Join EAS for Complimentary Webinars

EAS will host two complimentary webinars in June. First, on the 18th, EAS Independent Consultant Mehrdad Tajkarimi, Ph.D. teams up with Leann Chuboff from SQFI for a webinar on understanding the food fraud puzzle. This webinar is co-sponsored by Food Safety News magazine and will be held at 1pm eastern. Register here.

On June 20, also at 1pm eastern, Senior Director for Pharmaceuticals and Devices, Bryan J. Coleman, will present on GMPs for OTCs with suggestions for how to improve compliance as FDA ramps up enforcement and inspections. With more than 80 therapeutic categories, OTC drug products play an ever-increasing role in health care and manufacturers must recognize that the FDA applies the same, stringent 21 CFR 210 and 211 drug GMP standards to OTC products. Register for the GMPs for OTCs webinar here.

Challenges with Implementing Cleaning Validation

By Miguel Montalvo

Though published well over 25 years ago, FDA’s guidance surrounding cleaning validation continues to cause industry confusion. While everyone agrees that cleaning validation is critical, the application of incorrect or ineffective approaches whether by misunderstanding the purpose of validating cleaning procedures or taking an extremely conservative approach create impractical demands on resources.

Planning is the root of all successful and compliant cleaning validation programs to ensure the assessment will accurately test the desired points. These plans will include a process flow to determine the activities to be conducted starting with the development of matrices for equipment/cleaning procedure combinations for all manufactured products. The next step is to select a worst-case product for each equipment/cleaning procedure combination. It is acceptable to use product family grouping if applicable. Once the worst-case product(s) is(are) chosen, analytical methods that quantify residue levels of target components of these product must be established, including acceptable limits for the residues (also called Maximum Carryover or MACO). The CV protocol can also be prepared at this point. Also, as part of the planning stage, a review of all training programs and process for the cleaning procedures will help to ensure adequate levels of challenges and qualifications are incorporated.

Prerequisites within each protocol execution must be established before initiating cleaning validations. This includes equipment design, analytical methods, adequate cleaning procedures, employee training and calibration of equipment. Cleaning procedures appropriate to each piece of equipment must be documented in appropriate detail. It is not always necessary for the analytical methods to be specific to the chemical entity under examination. If a non-specific method that appropriately measures and quantifies residues of interest under the sampling conditions applied, it’s use may be appropriate. Non-specific analytical methods save time by a considerable factor.

It should be noted that cleaning and sanitizing are often incorrectly combined into one step. The reason these should not be combined is the differences in the purposes. Cleaning is concerned with removing the residues from the previous product (and the cleaning agent if applicable) using a worst-case dirty hold time. Sanitization is concerned with the condition of the equipment before it is used next, particularly from a microbial consideration. As a good option, many companies are establishing a sanitization process/step before using the equipment again and this step is validated separately from the cleaning validation. Or, separately they may test for the microbial bioburden in the equipment surface after the worst-case clean hold time has elapsed to see whether a sanitization step is necessary. If the test fails, the option will be to apply a sanitization step which could be as simple as a high purity water rinse or other more sophisticated processes such as a hydrogen peroxide rinse/application. Of course, these considerations will be affected by the type of product/process being manufactured – from a topical drug, oral solid dosage to the more critical sterile products, specifically those aseptically filled.

There are many considerations when designing and implementing a cleaning validation approach. Ensuring due diligence is paid to assessing and determining which factors best suit each situation will pay dividends in the long run with a thorough and well documented program.

For more information on cleaning validation, including critical missteps, you may wish to view Miguel’s full length article recently published by the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers blog (ISPE iSpeak). EAS offers assessment and development of cleaning validation protocols. Contact us to learn more.

EAS Offers Pre-Clinical Safety/Tox Study Services for GRAS and NDI Submissions.

EAS offers holistic and cohesive services for clients looking to submit GRAS and NDI submissions to FDA. From the assessments to design of early feasibility studies, ongoing study oversight with the Contract Research Organization, strategy meetings with FDA and the preparation and dossier submissions, EAS’ expert toxicologists, microbiologists and chemists work closely to ensure prioritization of your study needs and execution. 

Choose EAS for:

  • Determination of required performance outcomes and appropriate studies 
  • Development of study design and protocols
  • Identification of an appropriate Contract Research Organization (CRO)
  • Coordination of the study initiation and management oversight with the CRO
  • On-going monitoring of study protocols and outcomes
  • Input of appropriate data for inclusion in study reports
  • Support the writing of the dossier for FDA submission

What are the Steps to Reporting an Adverse Event to FDA?

By Robert Fish

Each month EAS independent consultants answer one question sent in by readers of EASeNews. This month’s question on adverse events reporting for both OTCs and dietary supplements is answered by Independent Advisor for Quality and Compliance, Robert Fish. Mr. Fish spent 33 years with FDA, including time as the Director, Division of Field Investigations where was responsible for general policy and guidance for the Agency’s domestic and international investigation activities. He has expertise in compliance matters and cGMPs as they relate to pharmaceutical, device, and biologics manufacture. Further, Mr. Fish is ISO 9000 Lead Assessor Trained and is an AFDO Certified HACCP Instructor. He is a sought-after expert, speaking at international events on FDA inspections and GMPs.

Question: What are the steps to reporting an Adverse Event to FDA? 

Fish: In December 2007 the Dietary Supplement and Non-prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (The Act) became effective. That law required that all over the counter drug and dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors investigate and report to FDA any serious adverse event reports concerning any of their marketed products.

The Act defines an adverse event as any undesirable experience associated with the use of a medical product in a patient. The event is considered serious when the patent outcome is:

  • Death
  • Life-threatening
  • Hospitalization (initial or prolonged)
  • Disability or Permanent Damage
  • Congenital anomaly/birth defect

Other serious (example-required medical or surgical intervention, allergic bronchospasm)

The Act requires that reports of serious adverse events be reported to FDA within 15 business days of receiving the information. The reports are required to submitted using Med Watch Form 3500A.

FDA issued Guidance for Industry concerning this adverse event reporting as well as guidance for completion of the Med Watch 3500A form.

Companies must have procedures in place to screen all complaints for any possible indications of adverse events with the marketed products. Those that meet the definition of serious must be investigated and reported on the Med Watch Form 3500A within 15 business days. Screening of the complaints may require the assistance of medically trained staff.

Once a 3500A has been submitted, update reports can and should be submitted as more information becomes available. 

EAS offers assistance with the completion of 3500A reports as well as assessments of consumer comments and complaints for applicability to this regulation. Contact EAS for more information.

Couch to Speak at the ACI – CRN Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Forum

Tara Couch will also speak at the ACI – CRN Dietary Supplement Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Forum taking place June 18-20, 2019 in New York City. Tara will present as part of a panel called Coattails, Master Files, and NDIs which will be held on June 18 and will be analyzing the latest statements and activities from FDA with regard to NDI systems and guidance that would help protect the manufacturers’ significant investment in developing new dietary ingredients; comparing similarities with FDA’s proposals for NDIs to similar proprietary systems enforced by FDA; and exploring mechanisms for FDA enforcement.

Final Guidance for Food Contact Notifications – Infant Formula and / or Human Milk

FDA’s Final Guidance for preparation of Food Contact Notifications for substances that come into contact with infant formula and human milk is intended to help industry understand FDA’s process for evaluating the safety of food contact substances. It incorporates the latest scientific thinking about the effects chemical substances may have on infant health. If you missed the recent EAS webinar on infant formula submissions, you may find it On-Demand. If you have specific questions about this Guidance, development of infant formula products, including GRAS submissions, or submission of a Food Contact Notification contact EAS.

EAS Exhibiting at Future Food Tech

EAS Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler and Independent Consultant, Ron Levine, will represent EAS at Future Food Tech – NYC taking place June 18-19, 2019 in New York City. Stop by the EAS booth to learn more about our services for food innovators such as product development and labeling, food additive submissions for new ingredients, claims substantiation and more.

Challenges with Implementing Pharma Cleaning Validation

Edward A. Steele

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the June 2019 issue of EASeNews, the free newsletter for FDA regulated industries. FDA has been busy with initiatives this month. As you’ll see in our What’s New at FDA section, two of these include FDA’s finalized Guidance for abbreviated drug submissions as well as food contact notifications products that come into contact with infant formula and human milk. Additionally, FDA announced the decision to extend the registration period for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) for fiscal year 2020 until July 31, 2019. Annual benefits will then take effect beginning October 1. VQIP is a voluntary fee-based program established by the FDA FSMA that provides for expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the US for approved applicants who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains. If you feel your company qualifies for VQIP or would like an assessment or assistance completing the application process, please feel free to contact me.

I am happy to say EAS has announced our fall line-up of compliance seminars taking place in Irvine, CA. We are offering Dietary Supplement Labeling November 12-13, 2019 Food Labeling November 14-15 and Dietary Supplement GMPs November 14-15. We invite you to register now for early-bird pricing.

We welcome two new consultants this month, Tom Jonaitis and Veronica Ortiz de Montellano, both of whom will be of invaluable assistance particularly to clients working with both USFDA and Health Canada as well as firms operating in Mexico who export products to the US.

Our issue of the month is written by Miguel Montalvo and discusses some of the many challenges with pharmaceutical Cleaning Validation. This article is a condensed version of a full-length feature published by the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering’s website, ISPE iSpeak. EAS consultants are pleased to provide monthly articles for ISPE iSpeak readers on a variety of topics pertaining to the pharmaceutical and OTC-drug industry. Our Ask the Expert is written by Robert Fish, Independent Advisor for Quality and Compliance and discusses Adverse Events Reporting requirements; and our Did you Know covers EAS capabilities with Contract Research Organizations (CROs) which are heavily utilized and a lifeblood for companies conducting safety studies in the preparation of food additive submissions.

We have two complimentary webinars coming up in June – on June 18 independent consultant Mehrdad Tajkarimi, PH.D. and Leann Chuboff of SQFI will discuss the food fraud puzzle. This webinar is co-sponsored by Food Safety News magazine. On June 20 Bryan J. Coleman, Senior Director for Drugs and Devices will present on GMPs for OTCs and how to improve compliance. We hope that you join us for these and watch any of our previous webinars available on-demand on the EAS website, including May’s webinars on cosmetics claims and how FDA views certain terms when considering whether a product to be a cosmetic or unapproved new drug; and compliance with 21 CFR Part 11.

Thank you as always for your interest in EAS and please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Edward A. Steele Signature

Edward A. Steele

Fairman Authors Supply Chain Transparency and Quality Assurance Articles for Natural Products Insider

EAS Independent Consultant Heather Fairman authored two recent articles for Natural Products Insider. First, Supply Chain Transparency on the demand by consumers and regulators for supply chain transparency from farm to fork. Next, Quality Assurance for manufacturers of nutrition bars. In addition to consulting for EAS, Heather is a technical advisor for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON, sidsdock.org), an intergovernmental organization.

Cathey on Creating Dietary Supplement Specifications

Tamika Cathey was a guest columnist for Ask the Expert in Tablets and Capsules Solid Dose Digest where she responded to the question of creating a dietary supplement specification program that meets FDA expectations. In June 2007, the FDA published 21 CFR Part 111, which established cGMP requirements for dietary supplements. Since then, manufacturers have struggled to understand and comply with these requirements regarding specifications development.

Meet June 2019 Issue of the Month Author Miguel Montalvo

EAS Consulting Group independent consultant, Miguel Montalvo, is an expert in GMP and GAP assessments for pharmaceuticals, including injectables, solid dosage, OTC topicals and biologics, as well as medical devices and dietary supplements. He has developed, implemented, reviewed, managed and audited quality and GMP compliance functional procedures including those related to laboratory operations, Quality Systems, CAPA, Non-Conformance documentation, Change Control management, calibrations, procedural and documentation controls and internal audit programs. Prior to consulting Miguel worked in industry holding positions at Baxter Healthcare and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Meet New Consultants for June 2019

Tom Jonaitis

Tom Jonaitis

Canadian-based Tom Jonaitis works with clients in the food, dietary supplement, consumer product and related industries, providing comprehensive toxicology and regulatory consulting guidance and support. He is an expert in regulatory evaluations including scientific literature hazard reviews and summaries, as well as creating pre-market quality and safety dossiers for novel food and dietary supplement ingredients applications to government agencies – FDA, Health Canada and Australia’s TGA, FSANZ. Tom reviews and evaluates the results of in vitro and in vivo toxicological studies and has additional expertise in pesticide/agricultural chemical regulations, workplace hazard classifications, and spray foam human health risk assessments.

Veronica Ortiz de Montellano

Veronica Montellano

Veronica Ortiz de Montellano is based in Mexico and offers assistance in foods, packaging and preservation. She is an expert in food design and process developments including structure, formulation and additives including Thermal Process controls and records for Aseptic Processing and Packaging Systems including microbiological testing for Aseptic Production and CIP programs for Aseptic Systems. In addition, she conducts analyses of packaging materials and utensils to analyze stability, migration, contamination, flavor degradation and more.

EAS Blogs on Proposed Efficiencies in Pharma Manufacturing

EAS regulatory intern Neha Mookuparambil authored a blog for ISPE iSpeak on FDA’s Proposed Approach to Improve Efficiencies for the Advancement of Pharma Manufacturing through Continuous Manufacturing. The FDA has been pushing for advanced manufacturing processes in the pharmaceutical industry. The efficiency, consistency, reliability and ease with adoption of CM could provide for cost benefits and timely supply of drugs.

FDA Strengthens Process of Initiating Voluntary Recalls

Voluntary recalls are a vital means to protect public health and typically are the quickest way to remove defective or potentially harmful food, medical, and consumer products from the market. FDA’s new Draft Guidance includes steps companies may take to plan, prepare and initiate a voluntary recall in the event of a problem. The Guidance includes information on employee training, record keeping and written procedures for executing a recall. Companies in need of assistance in developing these tools or who feel a voluntary recall is warranted may contact EAS for assistance. 

Final Guidance for Abbreviated Drug Application Submissions

FDA has issued Final Guidance related to drug marketing application submissions for human drugs and recommendations for considerations of whether to submit a 501(b)(2) New Drug Application, commonly referred to as an NDA, or a 505(j) Abbreviated New Drug Application, commonly referred to as an ANDA. These are two of the four available pathways for drug submissions for FDA approval, with ANDA known as an abbreviated pathway.

While an NDA is required for all new drug products, administration routes, etc, an ANDA may be an appropriate submission for products which duplicate a previously reference listed drug (RLD) that FDA has already determined is safe and effective. In such cases where the active ingredient(s), dosage form, route of administration, strength, previously approved conditions of use, and labeling (with certain exceptions) mimic that of a RLD, an ANDA may be appropriate. ANDAs must still include full investigative reports of safety and effectiveness, and may also rely on FDA’s previous finding of such to the extent that the proposed drug shares the same characteristics as the RLD.

It is important to note that in cases where an ANDA is the appropriate submission choice, FDA will reject a 501(b)(2) application as a duplicate of an RLD. Therefore, a thorough consideration of the drug under submission compared to RLDs already approved by FDA is warranted. Firms wishing to outsource this review and seek recommendations on the appropriate FDA filing are invited to contact Bryan Coleman, Senior Director of Drugs and Medical Devices.

Couch to Present at World Tea Expo

Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., Senior Director of Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services will present a session on “Dietary Supplements or Food – What is Tea?” at the World Tea Expo which is being held June 10-13, 2019 in Las Vegas. With the enforcement of provisions under FSMA and FDA’s dedicated review of ingredients it considers to be DSHEA, understanding how to market teas, powders and botanicals has never been more critical. Join Tara on June 12, 2019 for her presentation.

EAS to Exhibit at IFT Annual Meeting

Join EAS Chairman and CEO, Ed Steele, President and COO, Dean Cirotta and Director of Labeling and Cosmetics, Cathryn Sacra at the EAS booth #424 on June 3-5, 2019 at the IFT Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Discuss regulatory needs pertaining to foods and dietary supplements and learn how EAS can assist your firm. Interested in registering for our fall food and dietary supplement compliance seminars? Stop by the EAS booth to pick up our special IFT registration discount code.

May 2019 Drug and Device Corner

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

CDER

CDER & CBER

CBER

CDRH

Sayler Interviewed for Food Processing Magazine Article on Trump’s Effect on Food Industry

EAS Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, was interviewed for an article published in Food Processing Magazine on the regulatory state of the food industry under the Trump administration. Published during Scott Gottlieb’s tenure as FDA commissioner, Sayler discussed how Gottleib appeared to have the full confidence of the Trump administration. EAS continues to monitor Agency updates under the acting commissioner, Norman Sharpless.

Big Data, Real World Evidence and The Digital Revolution – Hang On!

