Bennet letter conveys CO concerns with Act's rules, encourages FDA visit
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today conveying the concerns Colorado producers have with certain provisions of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).
While thanking the FDA for its clarification of the rules on spent grains, Bennet said there were additional concerns with other aspects of FSMA’s proposed rules. Specifically, Colorado’s fruit, vegetable, and organic producers have expressed concerns about water and soil regulations, among other concerns. He invited the Commissioner to the state to hear from these producers directly.
In the letter Bennet wrote: “Colorado producers are very supportive of FSMA and are committed to working with the FDA to create a regulatory framework that ensures a healthy food supply and reduces risk for consumers. I would nonetheless encourage the Agency to reexamine the proposed rule in light of the views outlined above.”
“I also hope that you’ll visit Colorado,” Bennet added. “I believe that the Agency’s process could benefit greatly by hearing the perspective of Colorado producers.”
The FSMA, signed into law in 2011, reformed the nation’s food safety laws for the first time in 70 years. The FDA is currently in the process of reviewing public comments and revising the proposed rules to implement that law. Final rules are expected in early 2015.
Most recently, Bennet conveyed to the FDA concerns from the brewing and livestock industries about proposed rules regarding the handling of spent grains that would have made it harder and more expensive to reuse leftover brewing grains as animal feed. The FDA later clarified that rule, saying it had no intention of disrupting or discouraging the recycling of spent grains as animal feed by imposing additional food safety standards.
Full text of the letter is below:
Dear Commissioner Hamburg:
I write to convey concerns from Colorado agricultural producers regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA’s”) proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”). I also write to invite you to Colorado to hear directly from producers about how the proposed rules could affect their work.
The FDA’s recent decision to review its proposed rules on spent grains was greatly appreciated by small brewers and producers in Colorado who believed that they would have the unintended consequence of stopping the transfer of spent grains to producers.
We have heard similar concerns about the practicality of following the proposed rules from other types of producers in Colorado. Specifically:
- Onion producers have noted that the proposed rule does not correspond to the risk levels for their crop, particularly the “recreational use” water quality standard and the prohibition on the use of wooden containers;
- Fruit and vegetable farmers have concerns about the proposed rule’s water quality standards and compliance; and
- Organic producers have misgivings about the proposed rule’s restrictions on the use of soil amendments.
Colorado producers are very supportive of FSMA and are committed to working with the FDA to create a regulatory framework that ensures a healthy food supply and reduces risk for consumers. I would nonetheless encourage the Agency to reexamine the proposed rule in light of the views outlined above. I also hope that you’ll visit Colorado. I believe that the Agency’s process could benefit greatly by hearing the perspective of Colorado producers.
Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to hearing from you.