Industry members have an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed amendments to the Administrative Requirements of the Marketing Order Regulations for Almonds Grown in California. The proposed amendments were published in the Federal Register back in February. A public comment period has been opened and all comments will need to be submitted by April 25. Director of Quality Assurance and Industry Services for the Almond Board of California (ABC), Tim Birmingham said timely revisions were needed. It had been a number of years since the marketing order had been thoroughly updated and still contained outdated language and irrelevant dates.
“We looked at the entire marketing order and really went through it to try to update it to better reflect current practices and terms that are being used in the industry,” Birmingham explained. “Then we clarified requirements, provisions, and terms for the regulations to better reflect the actual industry practices that were happening.”
A significant amount of thought and deliberation went into the development of the proposed amendments. The process of revision began back in 2020. Incorporating input from the Almond Quality, Food Safety, and Services Committee, ABC’s Board of Directors ultimately approved the final proposed changes during a meeting in June of 2021. Birmingham noted that the marketing order amendments have all been designed to better align with the current state of the industry and provide a more appropriate regulatory framework.
“For instance, on the pasteurization program, we have requirements that handlers can’t ship product unless it’s been pasteurized. Well, we know that handlers will oftentimes utilize third-party folks to do some sorting or cleaning-type activities for them. Those should not be considered a shipment and subject to pasteurization requirements,” said Birmingham. “So, we clarified that in the rule to make that a little bit more clear that that is not considered a shipment that needs to be pasteurized.”
Listen to Birmingham’s interview below.