By: John Brennan

Executives from AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Co., Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Sanofi were grilled on Capital Hill in February on topics ranging from drug pricing, reimbursement, rebates and patent extensions to executive compensation. Senators called for new actions to address the high cost of prescription drugs in America.

Costs to the consumer and healthcare systems are immense. The US spent 345 billion USD on prescription drugs in 2018 and growth estimates could reach 500 billion by 2025. Although not discussed at the hearing, a significant portion (15% to 20%) of the pharma revenue stream is used for pharmaceutical R and D. This investment is the lifeblood of the global pharmaceutical industry. However, discovery, development and commercialization of a NCE or biologic could cost as much as 2.0 billion USD when failures and opportunity costs are taken into consideration. Adding to the cost and risk is the complexity of modern drug development. Establishing drug safety, determining efficacy and ensuring product quality are expensive tasks that must be monitored by sponsors and regulatory agencies. Then, there is the issue of reimbursement: market access, value proposition and pricing are the domain of the commercial payers, the new stakeholder with requirements that must be addressed in all development and commercialization scenarios.

Designing and aligning the appropriate regulatory strategy for each development asset is a critical component of program success. Here are a few of the emerging topics in drug development that should be contemplated when constructing the regulatory pathway for a NCE or biologic.

“Big Data” is a term used to describe large complex historical data sets that can be extracted and analyzed using methods that are different from traditional data management procedures. One application of “big data” gaining some traction in clinical trial design is the use of historical information to create a “synthetic” control arm instead of a traditional placebo treatment. The use of synthetic controls will never replace the randomized controlled study design but the new analysis tools for complex “big data” sets could cut control groups in half or replace them altogether, especially when traditional designs become prohibitive or historical data is complete and well-characterized.

Real World Evidence (RWE) and Patient Centricity. RWE is information collected outside of a formal clinical trial. It includes electronic medical records, claims and billing data, patient and disease registries and data gathered through wearable digital devices. In a recent address to the National Academy of Sciences and in a subsequent publication, CDER’s Janet Woodcock advocated for the use of RWE as a way of collecting and using patient data in clinical trials. Woodcock noted there has been little use of RWE in drug regulatory decisions regarding drug effectiveness. A draft guidance on RWE and a framework for its use is in the works at FDA and scheduled for release in 2020. Further, regulatory agencies have been asking for information on how clinical trials can be “fit for purpose” “with the patient population. Sponsors are now checking protocol design and interventions with patients, not just investigators, KOLs and internal experts. Patient centricity will be very relevant in future regulatory dossier reviews and approvals.

The Digital Health Revolution. Ten years ago it was hard to envision that connectable biosensors, wearables, implantables, smartphone applications, artificial intelligence, remote patient monitoring and machine learning would impact data collection and enable the emergence of personalized medicine. Now, many study protocols use digital and mobile technology as an integral part of study execution.

Value Proposition and Reimbursement. The “fee for care” model used in healthcare is shifting to value-based reimbursement. While regulatory approval requires demonstration of patient safety and efficacy, payer access requires a clear demonstration of a value proposition to qualify for reimbursement. Pipeline commercial development centered on pricing, market access and payer acceptance are now built into development programs long before final investment decisions are made at the governance level. Elements of the value proposition could include differentiation over standard-of-care, price, ease of use and innovative packaging.

These are just a few of the issues that impact strategic regulatory drug development right now. There are others: biosimilars, regulatory guidance for cell and gene therapy and precision medicine applications to minimize patient variability and improve response rate. On top of all this, regulators and sponsors will have to guide new product promotion to be consistent with product labeling as drug development and regulatory approval become more complex.

EAS offers a wealth of knowledge, enabling the development of regulatory strategies that best position your products in today’s environment. For more information or to discuss your product’s challenges contact Bryan J. Coleman, Senior Director for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices at bcoleman@easconsultinggroup.com. We also invite you to view our industry services sheet or the pharmaceutical tab on the EAS website.

Coleman to Present at CHPA Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Committee Meeting

Senior Director for Pharmaceutical and Device Consulting Services, Bryan Coleman, will speak on recent inspection trends for cosmetic to OTC crossover products at the upcoming CHPA Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Committee Meeting on May 20 in Bethesda, MD. In addition, EAS is a proud sponsor of the Regulatory and Scientific Quality conference which takes place May 21-22, also in Bethesda.

EAS to Sponsor, Exhibit and Participate on Panel at Upcoming FDLI Annual Meeting

EAS is a proud sponsor of the FDLI Annual Conference, taking place in Washington, D.C. May 2-3. In addition, Senior Director Tara Couch will be participating in a breakout session on day one covering a status update on Modified Risk Tobacco Applications. Also in attendance at the conference, Allen Sayler, Senior Director for Food Consulting Services and Cathryn Sacra, Director of Labeling and Cosmetics Cosmetic Consulting Services. Stop by the EAS table to learn more about our services.

Meet May 2019 Issue of the Month Author

John J Brennan Ph.D.

John J. Brennan, Ph.D. is a former Senior Project Leader in Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development at AbbVie in North Chicago, Illinois. At Abbvie he served as the Enterprise Leader for 3 Global Asset Development teams accountable for creating and executing development strategies in several therapeutic disciplines including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis and diabetic nephropathy. His areas of interest include First-in-Man, Proof-of-Concept, Proof-of-Principle, and late-stage registration studies and lifecycle management. Prior to joining AbbVie, he worked at Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Global Project Management and as a Therapeutic Area Leader in Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Brennan is a graduate of Temple University and received the Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences).

Pharma’s Big Data, Real World Evidence and The Digital Revolution

Dear Reader,

Edward A. Steele

Welcome to the May 2019 edition of EAS-e-News, the free newsletter dedicated to FDA regulated industries. It has been a busy month at EAS, with the release of new complimentary On-Demand webinars, announcements of new training seminars, publication of numerous articles on a wide-variety of subjects as well as a fantastic attendance at the EAS booth during the recent Supplyside East. For those of you who had an opportunity to meet with Tara Couch, our senior director for dietary supplements and Heather Fairman, one of our expert independent consultants I am sure you came away with a lot of great information on EAS and how we can begin to assist your company with any number of FDA requirements. For those who were unable to attend, I invite you to take a look at our quick reference information sheets to learn more about EAS. We are always glad to speak with you about your GMP questions or concerns.

If you will be in Geneva for Vitafoods Europe, May 7-9 we invite you to come by the EAS booth, B149, to meet Tara Couch and Charles Breen, our Independent Advisor for FSMA. In addition to exhibiting at Vitafoods, EAS is a proud training partner for the show, offering a one-day comprehensive look at GMPs for the dietary supplement industry. Registration for this seminar, taking place May 6, the day before the official start of Vitafoods, is being handled through Vitafoods directly. In addition, Charles Breen will be speaking as part of the technical sessions on hygienic commitments for food safety.

FDA has OMB approval to initiate a short voluntary survey of the cosmetics industry, which will assess a variety of GMP aspects. This survey is important to help FDA gain a better understanding of the current state of industry GMPs, and the results provided to FDA will have no identifying information, nor will responses be used by the agency to initiate enforcement actions. A Federal Register notice regarding the survey can be found here and we encourage cosmetics firms to participate in this effort.

In other FDA news, a new effort to bolster the collaboration between FDA and the Customs and U.S. Border Patrol (CBP) is underway to better protect against illegal and harmful products from gaining entry into the U.S. through the mail system, or other ports of entry. More information on this effort can be found in the What’s New at FDA section of this edition.

As mentioned earlier, we are pleased that numerous compliance seminars are both approaching and new on the horizon. Our next GMP One-day Refresher training will take place in Denton, TX on May 7, and then Andover, MA on August 13, just outside of Boston. This one-day session is designed as an opportunity to outsource your department’s GMP refresher training. At just $300 per registration it is a great and cost-effective opportunity for your entire team to learn from our experts. More information can be found on the EAS website.

Additionally, we have two complimentary webinars coming up in May. On May 7 join Norma Skolnik for a look at how FDA eyes certain cosmetics claims and on May 14 join Jeff Roberts for a look at compliance with 21 CFR Part 11. Also, on June 13 we invite you to join EAS Senior Director for Pharmaceuticals and Devices, Bryan Coleman for a look at GMPs for OTCs.

Our issue of the month is written by John Brennan and looks at pharma big data, real world evidence and the Digital Revolution and our Ask the Expert on FDA’s plans to revamp the 510(k) process is answered by George Yanulis. Finally, I am pleased to welcome a new independent consultant, Dennis Gaalswyck and a new office manager, Kate Gibson. Learn more in our Who’s Who section of this edition.

As always, thank you for your interest in EAS and we invite you to share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Edward A. Steele Signature

Ed Steele
Chairman and CEO

510(k) Guidance and Substantial Equivalence Discussed in MedTech Intelligence

Independent Consultant, Jay Mansour, discussed the movement away from substantial equivalence in favor of performance testing for the 510(k) application process in a recent MedTech Intelligence. “Expanding on the Abbreviated 510(k) Program for demonstrating substantial equivalence for 510(k) premarket submissions, FDA is identifying certain “well understood” medical devices that may be cleared based on performance criteria,” he says.

April 2019 Drug and Device Corner

It has come to EAS’s attention that there is significant confusion regarding the exemption of Class 1 Medical Device products to comply with the 21 CFR 801.20 requirement for the label of a medical device to bear a unique device identifier. Per 21 CFR 801.30 A class I device that FDA has by regulation exempted from the good manufacturing practice requirements found at 21 CFR 801.20 is not required to comply with the UDI label requirement. You can check the FDA’s Medical Device Exemptions 510(k) and GMP Requirements webpage for more specific information to determine if your product is indeed exempt. All other Class I devices will be required to bear the UDI number on the packaging/device beginning no later than September 24, 2020. If you have questions on UDI requirements, please contact EAS.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

Immediately in effect Guidance Document

Compliance Policy for Combination Product Postmarketing Safety Reporting: This guidance document is intended to assist Combination Product Applicants who are subject to the Combination Product Postmarketing Safety Reporting Final Rule issued on December 20, 2016, and codified in 21 CFR Part 4, Subpart B. This guidance document discusses FDA’s compliance policy for the rule. The Federal Registernotification can be found at this link.

CDER & CBER

Bispecific Antibody Development Programs: This guidance provides recommendations to assist industry and other parties involved in the development of bispecific antibodies. This guidance does not discuss development considerations for other multitarget therapies that are combinations of monoclonal antibodies or are antibody cocktails or polyclonal antibodies. Although this guidance is specific to bispecific antibodies, the principles discussed in this guidance may also be applicable to the development of other types of bispecific protein products. 

This guidance focuses on general regulatory and scientific considerations for bispecific antibodies, not on development of a particular bispecific antibody. Industry and other stakeholders are encouraged to engage FDA to discuss their individual bispecific antibody development program.

REMS: FDA’s Application of Statutory Factors in Determining When a REMS Is Necessary: This guidance is intended to clarify how the FDA applies the factors set forth in section 505-1 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 355-1) in determining whether a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) is necessary to ensure that the benefits of a drug outweigh its risks.

CDER, CDRH & CBER

Guidance for Industry Pharmacogenomic Data Submissions: This guidance is intended to facilitate scientific progress in the field of pharmacogenomics and to facilitate the use of pharmacogenomic data in drug development.

CDRH

Technical Considerations for Non-Clinical Assessment of Medical Devices containing Nitinol: The 25 purpose of this draft guidance is to outline technical considerations associated with medical devices that have at least one patient contacting component comprised of nitinol. Due to the unique properties of nitinol, the Agency has developed this draft guidance to provide FDA’s current thinking on technical considerations specific to devices using nitinol. These recommendations are intended to be general and not product-specific and should be evaluated in conjunction with the intended use and technological characteristics of your device and any relevant device-specific guidances.

Technical Performance Assessment of Quantitative Imaging in Device Premarket Submissions: This draft guidance document is applicable to all devices that generate quantitative imaging values across the information, a wide range of imaging modalities, intended uses, levels of automation, and complexity of algorithms. This guidance document provides FDA’s recommendations on technical performance assessment, and user information that should be included in a premarket submission for devices that include quantitative imaging functions. 

Class II Special Controls Guideline: In Vitro Diagnostic Devices for Bacillus spp. Detection: Guideline for Industry and FDA staff. This special controls guideline was developed to establish special controls for in vitro diagnostic devices for Bacillus species (spp.) detection. This guideline identifies measures that FDA believes are necessary to mitigate the risks to health associated with devices of this type and provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. Following the effective date of the final rule classifying the device,1 manufacturers of in vitro diagnostic devices for Bacillusspp. detection2 will need either to (1) comply with the particular mitigation measures set forth in the special controls guideline or (2) use alternative mitigation measures, which demonstrate to the Agency’s satisfaction that those alternative measures identified by the firm will provide at least an equivalent assurance of safety and effectiveness.

Surgical Staplers and Staples for Internal Use – Labeling Recommendations: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing this guidance to provide labeling recommendations for surgical staplers and staples for internal use. These labeling recommendations are being issued because malfunctions and misuse associated with these devices have resulted in serious adverse events, including deaths.

DCRH & CBER

Review and Update of Device Establishment Inspection Processes and Standards: FDA is issuing this draft guidance to comply with section 702(b)(1) of the FDA Reauthorization 77 Act of 2017 (FDARA) (Public Law 115-52), which directs FDA to issue draft guidance that specifies how the Agency will implement uniform processes and standards that are applicable to inspections (other than for-cause) of foreign and domestic medical device establishments. FDA updated processes and standards as needed, to address the new provisions in section 704(h)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) that were added by FDARA section 702(a), and to establish a standard timeframe for inspections. This draft guidance also describes standardized methods of communication during the inspection process, and identifies practices for investigators and device establishments to facilitate the continuity of inspections of such establishments.

CVM

#120 Veterinary Feed Directive Regulation Questions and Answers (Revised)

FDA to Begin Inspections for Intentional Adulteration in March 2020

FDA recently announced that verification of compliance with the Intentional Adulteration (IA) rule will begin in March 2020. Addressing hazards that may be intentionally introduced to foods, including by acts of terrorism, with the intent to cause wide-spread harm to public health, the IA rule requires the food industry to implement risk-reducing strategies for processes in food facilities that are significantly vulnerable to intentional adulteration. Those food facilities covered by the rule will be required to develop and implement a food defense plan, (which is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements), identifying vulnerabilities and mitigation strategies for those vulnerabilities. Additionally, facilities will be required to ensure that the mitigation strategies are working. The first compliance date arrives in July 2019. EAS Consulting Group’s FSMA team can help assess current food defense strategies and strengthen those that do not meet FDA’s stringent requirements.

Insider Podcast on 25 Years of DSHEA Features Senior Director, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D.

Tara Lin Couch was interviewed for a Natural Products Insider podcast on her reflections of 25 years of DSHEA. Recorded at SupplySide East, she discusses how the dietary supplement industry, pre-DSHEA, was the “wild, wild west” and that 21 CFR 111, Current Good Manufacturing Practices, completely changed the way the dietary supplement industry operates, with “current” processes adapting as technology advances.

FDA Proposing to Change the 510(k) Submission Process for Medical Devices

By George Yanulis

Each month, EAS selects one question sent in by readers to be answered by one of our experts. This month’s question is answered by George Yanulis D.Eng., an expert in medical device safety and the 510(k) process.

Question: Why is FDA proposing to change the 510(k) submission process for medical devices?

Yanulis: The rapid technological advances in the medical device arena have been dramatic. A 510(k), otherwise known as a Premarket Notification, is the mechanism by which device manufacturers notify FDA of their intent to market a medical device at least 90 days in advance of doing so. By reviewing the data in a 510(k), FDA is able to determine whether the device is equivalent to a device already placed into one of the three classification categories, Class I (General Controls requiring the least amount of regulatory control because they present minimal harm to users), Class II, (General Controls with Special Controls that must comply with specific labeling requirements, mandatory performance standards and postmarket surveillance) or Class III, (those devices requiring a PMA due to insufficient information to assure the safety and effectiveness solely through general or special controls. As a consultant, Class III medical devices have been my primary focus, particularly in the ICD and cardiac pacemaker device areas.

On November 26, 2018, then FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced changes to the process for approving medical devices for the U.S. market aimed at dramatically revamping the popular 510(k) clearance pathway which enables approvals based on predicates. FDA recognizes its current approach has the potential to limit advancing technological innovation and FDA is now looking to limit the age of predicates to ten years in order to avoid using outdated technologies as older predicates are less relevant to today’s requirements of interconnectivity and complexity.

