FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tour adds insight for FDA pilot program on inspections
(Athens, Tenn. – April 4, 2018) The Food and Drug Administration announced plans last fall to develop a pilot program to evaluate options for streamlining inspections for facilities that make Grade “A” and non-Grade “A” dairy products, the two general categories of dairy foods that are currently inspected separately by different FDA staff. IDFA and its members, including Dean Foods Company, support FDA’s plan to maximize federal and state resources and conduct these inspections during one visit, while maintaining high standards of food safety. Together, they arranged for federal and state officials to visit Mayfield Dairy, a Dean Foods company in Athens, Tenn., to help inform the agency’s efforts.
Stephen Ostroff, M.D., deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, this morning joined other FDA officials and representatives from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in a comprehensive tour of the Mayfield Dairy milk processing and ice cream manufacturing plant. During the tour, employees demonstrated that many of the production and food safety activities for Grade “A” and non-Grade “A” products are virtually the same, making separate and duplicative inspections for these operations unnecessary.
“Many of IDFA’s Grade ‘A’ milk and milk product processors, like the Mayfield Dairy plant, also produce non-Grade ‘A’ products, such as ice cream mix and ice cream, along with other types of beverages and juice drinks at the same facility,” said Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president of regulatory affairs. “IDFA supports FDA’s efforts to coordinate oversight, make the inspection process more efficient and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens for dairy foods companies.”
Added Efficiency Without Sacrificing Safety
Roger Hooi, senior director of food safety and regulatory affairs for Dean Foods Company, said, “We welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate that these inspections can be successfully integrated for increased efficiency without sacrificing effectiveness or safety in any way.”
Currently, FDA and state officials working under contract for FDA conduct separate inspections for Grade “A” milk and milk products, like fluid milk, and non-Grade “A” milk and milk products, such as cheese and ice cream, which undergo further processing. This approach can result in multiple visits by different state and federal regulators often reviewing the same equipment and processes.
IDFA has urged FDA to reevaluate its dairy plant inspection programs for more efficient oversight, especially under the new Food Safety Modernization Act, and arranged the tour so officials could see the operations firsthand before launching the pilot program.
“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue with Deputy Commissioner Ostroff and members of his staff during the last few months about the pilot program, and I’m pleased that IDFA and Dean Foods could provide deeper insight into dairy facility operations to inform their efforts,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO.
In addition to Ostroff, other FDA officials on the tour were:
- Laurie Farmer, director, Office of State Cooperative Programs;
- Marybeth Willis, milk specialist – Atlanta, Office of State Cooperative Programs, Office of Regulatory Affairs;
- John Sheehan, director, Division of Dairy, Egg and Meat Products, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN);
- Colin Barthel, policy analyst, Office of Analytics and Outreach, CFSAN; and
- Debra DeVlieger, consumer safety officer, national food expert, Office of Regulatory Affairs.
The representatives from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Consumer and Industry Services Division were Keith Harrison, assistant commissioner, and Danny Sutton, dairy director – state rating officer.
# # #
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports nearly 3 million jobs, generates more than $39 billion in direct wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $200 billion. IDFA is the umbrella organization for the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA).
Our members range from large multinational organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Our diverse membership includes numerous food retailers, suppliers and companies that offer infant formula and a wide variety of milk-derived ingredients.
About Dean Foods
Dean Foods is a leading food and beverage company and the largest processor and direct-to-store distributor of fresh fluid milk and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the Dean Foods portfolio includes DairyPure®, the country's first and largest fresh, white milk national brand, and TruMoo®, the leading national flavored milk brand, along with well-known regional dairy brands such as Alta Dena®, Berkeley Farms®, Country Fresh®, Dean’s®, Friendly's®, Garelick Farms®, LAND O LAKES®* milk and cultured products*, Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms®, Mayfield®, McArthur®, Meadow Gold®, Oak Farms®, PET®**, T.G. Lee®, Tuscan® and more. In all, Dean Foods has more than 50 national, regional and local dairy brands as well as private labels. Dean Foods also makes and distributes ice cream, cultured products, juices, teas, and bottled water. Almost 16,000 employees across the country work every day to make Dean Foods the most admired and trusted provider of wholesome, great-tasting dairy products at every occasion. For more information about Dean Foods and its brands, visit www.deanfoods.com.
*The LAND O LAKES brand is owned by Land O’Lakes, Inc. and is used by license.
**PET is a trademark of Eagle Family Foods Group LLC, under license.