IWLA supports the core purpose of the Food Safety Modernization Act to keep the food supply safe through best practices in manufacturing, preventative controls and safety audits. However, the so-called Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls on Food for Animals rule has triggered IWLA to raise issues around the distinctive characteristics of the warehouse-based third-party logistics provider.
The commentary filing raised two issues identified within the language of the current rule as misleading on the roles and responsibilities between the food product owner and warehouse.
Clarifying the meaning "solely engaged": A typical 3PL warehouse maintains up to 400,000 square feet or more of space designed for multiple customers with a range of different products. The IWLA believes that "solely engaged in the storage of packaged food" is intended to refer only to those activities in the warehouse that trigger registration under the Food Safety Modernization Act ("FSMA") and does not refer to any nonfood activities that are outside the scope of FSMA.
Responsibility for determining time and temperature controls: The current rule states that it is "rare" for warehouse operators not to have information on whether temperature controls are required and what specific temperature controls are necessary. In fact, it is rare for the 3PL to have sufficient information to determine this, the IWLA statement maintains. The FDA does not serve the goals of food safety by placing this responsibility on a party that is not in a position to make a substantive determination about the temperature control needs of a product.
"IWLA recommended that the FDA insist that the responsibility for this determination be placed on the party in the best position to know: the product owner. The agency should require this information to be passed to supply chain participants who store the food," says IWLA Washington Representative Pat O'Connor.
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