FDA is proposing an approval outside of the 510(k) process if the comparable device being used is older than a decade, a change that would significantly disrupt the current process through which the vast majority, (80%) of devices are approved. FDA proposes creating a new alternative 510(k) pathway that will focus on objective safety and performance criteria. While devices more than 10 years old are not believed to be unsafe, nor would those devices need to be removed from the market, the change will encourage use of more modern predicates and as such encourage competition to adopt modern technologies and features while improving overall standards and improving outcomes.

As an expert who has collaborated directly with the FDA and particularly with CDRH, I welcome these changes. My expectation is that all devices will continue to be safe and effective, and substantially equivalent as dictated in the 510(k).

You may find some of the below FDA resources to be helpful, and please contact EAS with specific questions regarding your 510(k) filing.

https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/deviceapprovalsandclearances/510kclearances/

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Training/CDRHLearn/UCM421766.pdf

New EAS Complimentary On-Demand Webinars Available

EAS recently presented three complimentary webinars that are now available for on-demand viewing. The first, on the challenges of preparing infant formula notifications presented by EAS Independent Advisor Robert Martin, Ph.D., Independent Consultants Timothy Morck and Robbie Burns and Senior Director for Food Consulting Services Allen Sayler, covered an overview of filing and safety study requirements. It can now be viewed on-demand on the EAS website.

Next, The FSMA Foreign Supplier Verification Program requires a Qualified Individual, who has the pertinent education and on the job experience enabling him or her to perform their duties, overseeing FSVP. EAS Independent Advisors, Charles Breen and Domenic Veneziano presented an overview of the program as well as addressed common questions asked by the exporters of food products into the U.S. marketplace. Find this on-demand webinar here.

Finally, in late March, Susan Crane, EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling discussed cosmetics labeling and claims requirements. Those wishing for a deeper dive into Cosmetics Claims regulations are invited to join Norma Skolnik on May 7 for a look at how words do matter when it comes to marketing a product.

Final Rule on OTC Hand Sanitizers Issued

FDA issued a Final Rule, effective April 13, 2019, which aims to ensure the safety and effectiveness of OTC hand sanitizers, formally known as topical consumer antiseptic rub products. These products are intended for use without water and marketed under the FDA’s OTC Drug Review.

Active ingredients of ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, benzalkonium chloride, which the majority of hand sanitizer rubs on the market contain, have deferred action to allow for the ongoing study and submission of additional safety and effectiveness data to enable FDA’s safety determination for use in OTC consumer antiseptic rub products.  At this time, FDA states that it does not intend to take action to remove hand sanitizers containing these three active ingredients from the market and their status will be addressed either after completion and analysis of the studies or at another time, if these studies are not completed.

However, 28 other active ingredients, identified in the 2016 Consumer Antiseptic Rub proposed rule, including triclosan and benzethonium chloride, are no longer eligible for inclusion in any future OTC monograph.

This long awaited rule finalizes a June 30, 2016 proposed rule on consumer antiseptic rubs, where FDA requested additional scientific data to support the safety and effectiveness of active ingredients used in OTC consumer antiseptic rubs. FDA has determined that less than 3% of the marketplace will be affected by the issuance of this final rule, as most OTC consumer antiseptic rubs use ethyl alcohol as the active ingredient.

Concerned companies may contact EAS to learn more about how this Final Rule impacts product formulations and compliance with the OTC monograph.

Did You Know? EAS Offers Verification and Validation Services of Electronic Signatures Under 21 CFR Part 11

Increasing usage of electronic methods to capture and produce critical data, which are subject to regulatory scrutiny led to the effect of Title 21 CFR Part 11. This part of the Code of Federal Regulations establishes the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations on electronic records and electronic signatures.

The aim of this regulation is to define the criteria under which the agency will consider electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

The FDA released a guidance document in 2003 to clarify how part 11 should be implemented and enforced. This has been updated many times, partly due to the fast-emerging changes in technology. In June 2017, the FDA also issued a draft guidance on the use of Electronic Records and Electronic Signatures in Clinical Investigations.

The FDA takes accountability of electronic signatures very seriously and upon inspection of these records deficiencies may result in a warning letter.

These constantly evolving rules can be daunting to understand and implement. EAS’ team of experts is available to assist your firm in understanding your requirements under 21 CFR Part 11 as well as assess your compliance.  Areas in need of strengthening will be addressed giving your firm a detailed action plan for maintaining compliance for both signatures and storage of electronic data.

Meet New Office Manager, Kate Gibson

Kate Gibson is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Psychology and Peace, War and, Defense. While at university, Kate was involved in the Triangle Institute for Security Scholars and UNC Neural Connections and has a passion for inclusive STEM Education. Prior to EAS she held a position at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, specializing in tobacco marketing regulation research. Kate is originally from Denver, North Carolina.

The Future of Homeopathy Discussed in ISPE iSpeak blog

ISPE Logo

EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, published a blog discussing the future of Homeopathy on the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) blog page iSpeak. FDA and FTC are taking a more proactive approach to homeopathic drugs indicating that they will be held to the same standard as other products with regard to claims.

Jeffrey Roberts to Discuss 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance with Electronic Signatures

Regardless of the type of industry, if you are regulated by the FDA you are bound by the rules around electronic data integrity. Whether preparing to release a finished batch of material, making decisions on data and information that was created and generated electronically or preparing to file a technical dossier with the FDA; your electronic recordkeeping and other electronic data forms require more than just being available for review and inspection. The FDA requires these sources of evidence to be generated, processed and maintained in a manner that provides complete traceability, prevents unauthorized alteration and requires a verified electronic signature that ensures identity and authenticity. Learn the specifics of Part 11 requirements for electronic signatures with Jeffrey Roberts on May 14, 2019. This complimentary webinar will discuss how record keeping is inclusive of a larger focus on GMPs for electronic records that are created, modified, maintained, archived, retrieved, or transmitted as well the specifics of content that must be included in these records for verification and validation.

Crossing T’s and Dotting I’s – Preparing for a FDA Preventive Controls Inspection

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the April 2019 edition of EASeNews, the free newsletter for industries regulated by FDA.

Edward A. Steele

We are pleased to announce our latest short video describing the many services that EAS provides. This month our regulatory specialist, Victoria Pankovich, shares the various FDA requirements for company registrations and product listings. As you may know, the complexities of registrations differ by product category, and not all commodities are required to list their products. EAS helps you to sort through what is required and what information is needed to comply with FDA regulations in this regard. Should you wish to outsource this annual or biannual requirement, EAS is available to help.

If we missed you at our recent food and dietary supplement labeling compliance seminars in Philadelphia, it is not too late to purchase the companion handbook for the seminar. The Food Labeling Handbook and the Dietary Supplement Labeling Handbook were written by instructor Gisela Leon and share points on how to ensure label accuracy, from what and how information must be covered to more detailed specifics of FDA compliance. To purchase your copy please visit the EAS store.

If you haven’t registered for our one-day seminar Ensuring Regulatory Compliance of GMP Laboratories seminar which will be taught by Senior Director Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. in Denver on April 23, there is still time. This one-day intensive program will discuss FDA’s current GMP requirements for Research and Development and Quality Control Laboratories and will highlight FDA issues of concern with emphasis placed on recent FDA regulatory or administrative actions. All of this will allow participants to gain an understanding of the importance of laboratory GMPs and how to meet FDA’s requirements. Please join us in Denver!

Our issue of the month author is Joe Famiglietti who discusses preparing for a FDA Preventive Controls inspection. Our Ask the Expert is answered by Tim Hansen and discusses how seafood importers can protect themselves from unscrupulous suppliers. Lastly our new section, Did you Know? covers EAS expert witness considerations, an area in which EAS is proud to have deep roots with our over 50 independent consultants who can act in an expert witness capacity.

We welcome a number of new consultants this month: Robert Post, Heidi Stuttz, Jan Janson, William Scopa and Joel Martinez. I invite you to learn more about their backgrounds in Who’s Who.

Thank you as always for your interest in EAS and please feel free to forward this newsletter onto a colleague or link with us on LinkedIn.

Sincerely,

Edward A. Steele Signature

Ed Steele
Chairman and CEO

Peyton Discusses Continued Confusion Over Hemp Products in Cannabis Industry Journal

Cannabis Industry Journal Logo

Charlotte Peyton, a noted expert in cannabis, has published an article in a recent Cannabis Industry Journal. She discusses FDA’s stance with Hemp, CBD versus Isolates, and good manufacturing practice considerations. You may also wish to view the recent 2018 Farm Bill and the Cannabis Industry webinar presented by Attorney Marc Ullman, Of Counsel with Rivkin Radler and Tara Lin Couch, PhD, Senior Director of Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services. This webinar is available on-demand on the EAS website.

Preparing For a FDA Preventive Controls Inspection

By Joe Famiglietti

The new rule on Preventative Controls for Human Food is mandated by the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Preventive Controls (PC) are steps that a food facility must take to reduce or eliminate food safety hazards. The rule also includes updates to the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements such as mandatory training and procedures to control allergen cross-contact. In general, the new rule applies to you if you are required to register with FDA and if you manufacture, process, pack or hold foods. By now, all firms meeting the activities in the prior sentence have to be in compliance with the PC rule unless they are exempt or subject to modified requirements. 

Firms covered by the new rule must have and implement a written food safety plan (FSP) and are further required to conduct a hazard analysis in order to identify food safety hazards requiring controls including preventive controls. The new rule requires an appropriate control be developed and implemented that could include process, allergen, sanitation or other controls. When preventive controls are required, the FSP must also include written procedures for monitoring, corrective actions, verification (including validation as deemed necessary) and supporting records, as well as a written recall plan and a supply chain program. The FSP must be prepared or its preparation overseen by a preventive controls qualified individual (PCQI).           

If your company is using an existing HACCP program, changes are required in developing a FSP because control need not always be at a CCP (critical control point), but can be handled by a prerequisite program or a preventative control program. For example, allergen cross-contact can be controlled by a written sanitation preventative control program that requires proper cleaning methods be implemented rather than establishing critical limits at a CCP.

The preparation of a proper FSP is crucial, since this is one of the first documents FDA will likely request to see during a PC inspection. There is no standardized or required format for the FSP, but all of the elements as required in 21 CFR 117.126(b) must be in the written document. FDA has published guidance regarding the preparation of a FSP and hazard analysis. See https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UC517391.pdf.

You can expect FDA to arrive unannounced to conduct a PC inspection unless you are located outside of the US, in which case FDA will provide written notice prior to arriving. During the inspection you can expect FDA to carefully review your company’s written food safety programs and to review all required records, such as monitoring and verification records. If deemed necessary, FDA may collect extensive environmental monitoring microbiological samples throughout your facility to determine if pathogens are in the plant environment. If there are positive sample results for pathogens, FDA can require products to be recalled. FDA can also compare the DNA fingerprints of any pathogens found to isolates in the CDC’s database and then require recalls if any matches are identified. If FDA deems your facility as not being compliant, you can expect the agency to take regulatory actions against your firm if voluntary compliance is not taken

You can properly prepare for an FDA PC inspection by considering the following:

Have a written plan covering how your company will handle an FDA inspection that includes a working area for the FDA and that assigns responsibilities for your employees who will be involved in the inspection. You need to have a policy on how to handle any objectionable conditions FDA may bring to your attention and make an attempt to correct any of these conditions while FDA is on-site.

Be sure your FSP is in final form and is signed by your firm’s owner, operator or agent in charge and be sure there is at least one person who is familiar with the overall food safety program who can explain it to the FDA.

Have training records readily available including PCQI training / qualifications, employee sanitation training and records documenting the qualifications all employees including supervisors.

Be sure record keeping is in order and is easily accessible including monitoring and verification records. 

If operational or FSP deviations have occurred, be sure appropriate corrective actions have been taken supported by records that must be made available for FDA review.

Be sure your allergen control procedures are in order. All ingredient labels should be reviewed to assure they are accurate and contain all required allergen labeling. Be sure all cGMPs are being followed to prevent unintentional allergen cross-contact issues during ingredient receipt, storage, process, packaging and labeling operations.

Conduct your own environmental monitoring. FDA will likely swab for microbes if you are producing ready-to-eat (RTE) foods that are exposed to the environment prior to packaging. You need to be sure you are conducting an appropriate monitoring program before FDA arrives. If problem areas are identified, corrective actions need to be implemented.

If product testing is used to verify a control, be sure the test is scientifically valid and have corrective action procedures in the event of positive results.

You must conduct reanalysis of the FSP at least once every three years or whenever there is a significant change that effects food safety.

Be sure you have information and records regarding where raw materials are sourced and documentation that the materials are being purchased from approved vendors. It is no longer an option to purchase raw materials from just any source. The new rule requires there must be a supply chain program which includes documentation demonstrating that either suppliers provide safe raw materials, or that another party will apply controls for the hazard.

For food with a hazard requiring a PC, there is now a requirement to have a written recall procedure that includes descriptions of the steps to be taken as well as assigning responsibility for taking those steps.

Conduct or hire an experienced consultant to perform a mock FDA inspection that includes a thorough sanitation audit and review of your programs and records. Conducting a gap analysis audit of your operation will assist in identifying areas that require improvement before FDA finds them.

Be sure all labels being used have been reviewed and approved by a food label expert. In summary, FDA is in full enforcement mode related to the FSMA Preventive Controls regulation. The food manufacturing industry needs to have its food safety program updated to incorporate the Preventive Control provisions. Your PCQI and entire QA staff as well as plant supervisors should be prepared to answer FDA’s questions and demonstrate that you conduct your business in a preventive mode of operation. With proper planning you can have a positive experience from an FDA PC-based inspection and continue to provide consumers with safe foods.

Join EAS at SupplySide East Booth F152

SupplySideEast logo 2018


Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. and Independent Consultant Heather Fairman will represent EAS at the upcoming SupplySide East in Secaucus, NJ April 9-10, 2019. This is a great opportunity to meet the EAS team to discuss your questions regarding dietary supplement regulations and how to prepare for cannabis GMPs. If you would like to schedule a meeting at SupplySide East please contact us.

Armstrong Publishes Article on the Delaney Clause in FDLI Update

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Steve Armstrong, EAS Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, is co-author of an article published in the March 2019 Food Drug Law Institute Update Magazine covering FDA’s recent decision to delist six synthetic ingredients as required by the Delaney Clause, a 60-year-old provision of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) which states, in plain language that FDA may not approve any food additive—even one that is safe—if it is “found to induce cancer” in laboratory animals. Steve hypothesizes as to whether it is time to repeal the Delaney Clause.

2019 April Ask the Expert

By Timothy Hansen

Each month, EAS answers one question sent in by our readers. This month’s Ask the Expert is answered by Independent Consultant and former head of the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program and Division Director in FDA’s Office of Seafood, Timothy Hansen. Tim has extensive experience in seafood regulatory affairs, certification, and advises the seafood industry on science and technological matters. If you would like to ask a question of one of our experts, click here.

Question: As a seafood importer how can I protect myself from fraudulent suppliers?

Hansen: The seafood industry is mostly comprised of smart, hardworking, honest professionals that take regulatory compliance seriously, and a few unscrupulous operators who aim to misrepresent their products for financial gain or enhanced competitive advantage. It would be wise for all firms and particularly importers of seafood to be aware of some of the more common fraudulent practices so that you can protect your firm, your customers and ward off FDA enforcement action by perpetuating fraud to your customers. Some types of fraudulent activities to be aware of:

Species substitution, usually representing a lower cost but similar species as a higher cost or higher quality species such as Chum Salmon for Coho Salmon. When this occurs, not only is the fish fraudulent but so too is the labeling including PDP, weight declaration and nutritional information.

In other cases, suppliers may provide a fraudulent shipment weight due to overglazing of ice, overbreading that exceeds USDC, NIST or AOAC standards, or even what is called “rat packing” where the superior product is on top, hiding the inferior product underneath.

According to the NOAA Fisheries Seafood Inspection Program, as of 2014 around 30% of seafood in the U.S. is considered fraudulent. This can be attributed to intentional fraud where the seafood operator is looking to gain an unearned profit, “best” the competition, or they commit fraud due to pressures stemming from the inability to fill customer orders. In other cases, unintentional fraud may also be committed, attributed to honest mistakes such as the misinterpretation of regulations or miscommunications and messaging errors due to poor process controls which lead to unknowingly receiving and accepting a fraudulent product from a supplier.

There are a number of ways the seafood industry can protect themselves, the most obvious of which is to develop relationships with reputable suppliers and to regularly inspect incoming shipments. In addition, if your firm does not already have fully developed product specifications guidelines consider creating these as part of your business operations plan. You will also want to have a Quality plan in addition to your HACCP plan and enhance your labeling controls beyond the minimum HACCP requirements. Consider also utilizing process control techniques such as statistical weight control charts and Quality Assurance software.

