what the FDA is proposing."
NMPF, the voice of 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, submitted comments on the draft regulations issued in February as part of efforts to implement a major update of the nation’s food safety laws enacted in 2011.
NMPF did note several areas where the proposal could be clarified or modified. In particular, it urged expanding waivers from the regulation for dairy products if a shipper is licensed under the Grade "A" milk program. NMPF urged including outbound shipments of finished products – such as yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream – as well as inbound shipments of unpasteurized milk under the waiver.
Other areas NMPF suggested clarifying included language regarding short or intra-company food shipments and the transportation of frozen dairy desserts. On the latter, the organization said the final regulations should specify that ice cream and other frozen dairy desserts should not be included under the proposed regulations because when ice cream is temperature-abused it doesn’t present a food safety risk. Instead, it melts.
The proposed rules were issued under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, as well as a separate 2005 law covering safe transportation of foods.
"We supported the FSMA and have been pleased to work with the FDA to implement its provisions," said Briczinski. "We share the desire for food transportation rules that are broad, goal-oriented, aligned with current practices, and adaptable to the many transportation activities conducted in our industry.
"For the most part, FDA’s draft regulations are just that," Briczinski added.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.