NCIMS Conference Approves Pilot Program to Expand Testing for Drug Residues; Aligns PMO with New FSMA Regulations
May 11, 2015
The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments met in Portland, Oregon, from April 24-29, to address the 100 proposals submitted to revise the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance and its related documents. NMPF staff attended the conference to advocate positions of interest to dairy cooperatives and farmers. Many NMPF members also attended and played key roles in the deliberations of the Conference, which is comprised of state health departments and the FDA.
There were several noteworthy developments among the proposals adopted by the conference during its biennial meeting:
- This year’s NCIMS meeting culminated a years-long effort to align the PMO with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Preventive Controls provisions, an effort spearheaded by NMPF in collaboration with the NCIMS Liaison Committee. Ultimately, four separate proposals from the Liaison Committee were passed by the delegate body to modify the PMO to address gaps that existed between the PMO and FSMA. By passing the proposals, it was recognized that an exemption from FSMA for Grade-A facilities would not be necessary, as PMO-regulated facilities would be compliant with FSMA, and these facilities would continue to be regulated and inspected under the PMO moving forward. This is an important victory for farmers so that they will not be regulated by duplicative federal regulations.
- Three significant proposals related to drug residue testing were passed by the delegates: 1) A pilot program will be developed to expand the drugs (beyond beta-lactams) for which testing is required; 2) Protocols and responsibilities were established related to use of “unapproved” drug residue testing, or testing that is done outside of what is currently required (i.e., non-beta-lactams) using test kits that have not been approved by FDA and NCIMS; 3) The criteria for approving drug residue test kits was modified – specifically the sensitivity requirement for tetracyclines and for other drugs that have “safe” levels was lessened. Many details about the new pilot program, including its scope and timing, were left unresolved. The Appendix N committee of NCIMS will meet in early June to being addressing the details.
- A proposal to lower the Somatic Cell Count requirement from 750,000 cells/ml, to 400,000, failed on the delegate floor by a vote of 18-32.
A special NCIMS edition of NMPF’s Regulatory Register will be published soon to provide a detailed accounting of all actions from the NCIMS Conference.