Protocols for all Quality, HACCP and other SOPs must be developed by a competent person, either within your organization or created by an outside entity, such as EAS, with expertise specific to the seafood industry. Ensuring compliant process control techniques can significantly increase your company’s integrity, leading to a satisfied customer, and reduce your risk of regulatory action.

EAS has a team of experts with career histories in FDA inspections and the seafood industry. If we can help your company to create or improve your compliance programs, please give us a call. We invite you to view our many industry services facts sheets on the EAS website, or more specifically that which pertains to our seafood services.

Meet Issue of the Month Author, Joe Famiglietti

Joe Famiglietti

Independent Consultant, Joe Famiglietti, provides guidance to clients regarding FDA compliance matters. He has performed onsite audits at food manufacturing facilities and evaluated production and quality control operations for compliance with FDA regulations. Joe has experience in inspections of food manufacturing areas including low acid canned foods, acidified foods, infant formula and seafood HACCP. He assists in facility sanitation issues, provides in-house training to employees on food GMP issues and procedures for handling FDA inspections. Prior to consulting, Joe was a Compliance Officer at the FDA New York District, Import Operations Branch in Buffalo.

Norma Skolnik Presents Webinar on Cosmetic Claims

In the competitive cosmetics world, discerning consumers are carefully considering product purchases to determine which offer the results they are hoping to achieve. In response, the pressure on marketing and labeling teams may entice to push the envelope with regards to product claims. However, words do matter, particularly in the eyes of FDA. Learn how the words used on a cosmetic label can alter the intended meaning of a claim and FDA views on them. Ensure your cosmetic products are labeled and marketed in a compliant manner, offering consumers an accurate understanding of what they can expect and protecting your products from FDA concerns. Join Norma Skolnik on May 7, 2019 for a complimentary webinar and ensure your cosmetic product labeling and claims are compliant with FDA regulations.

EAS Sponsors CHPA Regulatory Scientific and Quality Conference, Coleman to Present

CHPA May 21-21, 2019

EAS is a proud event sponsor for the upcoming CHPA Regulatory Scientific and Quality Conference taking place in Bethesda, MD May 21-22, 2019. In addition, Bryan J. Coleman, Senior Director for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices will be speaking on Recent FDA inspection trends in Cosmetic to OTC cross-over products at a special Regulatory & Scientific Affairs Committee meeting which is being held May 20, before the kick-off of RSQ.

EAS to Present on Pharma Data Integrity at CPhI North America

CPHI North America 2018 logo

EAS Independent Consultant, Brian Nadel, is an invited speaker on the subject of Pharma Data Integrity at the upcoming CPhI North America which will be held in Chicago April 30-May 2, 2019. Join Brian for a discussion on the reasons why once FDA considers some of a company’s data to be inaccurate it considers all of their data to be inaccurate. Brian will also discuss methods for ensuring data integrity both now and in the future.

Meet New Consultants for April 2019

Robert Post, Ph.D., MEd., MSc.

Robert Post

Dr. Robert Post is a former food industry executive, White House and regulatory agency executive, and university instructor with expertise in food science and nutrition. His roles in the food industry have included leading nutrition and regulatory affairs; corporate health and wellness programs; and food and health communications to support marketing and customers/sales. He has also directed legislative affairs, food ingredient specifications and approvals, food product design and innovation, food labeling and nutrition labeling strategies, design, and compliance; and brand communications strategies for customers, consumers, and health professionals. In the Federal sector, Rob directed the agencies that set the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, created MyPlate(.gov), and the national nutrition evidence library, supporting the White House as a key nutrition advisor. All roles involved expert mining of food and nutrition research and setting research pipelines for product design and product and process claims substantiation. Prior to consulting Rob was the Senior Director for Chobani Health and Wellness and Regulatory Affairs. He also served as the Executive Director for Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Heidi Stuttz

Heidi Stuttz

Heidi Stuttz is an expert in biotech and medical device oversight. She assists clients with a variety of projects including R&D programs, FDA submissions, EMEA dossiers, compliance enhancements and quality improvement initiatives. Assisting with product development processes from clinical trials to commercialization, Heidi demonstrates proven success with facilitating product development and moving regulatory programs forward. Heidi is experienced with auditing cGMPs for continuous process improvements, FDA ISO9000, records management as well as laboratory compliance/controls and validation and facilities and utility validation and remediation. She has worked as a Senior Project/Program Manager with Solution Systems and as a Quality Assurance Specialist at Wyeth Vaccines Division. Heidi has a M.S. from Johns Hopkins University, with degree in Biotechnology, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, and concentration in Legal/Regulatory.

William Scopa

William Scopa

Mr. Scopa has over 30 years at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at both ports of entry and Headquarters. During 15 years at the ports, he processed both the import and export clearance of cargo and passengers. At Headquarters, as a Branch Chief, he led the development of policies and procedures. These policies and procedures addressed such areas as, Intellectual Property Rights, Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties, and revenue collections. He spent several years leading CBP’s trade enforcement efforts in targeting evasion such as misclassification and undervaluation. His last position was CBP’s liaison to other government agencies and he worked with the other agencies to develop CBP import processing of the other agency imports for such agencies as EPA, FDA, and DEA. These processes included clearing other agency cargo under the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

Jan Janson

Jan Janson

Jan Janson is a quality consultant who provides assessments and recommendations on QMS development, Quality and Supplier Management. He conducts internal and supplier audits, develops product quality initiatives, supports CAPA and complaint analysis and more. In addition, Jan has extensive experience with audits against GMPs, Process Validation Reviews including process, software and methods and helps firms develop protocols for FDA 820, ISO 3485 compliance. Prior to consulting Jan was a Quality Manager at Biomet and Senior Quality Supplier Engineer at Medtronic.

Joel Martinez

Joel Martinez

As a former certified ORA BIMO FDA Investigator, Joel Martinez has completed 20-25 BIMO inspections in all therapeutic areas, interacting with CDER’s Office of Scientific Investigations (OSI) medical reviewers and BIMO Office of Compliance personnel for CBER, CDRH and CVM. He has significant experience in recognizing and understanding significant inspectional observations which would warrant further regulatory action and assists clients with understanding critical areas for a Sponsor/CRO in terms of being compliance with applicable 21 CFR regulations. Joel also conducts GLP audits domestically and internationally gaining inspectional experience of non-clinical laboratories.

A Successful Expert Witness is One Who can Demonstrate Expertise While Connecting with a Jury

An effective Expert Witness is more than one who can write expert opinions, be deposed or provide testimony in court. Experts must represent your company accurately, independently and objectively in matters of legal proceedings and do so in a manner that enables them to communicate to, connect with, and convince the decision maker, whether that decision will be made by a jury or mediator. Agencies, judges and juries want to hear from well-respected and knowledgeable expert witnesses. Whether the issue is recalls, labeling claims, safety audits, or almost any other challenge to a facility or a product, having a competent expert by your side can make all the difference.

EAS independent advisors and consultants are routinely called to serve as an expert witness in a variety of cases. Our team of over 50 former high-level FDA officials and industry executives who act in an expert witness capacity average over 25 years of regulatory experience and include some of the most well-known and highly respected names in the industry. These experts have the knowledge, qualifications, and experience necessary to explain and clarify issues to our clients and the courts while establishing credibility and persuasiveness as witnesses.

If EAS can be of assistance as you prepare for your next litigation or mediation challenge, please reach out to Dean Cirotta, President and COO directly. EAS will assure that the specific needs and requirements of your case will be matched with an expert whose knowledge and experience enhances your client’s legal standing.

March 2019 Drug and Device Corner

Implementation of reorganization to begin for CDRH

In order to create a smart and quick-moving infrastructure that can adapt to the needs of future organizational, regulatory and scientific requirements, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is beginning the implementation of a reorganization. 

The reorganization will integrate CDRH’s premarket and post-market program functions along product lines, allowing their experts to leverage their knowledge to optimize decision-making across the product life cycle. This type of approach blends many of the current aspects of product review, quality, surveillance and enforcement into a new, team-based approach. With the implementation of reorganization, the FDA aims to enhance information-sharing across the Center, increase collective decision-making, improve work-life balance and increase professional opportunities for employees.

The implementation is set to begin March 2019 and is expected to be completed by September 2019. FDA says the implementation will take place in a phased approach, and timelines for implementation will vary by office. Each office within the current CDRH structure is undergoing some change in order to better support and advance CDRH’s public health mission and vision.

More information can be found here.

CDER:

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Infection: Developing Systemic Drug Products for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Severely Debilitating or Life- Threatening Hematologic Disorders: Nonclinical Development of Pharmaceuticals

Evaluation of Bulk Drug Substances Nominated for Use in Compounding Under Section 503B of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

Quality Considerations for Continuous Manufacturing

Bioavailability Studies Submitted in NDAs or INDs — General Considerations

Assessing the Effects of Food on Drugs in INDs and NDAs — Clinical Pharmacology Considerations

Smoking Cessation and Related Indications: Developing Nicotine Replacement Therapy Drug Products

CDER & CBER:

Pediatric Information Incorporated Into Human Prescription Drug and Biological Product Labeling

Rare Diseases: Natural History Studies for Drug Development

Pediatric HIV Infection: Drug Product Development for Treatment

Enrichment Strategies for Clinical Trials to Support Determination of Effectiveness of Human Drugs and Biological Products

Considerations for the Inclusion of Adolescent Patients in Adult Oncology Clinical Trials

Cancer Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria: Patients with Organ Dysfunction or Prior or Concurrent Malignancies

Cancer Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Age for Pediatric Patients

Cancer Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria: Brain Metastases

Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products: Update

CDRH & CBER:

Acceptance and Filing Reviews for Premarket Approval Applications (PMAs)

Refuse to Accept Policy for 510(k)s

CDRH:

Medical Devices Containing Materials Derived from Animal Sources (Except for In Vitro Diagnostic Devices)

Implanted Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Devices for Patients with Paralysis or Amputation – Non-clinical Testing and Clinical Considerations

CBER:

Standards Development and the Use of Standards in Regulatory Submissions Reviewed in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

Providing Lot Release Protocol Submissions to the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) in Electronic Format

All Centers:

A Risk-Based Approach to Monitoring of Clinical Investigations Questions and Answers

Will Pathogens Cause FDA to Suspend Your Food Facility Registrations?

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the March 2019 issue of EASeNews, the free newsletter for industries regulated by FDA. It is hard to believe it is already March and with spring right around the corner, if you haven’t already signed up for your “spring training” I invite you to join EAS at one of our upcoming regulatory compliance seminars. Food and Dietary Supplement Labeling will be held in Philadelphia beginning March 12, 2019; the Dietary Supplement GMP two-day seminar will be held April 2-3, 2019 also in Philly; the Compliance with GMP Requirements for Dietary Supplement Laboratories seminar will take place April 23, 2019 in Denver and May 7 begins our four Dietary Supplement GMP One-day Refresher Series. The first Refresher takes place in Denton, TX, just outside of Dallas on May 7th, and the second takes place in Riverside, CA on May 14th. We invite you to join us!

In addition to seminars, we have a number of complimentary webinars this spring, with two new topics recently added. What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Mean for the Cannabis Industry? will take place on March 13, 2019, and Dietary Supplements and FSMA Compliance – Fallacy or Fact? will take place April 16, 2019. As you know, we take great pride in bringing you important regulatory information which can help you develop and improve practices to meet FDA requirements. To learn more about these two newest webinars or to see our entire line up of spring EAS webinars, please visit the webinars page of the EAS website. From OTCs, to Cosmetics, to Cannabis to Dietary Supplements, we have something for you.

I am very pleased to welcome a number of esteemed colleagues who are new EAS Independent Consultants. This month we welcome Janet Collins, Sophia Lily, Jay Mansour, Jeffrey Roberts, and George Yanulis. You may read more in the Who’s Who section of this issue. 

Our issue of the month is written by Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. and concerns a very real problem for the industry – that of the identification and storage of pathogen genomic information in database trackers which can years later reemerge as a problem for a facility, even when the pathogen is not isolated in a finished product. Dr. Knutson raises interesting questions and I encourage everyone to use this article as a starting point to renew your commitment to sanitary facilities and hypervigilance against contaminations.

Our Ask the Expert is answered by Ronald J. Levine, who is both an EAS Independent Consultant and General Counsel at the firm Herrick, Feinstein LLP and discusses the importance of finding an expert witness that will well represent your firm in litigation, mediation matters, the preparation of expert opinion papers and more. EAS has nearly 70 consultants who we recognize as experts who can act as an extension of legal teams. To learn more about our services, please view our industry services sheet which explains some of our capabilities in more detail. You may have also seen our recent press release discussing EAS capabilities acting in the capacity of an expert witness. If you missed it, I invite you to view it on our LinkedIn Page.

Lastly, I am very pleased to announce the release of our new short video discussing FSVP and Qualified Individual Requirementsplaced on the Food industry by FDA. We had a lot of fun putting this together and hope that you find it enjoyable as well as informative. Please, as always let me know if you have any questions on this service or any other that EAS provides.

Thank you,

Ed Steele, Chairman and CEO

Steve Armstrong to Present at Two Upcoming FDLI Events

Join EAS Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong, at the upcoming FDLI Intro to Food Law and Regulation taking place in Washington, D.C., March 19-20, 2019. Steve will be part of an esteemed group of presenters and will discuss Food Safety and Unintended Components and Contaminants of Food. Click here to hear more. In addition, Steve will be speaking again at the FDLI Food Enforcement conference on March 21, 2019. He will be part of a panel discussion on FDA’s FSMA enforcement.

How Do Legal Teams Find and Identify Good Expert Witnesses?

By Ronald J. Levine

Each month EAS answers one question sent in by a reader. This month’s question on how to choose an expert witness for FDA legal proceedings is answered by Independent Consultant, Ronald J. Levine. Ron has had a successful career history as a litigator at one of the top New York law firms and is available to EAS clients for assistance with compliance questions and risk assessments. We were interested in hearing Ron’s thoughts since EAS provides consultants who can become a part of a legal team, by writing expert opinions, participating in depositions or being called to the stand as an expert witness. You can view EAS’ Expert Witness Services Sheet to learn more. If you would like to ask a question of our independent consultants, please contact us.

How Do Legal Teams Find and Identify Good Expert Witnesses?

Thank you for an excellent question. As a litigator who has retained many expert witnesses during my 40- year career as a lawyer, I have found that finding the right expert for a case can make all the difference in the world.

In almost any investigation or litigation involving regulated products, an expert can help explain your position to the fact-finder and render opinions which an average person would not have the knowledge or experience to offer. The FDA expert’s ability to offer a deep understanding of complex regulations and production protocols, such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP); and assistance with developing strategy in responding to the FDA; can make the expert a valuable extension of the legal team.

Where are the Legal Teams Looking?

Once the legal team has identified the subject area and credentials of the expert required for the task, they will begin the search.

The team may well begin with publications, articles and websites in the practice area and will be most interested in the positions the expert has taken in the past on the topic at issue – to see whether the opinion aligns with the legal team’s stance.

Experts who have testified previously, with names appearing in published court opinions, may be found by attorneys who are researching the legal authority in the area. Also, legal teams may send out queries via bar groups and industry associations.

How can I find a “Good” Expert?

There are at least three qualities of a “good” expert witness.

First and foremost, experts should be able to articulate what makes them an expert. Expertise could be based upon academic and professional credentials​ and on the job experience. In some cases, experience as an academic provides extra credibility, particularly those who have published in peer-reviewed journals.

Secondly, a “good” expert is one who is able to articulate his or her opinions in a manner which lay people will understand and accept. The expert will not be addressing peers who talk the same language. They will be trying to convince a jury, who may have limited educational credentials​ and no experience in the field. Legal teams will also be looking for experts who are poised and make others feel comfortable. They are going to avoid those who arrogant or not willing to listen.

Finally, legal teams are looking for experts who are able to handle themselves under intense cross-examination. They need to be able to listen to questions. The expert must be on the alert for trick questions, and know how to answer questions posed by experienced trial lawyers. Legal teams want to work with a seasoned expert who are familiar with the courtroom.

February 2019 Drug and Device Corner

Sunscreen Innovation Act to Enhance Product Safety Requirements

On February 21, 2019 FDA issued a proposed rule that would update regulatory requirements for most sunscreen products in the United States. Aimed at bringing nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens that are marketed without FDA-approved applications up to date with the latest science, the provisions address sunscreen active ingredient safety, dosage forms, and sun protection factor (SPF) and broad-spectrum requirements. It also proposes updates to how products are labeled to make it easier for consumers to identify key product information.

