Federal rules for retailers

by Jeff Gelski and Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON — New retail limitations on the dollar amount of meat and poultry products retail stores may sell to foodservice operators to qualify for exemption from federal inspection requirements take effect April 23.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture said dollar limitations for meat and meat food products increased from $70,400 to $76,900, while the limitation for poultry products rose from $57,100 to $58,200. FSIS said the new dollar limitations reflect price changes for meat and poultry products based on the Consumer Price Index.
  
Also impacting food retailers, the number of retail food establishments exempt from a requirement to register with the Food and Drug Administration under the Food Safety and Modernization Act would increase under a proposed rule from the FDA.

Currently, food facilities that manufacture/process, pack or hold food for US consumption must register with the FDA Retail food establishments are exempt. The proposed rule, found in the April 9 issue of the Federal Register, would clarify the definition of “retail food establishment” to include such direct sales platforms as roadside stands, farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

The FDA estimated about 71,000 farms only sell food products to consumers in ways that include farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA programs. The FDA does not know how many of these farms currently must register with the FDA and, under the proposed rule, no longer would be required to do so.
The FDA will accept public comments on the proposed rule until June 8.
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