Grade “A” milk and milk product facilities operating under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) will have until September 17, 2018, to implement new changes that will align the PMO with the Food and Drug Administration’s final Preventive Controls Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA issued the decision last Friday in response to a request from the Executive Board of the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) to reconcile conflicting compliance dates in the PMO and the final rule.

The NCIMS realized earlier this month that newly approved PMO provisions that seek to align it with the Preventive Control Rule had an effective date of September 17, 2016, but FDA had stated that compliance with the final rule isn’t expected until 2018. To resolve the conflicting effective dates, NCIMS asked FDA to “exercise discretion” by not enforcing the new provisions during Interstate Milk Shippers (IMS) plant ratings and check ratings until September 17, 2018, and FDA agreed.

These new PMO provisions, which were adopted by the NCIMS in April, will require plants to develop and implement recall plans, allergen control plans, and environmental monitoring and supplier control programs.

This extension only applies only to Grade ‘‘A’’ milk and milk products covered by NCIMS under the PMO and not to the manufacturing, processing, packing or holding of other foods, such as non-Grade “A” products, at that facility. Dairy plants processing non-Grade “A” products, such as ice cream, cheese, butter, iced tea or other foods will have to comply with FSMA regulations by September 18, 2016, unless they qualify as small or very small businesses that will receive extra time.

Members may log in to read more details about the specific PMO changes adopted in April on page 3 of the Regulatory Update, “2015 NCIMS Highlights Good Progress on Food Safety Modernization Integration and Drug Residue Testing.”