Per FDA, the agency is issuing this proposed rule to put into effect final monograph regulations for OTC sunscreen drug products as required by the Sunscreen Innovation Act. OTC monographs establish conditions under which the FDA permits certain OTC drugs to be marketed without approved new drug applications because they are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) and not misbranded. Over the last twenty years, new scientific evidence has helped to shape the FDA’s perspective on the conditions, including active ingredients and dosage forms, under which sunscreens could be considered GRASE. For more information, please visit: Sunscreen Proposed Rule

You may also be interested in EAS complimentary webinar series on OTCs which includes a discussion of monograph reform expectations, labeling, registrations and lists and more. For more information please visit the upcoming webinars page on the EAS website or view our many on-demand webinars on a variety of topics pertinent to the industry.

Federal court enters consent decree against compound manufacturer

The FDA is continuing to see concerning activity when it comes to some compounded drugs, including problems related to the conditions under which compounded sterile medicines are made. As a result, the FDA continues intense focus in this area. The FDA will take enforcement actions against compounders who fail to produce sterile drugs in compliance with FDA regulations.

A consent decree of permanent injunction was filed against a company and its owner. The consent decree prohibits the company and its owner from, among other things, manufacturing, holding, or distributing human or animal sterile drugs compounded at their facility until they comply with the Federal FD&C Act and FDA regulations.

The complaint was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the FDA. Further information can be found on the FDA website.

Medical Device Classification Procedures

The FDA issued a final rule on the classification procedures for medical devices on 17th December, 2018 entitled “Medical Device Classification Procedures: Incorporating Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act Procedures”. The rule will be effective from March 18th, 2019.

The purpose of this final rule is to incorporate the amendments by Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) to the FD&C Act which governs the classification and reclassification of medical devices. Also, additional changes have been made by the FDA independent of the FDASIA in efforts to update its regulations governing classification and reclassification of medical devices. The rule will enhance consistency and uniformity across reclassification processes and will also help to reduce regulatory and economic burden.

Summary of the major provisions of the final rule include the provisions for reclassification of devices and for requiring PMA applications for preamendments class III devices to change from a rulemaking proceeding to an administrative order process. Prior to publication of a final order reclassifying a device or requiring a PMA application for a preamendments class III device, FDA must publish a proposed order in the Federal Register, consider any comments submitted on the proposed order, and hold a device classification panel meeting. This final rule also clarifies the process where reclassification of a postamendments device or a transitional device is initiated by FDA, rather than in response to a petition. The final rule also removes the requirement for a hearing under part 16 (21 CFR part 16) for reclassifying transitional devices.

More information can be found at regulations.gov

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

Guidance Document highlight

In order to improve communications regarding corrective actions in response to inspectional observations with medical device companies, the FDA issued a draft guidance titled “Nonbinding Feedback After Certain FDA Inspections of Device Establishments”, a requirement under the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (FDARA). The document was issued on February 19th, 2019.

Earlier, companies could ask for a feedback on proposed corrective actions but there was no standardized process in place for provision of nonbinding feedback. The draft guidance proposes to standardize the process of communicating and submitting nonbinding feedback for companies on certain kinds of documented inspectional observations that are issued on a Form 483, during either premarket or postmarket inspections of device establishments. It also describes how the FDA evaluates and responds to such requests.

The proposed guidance has outlined steps on the process of requesting a nonbinding feedback.

These include timely submission of request, eligibility criteria, justification of request, proposed responsive actions and how the FDA will respond with a nonbinding feedback. More detailed description can be found here.

CDER

Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Developing Drugs for Treatment Guidance for Industry Draft guidance document for sponsors who are developing drugs and therapeutic biologics for Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) stating FDA’s current recommendations regarding clinical trials for EoE drugs.

Opioid Use Disorder: Developing Depot Buprenorphine Products for Treatment Guidance on FDA’s current thinking about drug product development and designing of trials relevant to study of depot buprenorphine products for Opioid Use Disorder treatment through 505(b)2 pathway for a new drug application (NDA) submission

Marketing Status Notifications Under Section 506I of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; Content and Format Guidance for Industry Draft guidance document intended to assist holders of new drug applications (NDAs) and abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) approved under section 505(c) and 505(j) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 355(c) and (j)), respectively with identifying required contents for marketing status notification and format to submit these notifications required under section 506I of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 356i)

Planning for the Effects of High Absenteeism to Ensure Availability of Medically Necessary Drug Product This guidance is intended to encourage manufacturers of medically necessary drug products (MNPs) and any components of those products to develop contingency production plans to use during emergencies that result in high absenteeism at production facilities.

CDER’s Program for the Recognition of Voluntary Consensus Standards Related to Pharmaceutical Quality This guidance describes a proposed program at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) to make public a comprehensive listing of informally recognized voluntary consensus standards related to pharmaceutical quality. CDER is issuing this draft guidance to obtain public comments on the proposed program.

Competitive Generic Therapies This guidance provides a description of the process that applicants should follow to request designation of a drug as a CGT and the criteria for designating a drug as a CGT. This guidance also includes information on the actions FDA may take to expedite the development and review of ANDAs for drugs designated as CGTs. This guidance also provides information on how FDA implements the statutory provision for a 180-day exclusivity period for certain first approved applicants that submit ANDAs for CGTs.

Smoking Cessation and Related Indications: Developing Nicotine Replacement Therapy Drug Products The purpose of this guidance is to assist sponsors in the clinical development of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) drug products, including but not limited to those intended to help cigarette smokers stop smoking. This guidance reflects the FDA’s current recommendations regarding overall development programs to support NRT drug products for smoking cessation and related chronic indications.

CDER & CBER

Safety and Performance Based Pathway – Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration This guidance provides FDA’s current thinking on expanding the concept of the Abbreviated 510(k) Program for demonstrating substantial equivalence for premarket notification (510(k)) submissions

The Least Burdensome Provisions: Concept and Principles – Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff

Rare Diseases: Common Issues in Drug Development Guidance for Industry Rev. 1 Draft guidance is to assist sponsors of drug and biological products for the treatment or prevention of rare diseases in conducting more efficient and successful drug development programs.

Providing Regulatory Submissions in Electronic Format – Certain Human Pharmaceutical Product Applications and Related Submissions Using the eCTD Specifications The purpose of this document is to explain the procedures and criteria FDA intends to use in assessing whether a 510(k) submission meets a minimum threshold of acceptability and should be accepted for substantive review.

Acceptance and Filing Reviews for Premarket Approval Applications (PMAs) The PMA regulation (21 CFR 814.42(e)) identifies the criteria that, if not met, may serve as a basis for refusing to file a PMA. This guidance is intended to be used by FDA staff and the device industry to help elucidate the broad preclinical and clinical issues that need to be addressed in a PMA and the key decisions to be made during the filing process.

CDRH & CBER

Evaluation of Devices Used with Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapies This guidance provides manufacturers, applicants, and sponsors engaged in the development of regenerative medicine therapies, with FDA’s current thinking regarding evaluation of devices used in the recovery, isolation, or delivery of regenerative medicine advanced therapies.

Refuse to Accept Policy for 510(k)s The purpose of this document is to explain the procedures and criteria FDA intends to use in assessing whether a 510(k) submission meets a minimum threshold of acceptability and should be accepted for substantive review.

CDRH & CDER

Coordinated Development of Antimicrobial Drugs and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test Devices – Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff This guidance is intended to assist drug sponsors and device manufacturers who are planning to develop new antimicrobial drugs and antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST).

CDRH

Intent to Exempt Certain Unclassified, Class II, and Class I Reserved Medical Devices from Premarket Notification Requirements † This guidance describes the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) intent to exempt certain unclassified medical devices, certain Class II medical devices, and certain Class I medical devices that are subject to the reserved criteria of section 510(l) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. 360(l), from premarket notification requirements.

CBER

Expedited Programs for Regenerative Medicine Therapies for Serious Conditions This guidance addresses regenerative medicine therapies which are defined in section 506(g)(8) of the FD&C Act as including cell therapies, therapeutic tissue engineering products, human cell and tissue products, and combination products using any such therapies or products, except for those regulated solely under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) (42 U.S.C. 264) and Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 1271 (21 CFR Part 1271).

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures), signed into law on December 13, 2016, amended several sections of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This guidance was developed and issued prior to the enactment of Cures, and certain sections of this guidance may no longer be current as a result. FDA is assessing how to revise this guidance to represent our current thinking on this topic. For more information please contact DICE@fda.hhs.gov.

Will FDA Suspend Your Food Facility Registration Based on Environmental Results?

By Kathy Knutson, Ph.D.

In October 2018 FDA suspended the registration of Working Cow Homemade, Inc., of Florida. Working Cow is an ice cream manufacturer, ceased operations, and has cooperated with FDA. As part of its decision to suspend their registration FDA determined: 

  • Insanitary conditions were observed during inspections in both 2017 and 2018.
  • Following a 2017 inspection, an environmental sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Per FDA protocol, the whole genome sequencing data for the pathogen was uploaded to the Genome Trakr database.
  • In 2017, Working Cow conducted a recall. According to FDA, Working Cow did not implement corrective actions after the 2017 findings and recall.
  • In September 2018, the CDC informed the Florida Department of Health of a genetic match between the 2017 environmental Listeriaand a 2018 patient plus two patients in 2013.
  • Working Cow has a Florida customer base that includes potentially immunocompromised adult consumers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • A 2018 Listeria monocytogenes environmental isolate matched the 2017 environmental isolate, making the pathogen a potential resident strain.

The pathogen was not isolated from the finished product.

If Listeria monocytogenes is found in the environment from an area after a kill step and before the packaging is sealed, there is the potential for the pathogen to be transferred from the environmental site to a food contact surface and then to the product. This concept is recognized in the scientific community and is the justification for environmental monitoring programs which verify the effectiveness of equipment and facility sanitation programs, employee hygiene, and employee training programs. A pathogen in zone 4 can go to zone 3, in zone 3 can go to zone 2, and in zone 2 can go to zone 1. While every facility is different and there is no single citation of what constitutes each zone, here is one description:

  • Zone 1 – Direct product contact & indirect product contact (surfaces from which contaminants can drip, drain or be drawn onto product contact surfaces), includes pressurized air
  • Zone 2 – Equipment non-product contact areas immediately adjacent to processing equipment
  • Zone 3 – Facility non-product contact areas within processing, packaging & ingredient/finished product cooler areas, i.e. floors; walls; ceilings; overhead piping, conduit & structural supports; drains; forklifts & pallet jacks that enter processing & packaging areas
  • Zone 4 – Facility and equipment non-product contact areas located outside of the processing, packaging & ingredient/finished product cooler areas, i.e. warehouses, dock areas, break rooms, hallways

I understand the thinking that the pathogen from the environment could get into the ice cream and as a consultant I have seen the certainty of a problem break down when the details and specifics are thoroughly evaluated. Questions to ask as sites evaluate their pathogen control programs are: What is the proximity of the finding to the finished product? Is there a history of environmental sample results related to detection of pathogens? What is the laboratory’s positive control culture to ensure the reported results are correct?

PulseNet was formed in 1996 enabling laboratories to use the genetic matching method of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). FDA started to transition from PFGE to whole genome sequencing (WGS) after investigating a 2012 Salmonella outbreak. Isolates have been added to the Genome Trakr database at an exponential rate, and laboratories have converted or are in the process of converting from PFGE to WGS.

WGS use and values are evolving in risk assessment and investigations. There are several different WGS equipment manufacturers. The laboratory method for WGS at FDA is not the same method used by CDC. One uses SNPs, and the other uses alleles. A “match” is not always a perfect match, and there is debate among FDA, CDC, academic, and commercial laboratories as to how close the specific genetic data must be for a “match.”

The analogy I use is calling twin babies “identical” where there may still be a few physical differences; identical twins are genetically identical and a “match.” Fraternal twins are not genetically identical and clearly not a match. When WGS is conducted on an environmental isolate and a patient isolate of a pathogen to see if they match, the data may show genetic differences. The scientific community has not agreed on how much of a difference can be measured and the isolates be labeled as genetically identical.

WGS data lives forever in Genome Trakr, so it is conceivable and perhaps likely that environmental samples taken in your facility this week could be matched to a pathogen from six years ago, but without an isolate from your finished product! Even though the concept is mind-boggling, this is where enforcement currently lies in and CDC today.

So to answer my question, Will FDA Suspend Your Food Facility Registration Based on Environmental Results?, based on recent history with FDA using the tool of WGS as the “Holy Grail” for proving microbiological contamination, the answer could be is “Yes.” When there is a match between an environmental pathogen with a finished product isolate or a patient isolate, FDA will be on your doorstep. Your work is to train employees, re-emphasize and enhance current Good Manufacturing Practices, build a strong and positive food safety culture, re-evaluate your current FDA-compliant food safety plan to ensure effectiveness, and keep records that prove your food safety and corrective action efforts are occurring daily.

In conclusion, the food manufacturing and retail food industry need to prepare themselves for the increased use of all types of genetic screening of environmental and finished product isolates by not only FDA or CDC, but by state food safety regulators, third-party auditors and their customers. One way to prepare is to learn as much as possible about whole genome sequencing (WGS), identify private laboratories that conduct WGS and learn about their methodology and equipment. This will allow you to get out ahead of this new regulatory tool that has the potential of improving the safety of the US food supply but with potential damaging consequences in cases where matches are found.

EAS Welcomes New Consultants in March 2019

Janet Collins, Ph.D.

Dr. Janet Collins assists EAS clients with all matters of food regulatory compliance issues. Her expertise includes product development with an eye towards global agricultural advocacy, appreciation for diversity, and strong expertise in human health science, nutrition and food regulation, and systems for global food acceptance. Janet demonstrates strong global communications/advocacy and leadership with measurable and collaborative results. She recently retired from the position of Executive and Senior Vice President, Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America and was the President of the Institute of Food Technologists from 2008-2015.

Janet Collins PhD

Sophia Lily

Sophia Lily has over 25 years of experience in the regulated pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food industry Quality Control, Quality Assurance. She is based in India and is experienced in handling inspections, validations, vendor audits and training. She routinely works with, including training, personnel in a range of GMP topics including Data Integrity. With expertise including GMP compliance, gap analysis and remediation and development of roadmaps to compliance, she has successfully implemented effective quality management systems for many companies both small and large.

Sophia Lily

Jay Mansour

Jay Mansour is a seasoned Medical Device regulatory consultant with 20+ years of experience. He has successfully filed more than 100 510(k) clearances across many technologies and assists clients with QMS turnkey projects, including personnel training, and CE marking products as well as responding to FDA’s 483 and warning letters. He is an expert in Process Validations (software, sterilization and more).

Jay Mansour

Jeffrey Roberts

Jeffrey Roberts is an expert in software and systems auditing/validation including compliance with 21 CFR Part 11, 21 CFR Part 820 and ISO-13485. He writes Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) documents including Validation Compliance Plan (VCP), Functional Requirements Specification (FRS), System Design Specification (SDS), Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ), Performance Qualification (PQ), Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) and Validation Summary Report (VSR).

Jeffrey Roberts

George Yanulis, Ph.D.

Dr. George Yanulis has consulted in Medical Device Product Development and Research for 20 years and has a Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. He has conducted cardiovascular device research at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation on cardiac pacing paradigms used in heart failure patients. In addition, Dr. Yanulis has been involved in the R&D Medical Device Consulting & Litigation Support as an Expert Witness for over 10 years and has been involved in numerous medical device liability and patent infringement cases. He provides expertise to attorneys, medical device companies, health care systems and insurance carriers related to FDA medical device controls, PMAs, post-market surveillance issues, medical device/product failures and IP medical device issues. In addition, he has reviewed MDR(s) and other adverse events related to implant device failure. Dr. Yanulis is highly motivated in maintaining and providing the highest level of quality in the design, development and safe and effective use of all types of cardiac device implants.

George Yanulis PhD

EAS Webinar: Dietary Supplements and FSMA, Fallacy or Fact?

Since the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011, dietary supplements are now subject to many aspects of the seven major regulations that were issued by FDA to support enforcement of FSMA. One of the most important of these regulations being 21 CFR 117, Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Human Food (PCHF). Which aspects of FSMA’s Preventive Controls for Human Foods, 21 CFR 117, apply to dietary supplements? What about other FSMA responsibilities like FSVP? How does the dietary supplement industry including raw material manufacturers and suppliers, dietary supplement manufacturers, and dietary supplement brand owners avoid enforcement actions?

Join EAS Consulting Group’s FSMA and Dietary Supplement experts Heather Fairman and Maury Bandurraga for an overview of the FSMA regulation and a deeper dive into those aspects which specifically apply to dietary supplements. Register now for our April 16, 2019 webinar at 1:00 pm Eastern.

Strategic Product Development a Key Component of Regulatory Compliance

Did You Know?

Product development is more than just labeling, it is a holistic approach from ideation through commercialization that strategically looks at the category in which the product is intended to be marketed and those regulatory requirements surrounding it. Are there claims being made which have legal definitions? Is the product competing against similar products but with a unique competitive advantage? Does the product contain a new ingredient for which a GRAS submission must be filed?

