OEHHA drafts food warning regulations

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 25, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The food and beverage industry, grocers, retailers and other stakeholders have been working with Cal EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) for nearly two years to establish an alternative Prop 65 Food Warning system.

Workshops have focused on a voluntary compliance system which would  provide a "Safe Harbor" to those who comply, but, at the same time, enable consumers to better understand what is in the food products that they are purchasing.  In April of this year, a business stakeholders coalition proposed draft regulations to accomplish this task.  No other stakeholder group presented draft regulations.  

On August 28th, OEHHA released their pre-regulatory public draft amendments to Prop 65 which include a number of deficiencies from an industry perspective and would make the program unworkable and unusable by grocer/retailers and food manufacturers.  (The official regulator process has not been initiated and likely will not occur until early 2010.)

The OEHHA draft amendments would make retailers and manufacturers jointly liable, holding both responsible for each other’s actions.  The signage and labeling required under this draft proposal are too much, too cumbersome, too time consuming and take up too much space.  Moreover, small grocers would be at a distinct disadvantage to keep up with changes.  Adherence to the requirement to update ingredients and warnings every 30 days would be impossible.  

OEHHA will be holding a workshop on this issue today, September 25, at Cal EPA in Sacramento.  CMTA will urge OEHHA to follow the Business Stakeholders Coalition’s proposal.

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