The American Bakers Association (ABA), Washington, D.C., has won a major victory on behalf of the wholesale baking industry with the inclusion of an exemption from preventative control provisions for ambient temperature depots and warehouses in the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent proposal, “Preventive Controls for Human Food: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Foods.”

In July 2012, ABA led a food industry petition urging FDA to exempt storage facilities from its preventative controls provisions. FDA’s proposal, released last week, contains several exemptions, including one for nonrefrigerated distribution warehouses such as those used by the baking industry. This petition was allowed under language in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was included at ABA’s recommendation.

“Granting flexibility to bakers and other low-risk distribution facilities is a win for bakers, food manufacturers and FDA,” says ABA president and CEO Robb MacKie. “This exemption will allow FDA to reserve its limited resources for facilities with the higher potential for food safety issues.”

ABA senior vice president of government relations and public affairs Lee Sanders adds, “Commercial bakeries utilize storage facilities as a short-term intermediary between the bakery and retailers and other customers, to facilitate expeditious distribution of freshly-prepared products. These foods typically remain in distribution facilities less than 24-36 hours.”

Under the newly released provisions, refrigerated warehouses would be subject to modified preventive control requirements. FDA’s proposal adds new preventive controls provisions for facilities registered with FDA’s current food facility registration regulations. Covered facilities will need to maintain a food safety plan, perform a hazard analysis and institute preventive controls for the mitigation of those hazards.

ABA will be preparing comments in response to FDA’s proposal. Those comments are due to the agency in mid-May.