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IDFA Supports Milk Exemption from EPA Oil Spill Program

Feb 23, 2009

IDFA Submits Comments Supporting Milk Exemption from Oil Spill Program

IDFA last week submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency that support the agency's proposed rule to exempt milk from its oil spill prevention and control program. In its comments, IDFA emphasized that the final exemption should be extended to include not only milk but milk products, such as cheese, cream, yogurt and ice cream mix.

The proposed exemption from its Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program could save the dairy industry $155 million each year by eliminating the need for secondary containment and the costs associated with preparing and maintaining a spill-prevention plan. IDFA Vice President Clay Detlefsen estimates that processors will save approximately $20 million of this amount in compliance costs annually.

According to the proposed rule, producers and processors would be exempt provided their milk containers and other equipment meet current 3-A Sanitary Standards and comply with the Grade "A" Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) or equivalent state regulations. The 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that maintains standards and practices for the sanitary design, fabrication, installation and operation of equipment and machinery used in food production. The PMO establishes criteria for permits, inspection and enforcement of milk-handling equipment and operations that govern all processes for milk intended for human consumption.

"These products and containers, associated piping and appurtenances in which they are made or stored, do not present a requisite risk or potential of spilling into navigable waters of the United States," Detlefsen said. "Milk products should be exempt because they are not oil."

The Obama administration issued a stay January 20 on all unfinished regulatory actions, but IDFA believes the proposed rule, once reviewed by administration officials, will be allowed to proceed.

Other organizations that have voiced support for the exemption are the Food Industry Environmental Council, the Michigan Milk Producers Association and the National Milk Producers Federation in conjunction with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

Members with questions may contact Detlefsen at or (202) 220-3554.


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