The 2017 National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) was held May 12–17 in Grand Rapids, MI. The Conference attendees considered 98 proposals, with state delegates passing 37. Engaging efforts with experts from 47 IDFA member companies and cooperation from other parts of the dairy industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulators, IDFA advocated for, among other things: reasonable regulations in the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) that align the Interstate Milk Shippers program with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) rule; harmonizing the PMO with an FDA rule on higher fortification levels of vitamin D3 and requiring FDA to be more transparent in the determination of foreign country regulatory equivalence with the U.S. Grade “A” program.
Thanks to this cooperative work, key portions of the PCHF rule were successfully integrated into the PMO. The incorporation included placing some requirements from the rule into a new appendix, Appendix T., which will be used by state and Federal milk regulators during inspections at least every 36 months to ensure compliance with the FDA regulation. By aligning the regulations into a single, actionable food safety program, Grade “A” processors will continue to protect the safety of their products, while avoiding duplicative and sometimes divergent regulatory schemes. These provisions will take effect on September 17, 2018.
Additionally, the PMO was revised to reflect FDA’s new rule allowing higher levels of vitamin D3 in milk to correspond with the new dietary reference value. This will allow milk processors to continue to claim milk as an excellent source of vitamin D.
In the future, FDA will provide more clarity and greater transparency regarding the process for evaluating and determining equivalence of milk safety programs in other countries with the PMO and Grade “A” program in terms of overall protection to public health. Each of the actions outlined in the proposal will provide the dairy industry more information and greater opportunity for input into the evaluation process.
Changes at the NCIMS Conference are applicable to Grade “A” dairy farms, processing plants and milk products. IDFA expects FDA to issue the final report in October 2017 and to require implementation by October 2018, unless other dates are specifically noted.
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