DHS Chemical Security Screening Results Not Expected until April
Late last month, representatives from IDFA and several other food industry associations met with officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discuss the department's progress on screening companies for inclusion in its new chemical security rule. IDFA learned that DHS expects to let companies know their status by mid-April. Although approximately 40,000 facilities participated in the screening, DHS expects only 5,000 to 7,000 of them to be covered by the rule.
DHS published its final list of chemicals that apply to its chemical security rule last November. Many food and dairy processing facilities may be subject to the rule, because they use anhydrous ammonia in refrigeration systems. Other onsite chemicals may also trigger the rule.
Under the final rule, all facilities possessing anhydrous ammonia at 10,000 pounds or more, or any of the other listed chemicals above their specified thresholds, were required to complete an online Top-Screen process by January 22. These results are being used to determine whether a facility meets DHS's undisclosed concept of high risk.
According to DHS, a number facilities in the food processing industry likely will be included in the rule, and many will be allowed to use "reasonable methods" to conduct site-vulnerability assessments. In addition, DHS believes that trade associations can play a valuable role by developing chemical security guidance for their members.
"DHS is particularly interested in seeing or hearing that chemicals, where appropriate, are being locked up and secured," said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. "In the unlikely event that the chemicals disappear, the department also wants to be assured that facility personnel will call law enforcement officials immediately."
For background, IDFA has posted two Hotlines for members that include the complete list of chemicals and explain the steps necessary for compliance. To read the Hotlines, members may click here.
Members with questions may contact Detlefsen at email@example.com or 202-220-3554.
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Posted March 10, 2008