Georgia Department of Agriculture

Notice of Intent to Consider the adoption of a Proposed Rule Regarding Additional regulations applicable to processing plants

Friday, April 29, 2011

TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS AND PARTIES:   

Pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, O.C.G.A. § 26-2-27.1(c)(ii), notice is hereby given that the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be accepting written comments regarding the adoption of a proposed addition to Rule 40-7-18 relating to the civil penalties for food processing plants that fail to comply with the testing regiment as specified under 40-7-18-.06. This addendum will also include the adoption by reference Title 21 Parts 81 (General Uses for Provisional Color Additives in Food) and 118 (Production, Storage, and Transportation of Shell Eggs) of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Department will be accepting written comments from April 29, 2011, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on May 31, 2011.

SYNOPSIS, MAIN FEATURES AND DIFFERENCES:

It is proposed to promulgate regulations to comply with Senate Bill 883, passed during the 2010 Legislative Session, and O.C.G.A. § 26-2-27.1, which were implemented to allow for the imposition of civil penalties for food processing plants that fail to comply with the finished product and finished product ingredient testing requirements and/or notification to the Department for the presence of poisonous or deleterious substances or other contaminants.

Basically, SB 883 requires the Commissioner to establish a schedule of civil penalties imposed upon food processing plants that fail to comply with the testing regiment as specified under 40-7-18-.06, fail to report a positive finished product and/or finished product ingredient test as specified under 40-7-18-.07, violates record keeping as required by section 40-7-18-.08, or knowingly introduces into commerce finished foods or finished food ingredients adulterated with the presence of poisonous or deleterious substances or other contaminates.

The addition of Rule 40-7-18-.13, promulgated pursuant to this Senate Bill and O.C.G.A. § 26-2-27.1, will identify the civil penalties associated with each violation. Specifically, the Department is proposing to impose a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for each violation. Moreover, for a food processing plant that knowingly fails to comply, a civil penalty of $7,500.00 will be imposed. Each day a violation continues after first being documented will be considered a separate violation. Such penalties shall be subject to review in the manner prescribed by the Department’s Administrative Rules of Practice and Procedure Rules 40-1-2.

In addition to such civil penalties, within 30 days of the determination by the Commissioner that such violation has occurred, the Department will require the food processing plant to submit to the Commissioner a “Written Plan” as specified in the proposed rule change.

Further, the proposed rule will provide that any person who knowingly fails to make the report required by section 40-7-18-.07 and/or knowingly violates record keeping as required by section 40-7-18-.08, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The punishment shall be supplemental to any other applicable provisions of law.

Proposed Rule 40-7-18-.13 would also provide that any person who knowingly introduces into commerce finished foods or finished food ingredients as manufactured at a food processing plant knowing that it contains a substance that would cause a manufactured food bearing or containing the same to be adulterated with the presence of poisonous or deleterious substances or other contaminates shall be guilty of a felony, and , upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years, a fine not to exceed $20,000.00, or both. The punishment shall be supplemental to any other applicable provisions of law.

In addition to the promulgation of Rule 40-7-18-.13, the Department is proposing to adopt by reference the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 Parts 81 (General Uses for Provisional Color Additives in Food) and 118 (Production, Storage, and Transportation of Shell Eggs) to Rule 40-7-18-.12.

Interested persons may call or submit a written request to obtain a copy of the proposed rule. Please submit your written request for a copy of the proposed rule and/or written comments to:

Mr. Oscar Garrison, Division Director
Food Safety
Georgia Department of Agriculture
19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Room 306
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Telephone Number: 404-656-3627
FAX Number: 404-463-6428

Written comments must be received no later than the close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on May 31, 2011. Comments will be considered on June 1, 2011. You may download a copy of the proposed rules in the Proposed Rules section to the right.

This notice is given in compliance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, O.C.G.A. §50-13-4.

Proposed Rules

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