Washington and Appendix A&B

Here are some of the latest updates taking place from the regulatory and legislative arenas. AAMP continues to ensure that the voice of the small processor is heard in Washington.

I met recently with FSIS Acting Administrator Paul Kiecker and various members of his staff in Washington D.C. to discuss a number of issues important to AAMP members.

Among the discussions were talks on Humane Handling enforcement and the crisis situation we are in with small plants having to close their slaughter floors and farmers having fewer places to take their animals for processing. We discussed the label approval process, including the length of time, as well as the inconsistency in approvals between different reviewers. We also reviewed interventions for boxed beef, as well as general inspection inconsistency between inspection personnel.

In addition, I attended a meeting with FSIS policy and science staff to review proposed changes to Appendix A & B. It was a productive meeting with a lot of good dialogue, as FSIS presented some changes they are making to last year’s version of the documents in answer to received public comments. I will not go into detail on those changes at this point other than to say that it is a step in the right direction. 

FSIS will be publishing a notice to their inspectors. The notice states that there will be a new revised Appendix A & B published in the next few months and the compliance date will be moved from March of 2019 to one year from the date of publish of the new document. This means you will be able to continue to use the 1999 versions of both documents until early 2020. 

When the new documents are posted to the federal register, we will review them and let you know what it means for you and your business. Stay tuned to our AAMP publications, website, and Facebook for updated information.

FSIS publishes new ‘Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations’ docket

USDA-FSIS published a new docket (FSIS 2018-0049) titled, Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations. In the docket, FSIS states that it is “establishing January 1, 2022, as the uniform compliance date for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations that will be issued between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020.”

“The new uniform compliance date will apply only to final FSIS regulations that require changes in the labeling of meat and poultry products and that are published after January 1, 2019, and before December 31, 2020. For each final rule that requires changes in labeling, FSIS will specifically identify January 1, 2022, as the compliance date. All meat and poultry food products that are subject to labeling regulations issued between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020, will be required to comply with these regulations on products introduced into commerce on or after January 1, 2022. If any food labeling regulation involves special circumstances that justify a compliance date other than January 1, 2022, the Agency will determine an appropriate compliance date and will publish that compliance date in the rulemaking.”

This rule went into effect Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

So, what does all this mean? Any USDA-inspected products manufactured within the next two years (Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2020) will be subject to any new USDA ruling (such as nutrient fact panel format changes) by Jan. 1, 2022. As of now, the USDA currently accepts both the old (1990) and new (2016) nutrient fact panel formats. Any potential changes the USDA makes to the nutrient facts panel (or to anything else) will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022. This allows plenty of time to make the necessary changes to adhere to any new policies. As always, AAMP will monitor this topic very closely and keep members informed on any new updates.

View the docket here.