Once the product idea is born, the strategic and often difficult decisions begin. EAS Consulting Group’s product development team works with companies to best position new and relaunched products in the marketplace. We can review your labels, claims and marketing materials for regulatory compliance, and assure the study design, results and dossiers demonstrate safety of the ingredients and packaging. In addition, we can also assist GMP and Food Safety Modernization Act compliance during production.

If your company is thinking of a new product, product line extension or even repositioning an already existing product, contact EAS Consulting Group for a consultation about your project and how our product development capabilities can help you meet your business goals. EAS’ product development team consists of former attorneys, microbiologists and toxicologists, labeling and claims specialists and experts in packaging and food safety. For more information, contact Allen Sayler, Senior Director of Food Consulting Services at 571-447-5509 or asayler@easconsultinggroup.com.

Meet March 2019 Issue of the Month Author

Kathy Knutson, Ph.D.

Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. is a microbiologist and certified lead instructor for Preventive Controls for Qualified Individuals through the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance. She consults with companies in meeting FSMA requirements, including manufacturers in the cannabis industry as she educates on issues surrounding cannabis infused food products for sale in states with medical and recreational use legislation. Kathy has a Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Minnesota and prior to consulting worked as a Food Safety Educator and Proficiency Program Coordinator with the Northland Laboratories.

Kathy Knutson PhD

EAS Webinar – Qualified Individuals – FDA’s Final Link in the Chain of Food Safety and Food Imports

EAS Independent Advisor for Import Operations, Domenic Veneziano and EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen are collaborating for a complimentary EAS webinar discussing the requirements of a Qualified Individual per FDA requirements. Join us on April 3, 2019, at 1 pm Eastern to learn about this important provision for food importers under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Final Rule. Part 1 Subpart L, Section §1.503 requires that importers of human and animal food enlist a QI who has responsibility for developing a program and performing each activity to ensure the products they are importing are not adulterated or misbranded and have been produced in accordance with the preventive control regulations for human or animal food or the Produce Safety Rule. FDA has specific expectations of the QI. Does your company meet the mark? Join us for our webinar and learn more about FSVP and EAS services as a QI through this explainer video.

EAS Offers Hygienic “Best” Sanitation Practices for Delivering Safe Snack Foods at SNAXPO

EAS Independent Consultants David Blomquist and Jenifer Kane will present a one-day seminar at the upcoming SNAC International Annual Conference, SNAXPO, March 31-April 2, 2019 in Orlando, FL. The training which takes place on March 31 will provide practical information, “real-world” examples and tips on how to enhance daily operational practices related to improving existing food safety and quality programs for the snack food industry. Focusing on criteria for selecting, installing and maintaining processing equipment and utensils, how to effectively clean processing equipment and more. Participants will gain an appreciation of compliance requirements of the applicable FSMA regulations.

EAS Offers Webinar on Developing New Infant Formula Notification

The submission stage of a New Infant Formula Notification may seem like the beginning of the end of a years-long process of research and strategic development. But, without all the right documentation in place, this last step prior to product launch can be unnecessarily delayed for those companies not well-prepared for the rigors of FDA review and assessment.

Learn the steps to NIFNs as well as the pitfalls and challenges companies face in leading up to the assembling of an Infant Formula dossier. EAS Consulting Group’s experts will walk you through challenges and pitfalls which delay or prevent final FDA approval of this most important nutrient for growing infants. Join Robert Martin, Ph.D., Robert Burns, Ph.D., and Timothy Morck, Ph.D. on April 2, 2019, at 1 pm Eastern for a technical overview of one of FDA’s most challenging applications. Register today and learn more about EAS services in infant formulas in this explainer video.

New EAS Webinar Announced – What Does the Farm Bill Mean for the Cannabis Industry?

The 2018 Farm Bill answered many questions for the cannabis industry, but its message has also been largely misunderstood. Misinterpretations as to the legality of including cannabis as an ingredient in foods, herbal products, and dietary supplements have erroneously lead firms to begin planning and production of illegal products, and, in the case of those which legally include (by state) CBD ingredients there is often little regard or understanding of how to manage the quality, including product specifications for the production of a consistent and safe product.

Join EAS Senior Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., and special guest, Marc Ullman with Rivkin Radler, LLP on March 13, 2019, at 1 pm Eastern for a dynamic discussion on what the Farm Bill really means for the cannabis industry. What is FDA’s position on cannabis and how are the states managing the patchwork of federal regulations that make this burgeoning industry so confusing? In those cases where companies are legally producing cannabis products, what steps should be taken to implement and improve upon sound quality systems? Register here and learn more about EAS quality systems services for the cannabis industry here. You may also wish to view our CBD and Hemp Regulatory Fact Sheet here.

Last Chance to Register – EAS Food and Dietary Supplement Labeling Seminars

EAS is offering our popular Food and Dietary Supplement Labeling Seminars in Philadelphia March 12-13 and March 14-15, 2019 respectively. Join independent consultants and labeling experts Gisela Leon and Jim Hoadley, Ph.D. for an in-depth look at the various requirements surrounding the development of Nutrition and Supplement Facts Panels, including FDA’s latest requirements. Join EAS for either the Food Labeling Seminar or Dietary Supplement Labeling Seminar, or both! Group discounts for two or more employees are available.

OTC Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act Discussed in Solid Dose Digest

EAS Independent Consultant, Norma Skolnik and Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, has​ co-written an article on the OTC Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act. Recently published in Solid Dose Digest, the article includes a proposed review and overhaul of the OTC Monograph process, eliminating inefficiencies and allows for better response times to safety concerns. Learn more in Solid Dose Digest and join Susan in Part 2 of her Five-part webinar series on OTC Monographs. Part 1 – an Overview of the OTC Monograph system, is available On-Demand now. Part 2 on OTC Labeling and Listing Requirements takes place on February 27, 2019.

EAS Webinar on Regulatory Challenges of Submitting New Infant Formula Notifications

The submission stage of a New Infant Formula Notification may seem like the beginning of the end of a years-long process of research and strategic development. But, without all the right documentation in place, this last step prior to product launch can be unnecessarily delayed for those companies not well-prepared for the rigors of FDA review and assessment. Learn the steps to NIFNs as well as the pitfalls and challenges companies face in leading up to the assembling of an Infant Formula dossier. EAS Consulting Group’s experts, scientists, and leaders in their fields at FDA and industry will walk you through challenges and pitfalls which delay or prevent final FDA approval of this most important nutrient for growing infants. Join Robert Martin, Ph.D., Robert Burns, Ph.D. and Timothy Morck, Ph.D. for an informative and technical overview of one of FDA’s most challenging applications on April 2, 2019, at 1:00 pm eastern. Reserve your seat today!

What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Say About Sugar, Honey, and Agave?

By James Hoadley, Ph.D.

Each month EAS Independent Consultants answer one question sent in by our readers. This month’s question is answered by James Hoadley, Ph.D., an expert in food and supplement labeling and content claims and long-time instructor for our popular Food and Dietary Supplement Labeling Compliance Seminar. Prior to consulting Jim was the Senior Regulatory Scientist, Nutrition at FDA’s CFSAN Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements.

If you’d like to ask a question of our experts, contact us here. To learn more information on our Food and Dietary Supplement Labeling Seminars please visit our webpage.

Question: I am a smaller company that produces maple syrup and honey sold in jars. Does the 2018 Farm Bill mean I no longer have to comply with the 2016 FDA Nutrition Facts requirements for these two single-source products?

Hoadley: One of the NUTRITION FACTS changes introduced in the FDA’s 2016 revisions to nutrition labeling regulations was a new line in the Nutrition Facts for Includes __ g added sugar. When a food contains sugars, but not added sugars, then the “Includes X g added sugars” line may be omitted from the Nutrition Facts and replaced by a “Not a significant source of added sugars” footnote. The term added sugar includes both sugars that are added during the processing of foods, and sugars packaged as such; e.g., a bag of sugar or a bottle of honey would need to declare its entire sugar content as added sugar. Including the single ingredient sources of sugar as added sugar was unpopular and confusing. FDA’s rationale was that when you purchase a bag of sugar, you are going to use it to add to food, so its use is as added sugar. In the past year FDA attempted to make the added sugar declaration more palatable for producers of products like honey and maple syrup by allowing for an enforcement discretion option of footnoting the added sugars declaration with a statement such as “†All these sugars are naturally occurring in honey.” The footnote option was not enough to sugar-coat the “Includes X g added sugars” requirement in some segments of the food industry. Though your product no longer has to declare added sugar, it still needs to comply with all other requirements for Nutrition Facts. 

2018 Farm Bill. SEC. 12516. LABELING EXEMPTION FOR SINGLE INGREDIENT FOODS AND PRODUCTS.
The food labeling requirements under section 403(q) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 343(q)) shall not require that the nutrition facts label of any single-ingredient sugar, honey, agave, or syrup, including maple syrup, that is packaged and offered for sale as a single-ingredient food bear the declaration “Includes X g Added Sugars.”.

Congress joined in the party by placing an ‘added sugars’ section in the miscellaneous provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill has decreed that FDA shall not require any single-ingredient sugar, honey, agave, or syrup product to bear the “Includes X g added sugars” declaration in its Nutrition Facts. The Farm Bill is an omnibus bill that directs agriculture and nutrition policies; it gets renewed at 5-year intervals. The 2018 Farm Bill covers the years 2019-2023. Provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill go into effect January 1, 2019.

Developing VMS Products for Commercial and Compliance Success

EAS independent consultant, Steve Cammarn, is presenting a webinar on considerations for Developing Vitamin, Mineral and Supplement Products for Commercial and Compliance Success. Join EAS February 7, 2019, at 1 pm Eastern where Dr. Cammarn will share principles and techniques for a phased-approach of the development of vitamin, mineral, and supplements products incorporating product design, process development, supply chain establishment, and qualification. Dr. Cammarn weaves together the scientific principles as well as the overarching regulatory requirements that must be met for commercial and compliance success. Join us!

2019 February From the Desk of the Chairman

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the February 2019 edition of EAS-e-News, the free news publication dedicated to FDA regulated industries. I’d like to begin by bringing your attention to our many new educational opportunities. From our many complimentary webinars to regulatory compliance seminars EAS brings the best in regulatory education to you through our extensive network of independent experts. In this issue, you’ll find numerous opportunities to learn in real time in addition to our wealth of on-demand webinars available for viewing at your convenience.

On that note, two recent additions to our complimentary webinar offerings include one on the requirements for Qualified Individuals, hosted by Independent Advisors Domenic Veneziano and Charles Breen, and regulatory challenges and opportunities for companies preparing New Infant Formula Notifications, presented by EAS Independent Advisor Robert Martin, Ph.D., and Independent Consultants Robert Burns, Ph.D. and Timothy Morck, Ph.D.. More information can be found in the EAS in Action section of this issue.

Our Issue of the Month is written by Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen, and discusses two very similar sounding terms, Qualified Individual and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual, which have two very different meanings. Our Ask the Expert is written by James Hoadley, Ph.D. and discusses the provision in the recently signed Farm Bill which covers “added sugars” and when the “includes X g added sugars” can be omitted from a label.

Also in this issue, we introduce a new section called “Did you Know?” which will provide a brief spotlight of concern to FDA regulatory industries. This month we discuss Slack Fill. Did you know this is a growing area of litigation for food manufacturers? The many regulations surrounding slack fill are confusing at best and EAS is here to help if this issue is one that your firm faces.

Further, EAS has just released our newest Video Short, on cannabis quality issues and how EAS Consulting Group can help companies navigate as the industry pushes for for developing sound Good Manufacturing Practices.

Lastly, we are so pleased that there is at least a temporary solution to reopen the federal government after the longest shutdown in our nation’s history and we hope for a lasting resolution that enables both sides of the aisle to find common ground. The shut down has had numerous negative impacts, including severely curtailing operations at FDA and USDA, are we are thankful, at least for the moment, that our federal employees are able to get back to the business at hand by serving the public.

Thank you as always for your interest in EAS and EASeNews. You are one of the 16,000 who receive our newsletter and we take great pride in bringing you relevant content and compliance solutions. Please let me know if you have any questions on this issue or other areas of FDA compliance.

Sincerely,

EAS Signature Ed

Ed Steele
Chairman and CEO

EAS Announces Next GMP Compliance for Laboratories Seminar in Denver

EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplement Consulting Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. will instruct the next EAS seminar on Good Manufacturing Practices for Dietary Supplement Laboratories April 23, 2019 in Denver, CO. This one-day intensive program will discuss FDA’s current GMP requirements for Research and Development and Quality Control of Laboratories including physical, analytical, and microbiological laboratories. Topics include analyst training and qualification; the labs’ physical facility and environment; instrument qualification, calibration and maintenance programs and more.

Meet New Consultant for February 2019

Ronald J. Levine

Ron Levine has 40 years of experience advising consumer products companies in complex commercial matters. In addition to providing consulting services for EAS, he serves as the General Counsel of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, a law firm with offices in New York and Newark, NJ. He has practiced with Herrick since 1984, where he was a partner from 1985-2018. He served as Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department for 15 years.

A pragmatic advisor who helps clients anticipate, minimize and resolve the financial and reputational damage arising from claims and potential claims, Ron specializes in crisis management, for food and beverage manufacturers, and advises on class action litigations and investigations, including serving as an expert witness, related to labeling, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), advertising claims, product recalls, FDA regulations and other concerns.

The EAS Expert Witness team is greatly enhanced with the addition of Ron. By strategically matching the regulatory purview of the case at hand with our former high-level FDA and industry executives, EAS offers in-depth analysis of FDA and other Federal and state laws as well as standard industry best practices. Ron, along with Steve Armstrong, EAS Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation and former Chief Counsel for Campbell Soup Company and Bruce Silverglade, an EAS Independent Consultant and a Principal with the law firm Olsson Frank and Weeda Terman Matz, PC, lead the EAS Expert Witness team of consultants providing detailed and critical services to firms in all FDA commodity areas.

Ron Levine

Slack Fill – EAS Experts are Here to Help

There has been an increasingly growing volume of litigation in the slack fill area. This is a daunting issue for food manufacturers and is complicated by a dearth of clear guidance which ultimately leads to a lack of understanding of the many competing requirements and increases a company’s risk for legal challenges. In fact, there are at least five levels of law where one should look for guidance with slack fill, including international, federal, state, local and common law. Answers on how to interpret and piece the various laws and rulings together is not found on the FDA website, and moreover, it is very difficult to predict how a consumer attorney will interpret them as they attempt to bring suits against the industry.

If you are one of the many who have questions concerning how to find, understand, interpret and implement policies and practices regarding slack fill, call EAS’ team of experts who can assist in navigating this very complicated and confusing issue. 

Own Label Distributor Responsibilities Discussed in Natural Products Insider

Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. was interviewed for an article in Natural Products Insider on Own Label Distributors and challenges of industry to establish product specifications. According to FDA data, in fiscal year 2018, about 24 percent of the FDA Form 483 inspection reports cited firms for failing to establish specifications of finished dietary supplements. This issue is clearly a challenge for the industry and one in which OLDs should be well-versed and ensure compliance.

Food Safety Magazine Part II of Series on FSMA Training

Independent Consultant Mehrdad Tajkarimi has published part two of his three-part series in Food Safety Magazine on designing food safety training programs to meet FSMA compliance expectations. Food safety training is critical, not only in meeting FDA requirements, but in protecting consumers and the safety of our food supply. Whether training is designed and hosted in-house or delivered through expert training sources such as EAS, it is important that the content and delivery meet the audience where they are and deliver the information in an easily digestible format.

GMPs Refresher Training – New Dates Announced

EAS has announced a new date for our Riverside, CA GMP One-Day Refresher Training. This California training, now hosted on May 14, 2019, and its sister one-day Refresher trainings in Texas, Massachusetts and New York, are designed to meet the annual requirements many companies have that enable employees to stay current in GMP requirements. EAS is hosting four GMP Refresher trainings around the country in 2019. Please join us and consider outsourcing your company’s Refresher compliance trainings to EAS!

