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IDFA Opposes Proposed 3-A Definition for ESL

Jun 05, 2006

IDFA Opposes Proposed 3-A Definition for ESL

At the annual meeting of 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc., last month in Milwaukee, IDFA representatives expressed concern with a newly proposed definition for extended shelf-life (ESL) products. Under the Plant Support Systems working group's proposed definition, only products with a shelf-life of more than 30 days would qualify as ESL products. The proposal is still under review. State and federal regulators often look to the 3-A standards when setting and enforcing their own regulations.

"We oppose this definition as unnecessarily restrictive," said IDFA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Allen Sayler. "This proposal also highlights our concern that more dairy processors need to be involved in 3-A working group activities, to prevent changes like this to 3-A equipment standards and operating practices that are often enforced by state and FDA regulators."

A further example of a potential problem for dairy processors was the working group's decision to replace all "should" language in the 3-A practice on clean-in-place (CIP) systems with "shall," making these items a requirement rather than a recommendation.

More than 100 state and federal (Food and Drug Administration) dairy regulators, equipment manufacturers and dairy processing plant representatives attended the annual meeting, including 15 IDFA members. Sayler participated in the board of directors meeting and facilitated member involvement in several working groups. The groups covered issues relating to vessels, fillers, heat exchangers, pumps and mixers, cheese and butter equipment, valves and fittings, conveyors and feeders, concentrating equipment, instrumentation, and materials and testing.

For more information on the annual meeting agenda and the activities, click here.

IDFA will continue to work with the Plant Support Systems group throughout the year on various conference calls to encourage the development of less restrictive ESL standards. Processors interested in weighing in on 3-A proposals or participating more directly should contact Sayler at or 202-220-3544.

3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. is a non-profit association representing equipment manufacturers, processors, regulatory sanitarians and other public health professionals, with the goal of advancing the state of art for hygienic equipment design in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Over several decades, these groups have established an inventory of 3-A Sanitary Standards and 3-A Accepted Practices known around the world for dairy and food processing equipment and systems. IDFA is one of the five founding members of the 3-A program and represents dairy equipment users through its 3-A User Task Force.



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Posted June 5, 2006


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