The FDA is reopening the public comment period on a proposed rule that would allow the use of ultrafiltered milk in certain cheeses and cheese products. The move will give consumers and others an additional 120 days to file comments.
Although the current comment period is set to end on March 30, the new comment period may not begin the following day. The new comment period will begin on the day the FDA’s notice is published in the Federal Register.
The public, industry and all other entities will have 120 days from the publication of the notice to file their comments with the Food and Drug Administration.
“The agency is reopening the comment period to solicit any new information on current industry practices regarding the use of fluid UF (ultrafiltered fluid) milk and fluid UF nonfat milk and on labeling of UF fluid milk and fluid UF nonfat milk when used as ingredients,” according to an FDA announcement March 26.
“The proposed rule, which was issued on Oct. 19, 2005, would amend the definitions of ‘milk’ and ‘nonfat milk’ for cheeses and related cheese products in FDA’s regulations on food standards — often referred to as standards of identity.”
Ultrafiltered milk, according to the FDA, is raw or pasteurized milk that is mechanically filtered to concentrate proteins. In the process, some of the lactose, minerals and water-soluble vitamins are lost, along with water. The resulting protein concentrate is easier and more cost effective to ship. This same process applies to UF nonfat milk, except that raw or pasteurized nonfat milk is used.
The reason behind the new comment period is to give the FDA time to solicit any new information on current industry practices regarding the use of fluid UF milk and fluid UF nonfat milk and on labeling of UF fluid milk and fluid UF nonfat milk when used as ingredients.
“In 2017, FDA issued guidance to industry indicating that it is exercising enforcement discretion regarding the use and ingredient labeling of fluid UF milk and fluid UF nonfat milk in the manufacture of standardized cheeses and related cheese products while it considers rulemaking,” according to the FDA’s announcement.
“FDA has seen the marketplace evolve and believes it is appropriate to give interested persons another opportunity to comment on the issues raised by the rulemaking.”
Submit electronic comments on https://www.regulations.gov to docket folder FDA-2007-0629.
Written comments should be sent to:
Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061,
Rockville, MD 20852
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)