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PMO Progress Continues as FDA Accepts Nearly All Recommendations

Oct 16, 2013

The executive board of the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) met last week in Chicago to finalize conference actions on the 2013 Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). The actions were based on the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of all but one of the proposals put forth by the NCIMS following its spring conference.

As a next step, FDA will issue a detailed memorandum, IMS-a-49, outlining the specific changes to the PMO and related documents. The finalized proposals will take effect one year after the date that the IMS-a memo is issued unless other effective dates for individual proposals have been established.

Two updates that are important to IDFA members will take effect immediately following FDA’s release of IMS-a-49, which is expected  in the next few weeks. The International Certification Program, which ran successfully for six years as a pilot program, will become an official part of PMO. The certification program allows international dairy processing companies to use third-party inspectors to implement the regulations of the PMO for export of Grade “A” dairy products to the United States. In addition, FDA agreed to modify the regulations for aseptic Grade “A” milk and milk products to include low-acid milk and milk products that are retorted, or sterilized, after packaging.

“We continue to advocate for reasonable regulations in the PMO that will enhance food safety and encourage trade, and the International Certification Program is an important step to remove market barriers for trade agreements,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and NCIMS executive board member. Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs and NCIMS program chair and board member, also attended the meeting. 

The lone proposal not accepted by FDA would have extended the allowable transit time for water samples before testing from 30 hours to 48 hours. FDA cited “a lack of appropriate science” as its reason for not supporting the proposal. The board took formal action to disagree with FDA on this non-concurrence, which means procedurally the proposal will be returned for consideration at the 2015 NCIMS conference.

Captain Robert Hennes, who is the Grade “A” Milk Safety Program Team Leader for the U.S. Public Health Service, joined the meeting by phone. Hennes is the designated essential employee for the Milk Safety Team who is working during the government shutdown.

The PMO incorporates provisions governing the processing, packaging and sale of Grade “A” milk and milk products, including yogurt, fermented milk products, whey, whey products and condensed and dry milk products. The NCIMS, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding with FDA, recommends changes and modifications to the PMO at its biennial conferences.

For background, visit “NCIMS Delegates Pass IDFA Proposal, Adopt International Certification Program,” 5/1/13

Members may login to read a complete summary of the NCIMS proposals referred to FDA.

Members with questions may contact Frye at

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