January 2019 Drug and Device Corner

With the Federal Register (FR) publication unavailable, the FDA has published Safety and Performance-Based Pathway on the Guidance Document webpage. Full details will be available in the Federal Register once that site is again functioning. The existing Docket Number for this document is 

FDA-2018-D-1387. For questions about this document regarding CDRH-regulated devices, contact the 510(k) Staff at 301-796-5640. For questions about this document regarding CBER-regulated devices, contact the Office of Communication, Outreach, and Development (OCOD) at 1-800-835-4709 or 240-402-8010.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

CDER

ANDA Submissions – Amendments and Requests for Final Approval to Tentatively Approved ANDAs

CDER & CBER

Rare Diseases: Common Issues in Drug Development

Labeling for Human Prescription Drug and Biological Products Approved Under the Accelerated Approval Regulatory Pathway

Immunogenicity Testing of Therapeutic Protein Products —Developing and Validating Assays for Anti-Drug Antibody Detection

REMS Assessment: Planning and Reporting

CDRH

Coordinated Development of Antimicrobial Drugs and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test Devices

FDA’s CDRH recently released a Safety and Performance-Based Pathway Guidance Document describing a new abbreviated submission process for 510(k)s which aims to simplify submissions for devices which meet performance standards developed by FDA rather than showing outright equivalence in safety/efficacy to the predicate device. This new pathway has the potential for reducing the administrative burden of building a lengthy clearance dossier as well as be a slightly faster way to gain review and clearance. More information will be forthcoming as FDA issues future guidance on the application of this Safety and Performance-Based Pathway to certain types of devices with corresponding FDA-identified performance criteria. Industry may suggest device types for which FDA should consider identifying performance criteria.

Pharmaceutical GMPs for Safer Products and Swifter Approvals

EAS published a blog on the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers’ iSpeak blog on how GMPs and data integrity align for safer products and swifter approvals. FDA has noted that in recent years, findings from pharma facility inspections show increasing challenges with meeting data integrity requirements, which has led to regulatory actions including warning letters, import alerts, and consent decrees.

Qualified Individual and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual – What’s the Difference?

By Charles Breen

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Control for Human Foods (PCHF) regulation (21 CFR 117) signed into law in 2011 offers a wealth of opportunity (and a requirement) for companies to improve their food safety procedures and protocols through the implementation of a preventive strategy against foodborne risks. As part of this regulation, food manufacturers must require that employees are qualified to perform their assigned tasks in a manner that protects food safety and prevents against adulteration. In addition, each company must have at least one employee, preferably located at the food manufacturing facility, who functions as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). The PCQI functions as the responsible party overseeing the development and execution of all food safety programs and must have the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform these tasks based on their education, on the job experience or a combination.

Also, as part of FSMA, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Final Rule for importers of human and animal food requires in Part 1 Subpart L that food manufacturers enlist a “Qualified Individual” who has responsibility for ensuring that all foreign suppliers of foods or food ingredients imported for consumption or further manufacturing in the U.S. produce their products in a manner consistent with FSMA requirements. This FSVP Qualified Individual (QI) must also have the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) appropriate to evaluate foreign supplier compliance through their education OTJ experience or a combination of both. 

The FSMA PCHF regulation calls for a PCQI while the FSVP regulation calls for a QI. Though the terms are nearly the same and the regulations are related, they have different meanings. What exactly is the difference, in FDA’s view, of a PCQI and a QI, and how can companies determine that they are meeting FDA’s intent?

PCHF’s PCQI

PCHF’s big focus is on preventive controls for all food manufacturing facilities producing foods or food ingredients that will be consumed in the US. FDA requires that risk be assessed and mitigated so the risk no longer has public health significance, and that specific controls or mitigations steps be evaluated for effectiveness by a PCQI. A new term in the PCHF Final Rule, the requirement for a PCQI applies to covered domestic and foreign facilities producing human and animal food, generally those that need to register under section 415 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), (though there are, as expected, some exemptions). Though one PCQI can develop food safety plans for multiple facilities, it is important to note that each plan must be specific to the facility and address the unique processes and hazards within.

As a PCQI, considerations for biological, chemical and physical hazards must be thoroughly understood and assessed. Biological hazards include parasites and disease-causing bacteria; chemical hazards include radiological exposure, pesticides, drug residues, natural toxins, food decomposition, unapproved additives and food allergens; and physical hazards include items such as glass, rocks, metal parts or other foreign objects. FSMA requires that a food safety plan that specifically controls each of them must be developed by the PCQI. 

FDA accepts that either training or education (or a combination thereof) can provide the knowledge and skills required to perform PCQI duties as long as they equal a standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by FDA, such as that designed by the Food Safety and Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and instructed by FSPCA “Lead Instructors”. EAS offers the FDA-recognized FSPCA PCQI training curriculum, taught by Lead Instructors, as part of our comprehensive suite of in-house seminars and workshops.

Many who have already received training in HACCP, SQF, , BRC, IFS or FSSC22000 may still need additional training due to additional requirements for Good Manufacturing Practices requirements and Preventive Controls specified under PCHF in Part 117. FDA does not require, but it does recognize a formal FSPCA certificate verifying competency in Preventive Controls, for participants who successfully complete FSPCA PCQI workshop. 

FSVP’s QI

Companies importing finished food and food ingredients for further processing into the U.S. must have an FSVP QI to develop their FSVP food safety assessment program. An FSVP QI may be employed by the FSVP “Importer” or the Importer can contract with a private individual or consulting company like EAS Consulting Group to perform the FSVP QI responsibilities. A FSVP QI must evaluate the overall food safety risk of a food or food ingredient provided by a foreign supplier utilizing various documents originating from the foreign supplier and determine whether the foods or food ingredients meet FDA’s strict food safety requirements found in the PCHF and FSVP regulations. Much like PCHF’s PCQI, the FSVP QI will use the foreign supplier’s documents and the nature of the imported food or food ingredient to assess whether adequate controls are in place for potential biological, chemical and physical hazards. In addition, the FSVP QI will assess food safety risk by looking at whether their foreign supplier has been the subject of an FDA warning letter or import alert, their food safety performance history, results from testing, private or government audit results, and the supplier’s record of correcting problems. 

Once the QI has determined that a foreign supplier’s risks have appropriate controls, they will continue to monitor their performance by conducting appropriate supplier verification activities including some combination of onsite audits, reviewing supplier relevant food safety activities and sampling and testing of a food.  By regulation, these evaluation activities must be performed no less than every three years, or sooner if the FSVP importer becomes aware of new information concerning food safety or the foreign supplier’s performance.  It is our recommendation that these evaluation activities be updated annually as the food manufacturing environment is constantly changing and performing food safety risk assessments of a foreign manufacturer once every three (3) years may result in a significant food safety issue being allowed to continue for too long.

In addition to a QI’s assessment duties for a food importer, the FSVP Importer must also make sure their US Customs Broker identifies them for each incoming food or food ingredient shipment on the US Customs and Border Protection “ACE” electronic database as the FSVP Importer. The information must include the FSVP importer’s name, mailing address, and a unique facility identifier (UFI) recognized as acceptable to FDA. At present, FDA recognizes only DUNS numbers as an acceptable UFI.

Everyone with a role in importing foreign sourced foods should be familiar with applicable FSVP requirements including US Customs Brokers,foreign exporters, foreign food manufacturers, and US importers. This comprehensive approach is required under FSMA’s PCHF and FSVP regulations, intended to improve the nation’s level of protect food safety protection. FSPCA has developed an FDA-recognized FSVP training curriculum and EAS offers this in a workshop format in addition that of FSPCA’s Preventive Controls training curriculum. 

The microscope under which food safety assessments are evaluated has never been as detailed and is being scrutinized by FDA as now. With the possibility for potentially damaging regulatory enforcement consequences, many firms need to review, upgrade and have an outside, objective assessment of their food safety plans, whether they are domestic food manufacturers that have to comply with FSMA’s PCHF regulation or foreign food manufacturers that have to comply with both FSMA’s PCHF and FSVP regulations. An objective outside compliance assessment of a food manufacturer’s food safety plan needs to evaluate both the written plan and the effectiveness of its implementation. Third parties, such as EAS, can perform this objective outside assessment using a team approach to bring the correct level of expertise for development of an in-depth understanding of food manufacturer’s existing food safety system. The use of outside objective and qualified third-party private organizations such as EAS to evaluate and test the food manufacturer’s food safety program is part of any food manufacturer’s due diligence effort and can also offer a greater peace of mind to senior management of the facility and company owning the food manufacturing facility. Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong, it will. With a detailed food safety strategy in place, those risks can be identified and minimized before they become a problem.

More Like This?

EAS offers a wealth of additional learning opportunities on FSMA and FSVP. Check out the On-Demand Webinars page under Resources of our website for more topics like this including:

  • FSVP – What Does it Mean for your Business? – Presented by Charles Breen and Susan Moyers, Ph.D.
  • FSVP – What Does it Mean for your Business? – Presented in Spanish, Gustavo Gonzales, Ph.D.

Also, look for EAS in the News for articles such as:

FDLI Update: “FSMA After One Year: Advancing and Building Food Safety Systems for the 21st Century”, Steve Armstrong, EAS Independent Advisor, Food Law and Regulation


Steps to Develop Compliant SOPs Discussed in AHPA Report

The December American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Report (subscription required) included an EAS authored article on steps to develop fully compliant Standard Operating Procedures. Though the development and detail of each SOP is at the discretion of individual companies, they should provide a thorough manual that enables each employee to understand their roles and responsibilities and how to perform and document them with regard to the cGMPs. As current practices evolve, so too should SOPs as they are designed to be living documents, representing best practices and required procedures.

FDA Encourages Innovation and Safety as Part of Medical Device Regulatory Overhaul

EAS authored an article in MedTech Intelligence on FDA’s efforts at encouraging innovation while keeping a close eye on safety as part of a medical device regulatory overhaul. FDA is working to retire outdated predicates for 510(k) submissions as well as improve their post-market surveillance system through a multi-collaborative effort called National Evaluation System for Health Technology (NEST).

Couch Shares Thoughts on Contract Laboratory Best Practices as Part of Insider Q&A

Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. participated in a discussion with other industry leaders on best practices for contract laboratories in a recent Natural Products Insider. Contract labs are often enlisted to certify that products are fully and validly tested, and the relationship with these labs can sometimes be complicated by a lack of provided material and product matrix information to ensure that appropriate, scientifically valid test methodologies are used. Couch and her industry colleagues share thoughts on how to convey expectations and develop agreements.

Join EAS for Complimentary Webinar Series on OTC Monograph Reforms

Join EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, as she explores the history of OTC Monographs and how OTC drug companies can expect updates to the Monograph system to impact their labels in a webinar series starting January 16, 2019. Part one will discuss the history of OTC monographs and why reforms are necessary. Part two is February 27, 2019 and will discuss understanding the FDA and FTC Labeling and Claim Requirements for Cosmetic and Homeopathic products in the OTC market. The final sessions, with dates to be announced will discuss what makes a drug an OTC and the Monographs Compliance System; and GMP obligations – understanding how the GMPs are Applied and how to prepare for FDA Inspection. Reserve your seat today!

Drug and Device January 2019

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

All centers:

Developing and Labeling In vitro Companion Diagnostic Devices for a Specific Group or Class of Oncology Therapeutic Products

CDER:

Noncirrhotic Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis With Liver Fibrosis:  Developing Drugs for Treatment

Post-Complete Response Letter Meetings Between FDA and ANDA Applicants

Current Good Manufacturing Practice—Guidance for Human Drug Compounding Outsourcing Facilities Under Section 503B of the FD&C Act

CDER & CBER:

New and Revised Draft Q&As on Biosimilar Development and the BPCI Act (Revision 2)

Questions and Answers on Biosimilar Development and the BPCI Act

The “Deemed to be a License” Provision of the BPCI Act Questions and Answers Guidance for Industry

Interpretation of the “Deemed to be a License” Provision of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009

Biomarker Qualification: Evidentiary Framework

Data Integrity and Compliance With Drug CGMP Questions and Answers

Clinical Trial Endpoints for the Approval of Cancer Drugs and Biologics

Developing and Submitting Proposed Draft Guidance Relating to Patient Experience Data

CDRH & CBER:

User Fees and Refunds for Premarket Approval Applications and Device Biologics License Applications

CDRH:

Recommendations for Dual 510(k) and CLIA Waiver by Application Studies

Select Updates for Recommendations Select Updates for Recommendations Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) Waiver Applications for Manufacturers of In Vitro Diagnostic Devices

Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose Test Systems for Over-the-Counter Use

Blood Glucose Monitoring Test Systems for Prescription Point-of-Care Use

Clarification of Radiation Control Regulations For Manufacturers of Diagnostic X-Ray Equipment

Breakthrough Devices Program

CBER:

Bacterial Risk Control Strategies for Blood Collection Establishments and Transfusion Services to Enhance the Safety and Availability of Platelets for Transfusion

Labeling of Red Blood Cell Units with Historical Antigen Typing Results

CVM:

Studies to Evaluate the Metabolism and Residue Kinetics of Veterinary Drugs in Food-Producing Species: Study Design Recommendations for Residue Studies in Honey for Establishing MRLs and Withdrawal Periods

2019 Produce Compliance Dates for FSMA

By Charles Breen, EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA Consulting Services

January 28, 2019, marks the compliance date for four categories of produce growers:

  • Sprouts from Very Small Farms (with certain exemptions), 
  • Sprouts from Very Small Farms eligible for a qualified exemption to comply with other requirements in 112.6 and 112.7, 
  • Other small farms, (except those with certain water requirements), and 
  • Small Farms eligible for a qualified exemption to comply with other requirements in 112.6 and 112.7

must come into compliance.

FSMA’s Final Rule on Produce Safety, Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, and FDA’s helpful Small Entity Compliance Guide concerning determination of business size (based on annual monetary value of the food farms sell directly to qualified end users) are two important resources for farms growing and harvesting produce for consumption without further processing.

Recent foodborne illness outbreaks from romaine lettuce illustrate why it is prudent to take a fresh look at some specific areas where the introduction and harboring of pathogens can wreak havoc and cause devastating public health and economic consequences.

FDA’s recently announced that the list of possible growing areas identified as the source of the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce has been narrowed to three California counties, and one farm in particular. However, FDA concedes that this does not explain all of the illnesses. As of December 13, 2018, traceback information from five restaurants in four states have identified 11 different distributors, nine different growers, and eight different farms as potential sources of the contaminated lettuce, so it is likely that the outbreak cannot be explained by a single farm, grower, harvester, or distributor. FDA continues to investigate.

It’s also not only E. coli causing produce industry woes. Listeria monocytogenes prompted recent recalls of pre-packaged salad products and asparagus, as did a summer outbreak of Cyclospora in melons and lettuce. 

Why are these events continuing to happen? FSMA’s many requirements were designed to prevent just such occurrences. Are growers not complying with the regulations because they are too difficult to understand, or too difficult to follow? Or are these outbreaks examples of Murphy’s law, that no matter the risk mitigation strategy, if something can go wrong, it will?

The answer, in my view, is yes to all three – and I’ll add that sometimes downstream consequences are not fully understood until it is too late. 

Take for instance, this past summer’s E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. The fact that after so many months FDA still cannot pinpoint the exact source of the outbreak suggests these companies and areas under investigation appear (at least on the surface) to be largely in compliance. As of this writing, Whole Genome Sequencing testing has identified only one result where an agricultural water reservoir sediment contains the same E. coli O157:H7 strand implicated in the outbreak. However, the agency says it isn’t clear how the water became contaminated and that additional illnesses demonstrate that this reservoir cannot be the only cause of such a widespread outbreak. 

As compliance dates for various sized produce and sprout farms arrive, FDA will continue to transition from an educational to a regulatory approach for FSMA and supplier enforcement. Prudent companies will take a step back and review their supplier, manufacturing, agricultural and transportation protocols to ensure that all conceivable entry points for microbiological, chemical and physical hazards are controlled, and, when problems do occur, quickly testing entry points to identify and reduce impacts.

Just because something hasn’t yet happened at your facility doesn’t mean it won’t, and don’t assume that just because something happens at one of your suppliers or distributors, that your company won’t see negative repercussions. Food safety is everyone’s business.

EAS stands ready to help you with all aspects of FSMA compliance. Contact us or more information end-users and we invite you to view our many industry information sheets to learn more about our services with regards to foods, FSMA and other FDA requirements for all product areas.

Dietary Supplement Specifications Development – Still Challenging the Industry Ten Years Later

By Tamika Cathey

Specifications Development, as defined in FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices for dietary supplements (21 CFR §111) have posed one of the biggest challenges to industry since the inception of the requirements in June 2007. Specifically, 21 CFR §111.70 requires manufacturers to develop specifications for each component used in the manufacturing process and the finish product, including raw material components, in-process controls, packaging/labeling materials, and finished products. To be compliant with 21 CFR §111, each specification must ensure the quality of the material or product by addressing its identity, purity, strength or concentration, physical composition and lack of potential contaminants or ensuring that potential contaminants are present at acceptably safe levels. However, manufacturers continue to struggle with understanding specifications development and compliance. This is evidenced by the many Warning Letters and Form 483s issued by the FDA in the past ten years.

