FDA Seeks Data for ‘Rarely Consumed Raw’ Exemption Under FSMA

Brian German Industry

Rarely Consumed Raw

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking additional information as it considers expanding the “rarely consumed raw” list. Produce commodities that have low reported rates of consumption are exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule. The FDA has issued a Request for Information which will continue receiving comments through November 9. FDA had previously stated its intent to exercise discretion when it comes to enforcement for select commodities which are covered under the Product Safety Rule.

The “rarely consumed raw” list is comprised of foods that are nearly always cooked before being cosumed. In order to be added to the list commodities have to meet a series of criteria. The commodity is only consumed raw by less than 0.1 percent of Americans. The commodity can only be eaten uncooked on less than 0.1 percent of eating occasions. At least one percent of the weighted number of survey respondents must also report eating the commodity in any form.

FDA incorporated information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey/What We Eat in America (NHANES/WWEIA) dataset and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Commodity Intake Database (FCID) to develop the “rarely consumed raw” list. Cooking is considered a kill step in terms of food safety. The process of cooking a commodity is considered to reduce the presence of any microorganisms that may be a public health concern to acceptable levels.

There were multiple commodities that satisfied two of the three criteria for consideration; however, they did not meet the one percent threshold of consumption by survey respondents. These commodities considered “produce commodities with low reported consumption,” include certain types of artichokes, brussels sprouts, Chinese broccoli, and bok choy. There were only two examples of produce items that have no reported consumption, arrowroot and fiddleheads.

FDA is asking for data indicating whether certain commodities that have either no or low reported consumption in NHANES/WWEIA should be classified as “rarely consumed raw.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West