The American Bakers Association (ABA) is preparing to file a petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking it to exempt storage facilities for packaged foods from stringent hazard analysis and preventive control requirements in new food safety legislation.
Under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), manufacturers will be required to produce detailed analyses to identify biological, chemical and other hazards in their facilities and implement preventive control plans to mitigate potential risks.
However, most of these requirements were not relevant to warehouses storing packaged foods, meaning the costs of compliance were “simply not justified”, said ABA senior vice president, government relations and public affairs, Lee Sanders.
Limited food safety risk
Given that bakeries typically fed into multiple storage facilities, and the cost of compliance per facility ran into thousands of dollars, total compliance costs per manufacturer would be prohibitive, said Sanders.
“The anticipated costs to industry and to consumers are simply not justified by any risks that might be presented at facilities solely engaged in the storage of packaged foods that are not exposed to the environment.”
Packaged products stored in bakers’ warehouses had already been subjected to GMPs (good manufacturing practices) and preventive controls during manufacture, she added.
Meanwhile, supplier verification and recall plans should also be covered by manufacturers: “The few hazards that may arise… are already addressed under FDA’s existing GMPs governing warehousing and distribution. The storage facilities themselves pose a very limited food safety risk.”
As for adulteration, “any effort to adulterate [packaged] food [in warehouses] would be laborious and likely ineffective and would involve damage to the packaging that would be obvious to retailers and consumers and would render the goods unsalable”, she suggested.