The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposed exemption for certain cottage cheese products from the requirements of the Food Traceability Rule.  

The Food Traceability Rule establishes additional record-keeping requirements beyond those in existing regulations for those who manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods the agency has designated for inclusion on a Food Traceability List (FTL).

At the core of the traceability rule is a requirement that persons subject to the rule who manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods on the FTL maintain records containing Key Data Elements (KDEs) associated with specific Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) and provide information to the FDA within 24 hours or within some reasonable time to which the FDA has agreed. 

In the final rule, the FDA announced its intention to consider exempting cottage cheese regulated under the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) from the rule’s requirements. 

The PMO represents the most current science-based knowledge and experience concerning the safe production and processing of Grade “A” milk products, including cottage cheese. 

Much of the cottage cheese produced in the United States is regulated through the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), which relies on the PMO. The FDA and NCIMS have developed a cooperative, federal-state program (the Interstate Milk Shippers Program) to ensure the sanitary quality of milk and milk products shipped interstate.

The exemption would apply to all Grade “A” cottage cheese on the Interstate Milk Shippers List.

Electronic or written comments on the proposed exemption are due by Sept. 12. Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at Submit written comments to Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.  

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