Certainly, the intent of specification requirements is well understood, at least conceptually by industry. The main purpose for requiring adequate specifications is to prevent product(s) adulteration and ensure that the finish product meets at least 100% of all nutrient claims declared on the Supplement Fact Panel (SFP) throughout its best by date or expiration date per 21 CFR §101.9 under the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Once a specification is set, the specification must be verified using scientifically sound and justified testing analysis and/or visual examination analysis such as organoleptic, macroscopic, microscopic, chemical, or microbial. Recognized test methods can be obtained from compendial sources like USP monographs, AOAC, FCC, or NF and used a starting point in determining an appropriate method. Multiple tests and examinations are usually deployed to ensure specifications are met per 21 CFR §111.75 and 21 CFR §111.320. All of this ensures consistent reproducibility and reliability of a finished product that is either being manufactured or packaged.

A look at recent warning letters illustrates this lack of understanding with findings such as: 

  • A lack of or incomplete identity component specifications (e.g. dietary ingredients, excipients or process aids, coating materials etc.) for each component per 21 CFR §111.70(b)(1) and 21 CFR §111.70(b)(2).
  • Lack of or incomplete specification(s) for in-process controls in manufacturing process per 21 CFR §111.70(a).
  • Lack of or incomplete product specifications for finish products per 21 CFR §111.70(e) to include package/labeled products (e.g. 21 CFR §111.70 (d) & (f) & (g)).

Briefly, specifications are a set of defined parameters benchmarked against associated acceptance criteria providing characteristics and quality of a finish dietary supplement. The expectation is that when specifications are established, they will be written, managed in a controlled system with revision histories that are tracked, monitored, reviewed and approved by the Quality Department. This means materials and products being used from other sources will be unequivocally identified, the microbiological purity and other purity requirements will be assessed to determine strength and concentration of a dietary ingredient. The physical composition will be evaluated, and any potential contaminants will be identified.

When developing specifications, it is a good idea to begin as early as possible by identifying critical quality attributes of finish product(s) and the manufacturing process as a whole. These quality attributes are to be identified with acceptable ranges determined in order to assess the attribute. Scientifically sound/valid test methods and examinations are tools used to conduct the assessment. Each specification developed should address sections of identity, purity, strength, composition, and contaminants to meet regulatory requirements outlined in 21 CFR §111.

Dietary supplement manufacturers must consider component specifications, including dietary ingredients, as defined in 201(ff) of the FD&C Act and label claimed on SFP, and non-dietary ingredients such as excipients, capsules, and coating materials.

In addition, in-process specifications must be established for any point, step, or stage of manufacturing and packaging processes. Simply put, these specifications focus on verifying material composition thorough a series of physical tests and examinations such as in-process checks and metal detection. These specification requirements can be met by developing a comprehensive Master Manufacturing Record (MMR) as required in 21 CFR 111.210.

Packaging and labeling specifications for components including container closure systems and materials that may come in contact with finish product including desiccants, cotton, pouches, lids, outer cartons, labels, and inserts should include approved/qualified supplier information, name and description of item, and physical attributes such as material type, size, dimensions, and color. Physical attributes and item descriptions can be obtained from a reliable C of A. Keep in mind that packing specifications must be developed for every packing configuration used for finish products. Set process and control specifications within the MMR and set a requirement that visual examination for each batch will be performed.

Finally, finished product specifications (FP) establish the identity, purity, strength, composition, and limits of contaminates for each finished batch of dietary supplement. In short, the finish product specification details testing requirements for a finished batch. All dietary ingredients listed on the SFP must be identified on the FP specification and additional requirements of minimum and maximum acceptance criteria.

It is expected that the claimed SFP ingredients meet at least 100 percent of the label claim in order to meet the requirements NLEA detailed in 21 CFR 101.9. Release specifications may be set at a higher percentage to account for any needed overage amounts formulated into the product to ensure the 100-percent requirement is met throughout the product expiration date or best buy date.

In closing, specifications development can be established based upon acceptable ranges and values set forth by industry, academia, and scientific data/results from published journals, and/or product history in manufacturing. Refer to NLEA mandatory and voluntary labeling disclosure set forth by FDA 21 CFR 109 (j). Accredited laboratories and American Herbal Product Association can provide guidance for building the appropriate specification to include test method. Reference any sources used to determine appropriate specification. If further assistance is needed, manufacturers can also work closely with the qualified supplier(s), an accredited 3rd party laboratory, and/or qualified consultants to help with specification development.

FDA De-Listing of Synthetic Flavors

By Steve Armstrong

Question: FDA’s recent announcement delisting seven synthetic flavors caused a flurry of conversation and some confusion within the flavor and extract world. Would you clarify?

Armstrong: Thank you for the question and the opportunity to clear up confusion on FDA’s October 8, 2018 Constituent Update on the removal or delisting of seven synthetic flavors from the list of approved food additives. FDA was clearly reluctant to take this action, but it did so because several activist groups had petitioned for the delisting and then went to court to force FDA to take the action.

FDA made clear in its announcement in the Federal Register that it was only de-listing the synthetic form of these substances, which are labeled as “artificial flavors.” This means that a flavor manufacturer need only remove these synthetic substances from its flavor portfolio. These include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. In addition, the FDA also is amending the food additive regulations to no longer provide for benzophenone’s use as a plasticizer in rubber articles intended for repeated use in contact with food.

In the Federal Register notice published on October 9, 2018 the agency said its revocation of the approvals “does not affect the legal status of foods containing natural counterparts or non-synthetic flavoring substances extracted from food.” FDA noted that each of the seven synthetic substances has a natural counterpart in food or in natural substances used to flavor foods. For example, they say, “benzophenone is present in grapes, ethyl acrylate is present in pineapple, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol) is present in basil, myrcene is present in citrus fruit, pulegone is present in peppermint, and pyridine is present in coffee.”

According to the Federal Register notice and the communication on FDA’s website, companies may continue to use the seven flavors provided they are only made from the natural extracts and are labeled as “natural flavors.” Companies using these synthetic flavors have 24 months from the publication of the rule in the Federal Register to identify suitable replacement ingredients and reformulate their food products.

This is an unusual situation and one precipitated by the Delaney Clause, an antiquated section of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. That section of the law prohibits FDA from approving a food additive if, after appropriate testing, it is found that the additive induces cancer in humans or animals. The clause is absolute. It does not provide FDA any leeway for applying a scientific risk assessment, even in situations where, as in the present case, the usage levels of an additive are low and inherently self-limiting, meaning exposures well below any area where they could possibly present any cancer risk. However, the petitioners had submitted data showing high levels of these synthetic substances did induce cancer in lab animals.

So, even though FDA had no concerns about either the synthetic or natural versions of these seven flavors, which had been used for decades, with no concerns about their safety as presently used in foods, the Delaney Clause required that the agency, as a legal matter, take the action requested by the petitioners. Six of the seven were delisted in response to these citizen petitions; the seventh (Styrene) was delisted because it is no longer in use. The agency clearly did not like having to take his step, but the Delaney Clause gave it no choice. The decision to de-list, it said, was required as a legal matter, not a scientific one. It’s possible that this action may signal an effort by the flavor and extract industry to modify the Delaney Clause.

Meet New Consultants

Timothy Morck, Ph.D.

Timothy Morck provides expertise in nutrition-related research, product development, regulatory and public policy and global scientific affairs. Dr. Morck’s career includes clinical nutrition practice, research, and medical school faculty appointments, scientific association management, entrepreneurial personalized nutrition start-ups, and executive and senior management positions at several global food, nutrition and pharmaceutical companies including The Dannon Company, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Abbott Nutrition, Nestle Health Science and Nestle Corporate Affairs. The interplay between the legal, scientific, and regulatory framework surrounding medical foods has been a particularly sharp focus for him. He received a B.S. in animal science from Penn State University, followed by MS and Ph.D. degrees in nutrition (biochemistry & physiology minors) from Cornell University.

Paula Trumbo, Ph.D.

Paula Trumbo works with clients on food and dietary supplement labeling, claims, and other nutrition related issues for compliance with FDA regulations. Prior to consulting, she led FDA’s Nutrition Science Review Team responsible for the pre-market review of the scientific evidence for food labeling, including health claims, meeting the definition of dietary fiber, and amendments to the Nutrition and Supplement Fact label. She was the US delegate to the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses. Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Trumbo served as Study Director for a number of study panels at the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board and was Associate Professor of nutrition at Purdue University. Dr. Trumbo has a PhD in biochemistry with minor in nutrition.

Farm Bill Solves “Added Sugar” Problem for Single Ingredient Products

The recently signed Farm Bill answers a number of questions, particularly for those manufacturers of single ingredient foods, jars of honey and maple syrup specifically, who objected to the requirement in FDA’s 2016 Final Rule of adding a declaration of daily value (DV) for added sugars as misleading.  Single ingredient products no longer require an added sugar declaration on the label.

FDA Technical Amendments for Nutrition and Supplement Facts Panels Released

FDA released a technical amendment correcting or further explaining minor errors and omissions in the May 27, 2016, Final Rules for Food Labeling: Revisions of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels and Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods that Can Reasonably be Consumed at One-Eating Occasion. These latest technical corrections are considered administerial in nature. Should you have any questions on these or other labeling issues please contact us for assistance.

Issue of the Month – Tamika Cathey

Tamika Cathey consults with an international client base on regulations pertaining to safety and quality of pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. She evaluates client compliance readiness by conducting audits, risk assessments and mock FDA/GMP investigations and works to design improvement programs based on findings. Tamika has a B.S. in Biology from Greensboro College in North Carolina. Prior to consulting she held positions such as Associate Director, Regulatory Affairs for Charles River Laboratories, and Consumer Safety Officer at FDA’s Atlanta District. She is a certified auditor with the Natural Products Association and holdsFDA Level II certifications for the Clinical Bioresearch Monitoring Auditor and Drug Auditor Program.

Government Shut Down Impacts FDA and Industry Operations

Dear Readers,

Edward A. Steele

Welcome to the January 2019 edition of EASeNews! We hope this year, as with each year, brings a renewed commitment to safety and innovation in the advancement of your product lines and business.

As the Government Shut Down continues, FDA recently announced that agency operations will continue to the extent permitted by law, maintaining core functions that address imminent threats to the safety of human life as well as activities funded by carryover user fee funds. FDA will continue to respond to emergencies – such as monitoring for and quickly responding to outbreaks related to foodborne illness and the flu; support high-risk food and medical product recalls when products endanger consumers and patients and pursue civil and criminal investigations as appropriate and continue screening food and medical products that are imported to the U.S.. Mission critical surveillance for significant safety concerns with medical devices and other medical products will also continue.  During this period of lapsed funding, however, FDA does not have legal authority to accept user fees assessed for FY 2019 until an FY 2019 appropriation or Continuing Resolution for the FDA is enacted. This includes regulatory submissions for FY 2019 that require a fee payment and that are submitted during the lapse period.

At EAS we are also committed to ensuring our message of compliance reaches the industry. Most recently, our initiative to create video shorts discussing industry challenges and EAS capabilities is well underway! I am pleased to announce the release of Senior Director of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, Bryan Coleman’s discussion of the importance of good preparation for FDA’s GxP audits as well as our auditing services; and Senior Director of Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler’s discussion of challenges for the dairy industry, particularly in light of the many oversight organizations, as well as EAS’ dairy capabilities. In December we also released our first Hot Topic Report, a short video with Bryan Coleman discussing CDRH increased numbers of medical device inspections and what that means for the industry. We plan to release new hot topic videos to coincide with important FDA announcements. Watch your inbox for these pertinent updates impacting to your industry.

For those who work in Dietary Supplements I am pleased to announce a new training effort aimed at employees and management who are looking to complete their annual GMP compliance refresher training. EAS will host a series of four one-day GMP Refreshers around the country and we invite you to consider outsourcing your quality department’s training to our experts! Join us at one of our upcoming events taught by our internationally recognized compliance experts and gain a greater understanding of your requirements under FDA’s 21 CFR 111.

For those looking for a deeper dive into GMPs we remind you of our two-day full GMP Compliance seminar, which will take place April 2-3, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. Earlybird rates will expire on February 2, 2019.

In addition, our Food Labeling and Dietary Supplement Labeling Compliance seminars will also take place in Philadelphia, March 12-13 and March 14-15 respectively. More information is found on our EAS website.

Our Issue of the Month article, written by Independent Consultant Tamika Cathey who works in dietary supplement GMP compliance (and who is our trainer for the August 13 Refresher training in Andover, MA), discusses specifications development – which continues to challenge the manufacturing industry. Our Ask the Expert is written by Steve Armstrong, Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, and discusses FDA’s decision to delist seven synthetic flavors and how that decision impacts those firms still using them. Finally, our FSMA perspective, written by Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen, reminds all firms, (and specifically those working in produce and sprouts as new compliance dates for these industries arrive at the end of January), that food safety is a diligent and on-going process of review, redevelopment (as needed) and execution of pertinent practices to keep consumers safe.

As always, thank for reading our updates and for your interest in EAS. Feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues and let me know if you have questions.

Sincerely,

Ed

Tamika Cathey

Tamika Cathey

Tamika Cathey

Tamika Cathey provides regulatory compliance services pertaining to safety and quality of pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. She evaluates client compliance readiness, executes mock GMP/FDA audits, performs risk assessments and gap analyses per FDA regulations and creates improvement programs based on findings. Cathey consulted with EAS from 2012-2016 and we are very pleased that she is again able to offer her expertise to our clients.

Heather Neves Duncan Fairman

Heather Neves Duncan Fairman

Heather Fairman

Ms. Fairman brings nearly 30 years of experience in QA/QC and regulatory compliance from her leadership roles in FDA regulated industries. She was formerly director of Corporate QA and regulatory compliance and the chief safety officer at Natural Organics, Inc., a New York based dietary supplement manufacturer. She has vast experience in establishing, reviewing and executing thorough SOPs, and in handling FDA audits, issues and responses.

EAS’s 2018 Year in Review and Expectations for 2019 – Evolving FSMA, Anticipation for TPMPs

By Amy Scanlin, M.S.

As we reflect on 2018, we are again honored that so many look to EAS as their regulatory solution to a complicated world of FDA requirements. FDA’s continued focus on safety as well as the industry’s embrace of regulations that often challenge their old methods of doing business can only mean continued improvements and communications in the name of public health. In 2018, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) again dominated the news as numerous compliance dates arrived. We received questions from all over the world, particularly on issues pertaining to the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). As of June 1, 2018, FDA had completed 256 inspections of foreign firms resulting in the issuance of 483s. Based on that, one of the primary concerns our callers have is understanding what constitutes an FSVP in FDA’s eyes and whether their documentation or documentation they were in the process of preparing, would qualify as compliant. Questions on what is a Qualified Individual and how EAS can assist in that regard with foreign suppliers are also a concern.

Our Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen, stayed busy preparing updates on FSMA compliance as part of our EAS-e-News monthly column “FSMA Perspective” and he, as well as all of our consultants who work in Foods, collaborated on numerous webinars and articles helping the industry to gain a greater understanding of FDA expectations. We even conducted our first webinar in Spanish presented by Gustavo Gonzalez, Ph.D., “FSVP – What Does it Mean for Your Business?” which is available on-demand free of charge on the EAS website. More recently, Charles presented a webinar on FSVP for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America.

It wasn’t just FSMA that got industry’s attention. New labeling regulations for food and dietary supplements have kept food and supplement manufacturers busy. From sugars to fibers to new requirements of what and how to include nutritional information, our Food Labeling and Dietary Supplement Labeling seminars have been very well attended. (Our spring series is scheduled for Philadelphia and hyperlinks here point to registration information should you be interested in joining us). In addition, EAS published articles on the subject and is pleased to be in the final preparation stages for a webinar on December 6th where James Hoadley, Ph.D. one of our expert labeling consultants and trainers will discuss the new dietary fiber regulations with two members of FDA’s CFSAN for the Institute for Food Technologists. These labeling issues are requiring firms to rethink how products are not only labeled but marketed and our Product Development and Labeling team is enjoying the challenge of helping firms navigate new requirements as they find solutions that meet both business and FDA expectations.

The dietary supplement industry continues to be challenged by GMPs dictated in 21 CFR 111 as evidenced by 2018 statistics indicating the top observations issued are still Specifications and Testing, Master Manufacturing Records and Batch Production Records, Quality Unit Responsibilities, and Complaints; the same as they have been since 2010 when the 21 CFR 111 regulations applied to all sizes of dietary supplement firms. Following is a graph prepared by the Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., which summarizes the posted FDA statistics through 2017 and clearly illustrates this never-ending trend. If there is one bright spot, it is that the percentage of firms getting an Official Action Indicated (OAI) or Voluntary Action Indicated (VAI) is down to 54%. It has been significantly higher in previous years.

TOP FDA Observations: 2010 - 2017

RankCitationDescriptionNumber of Times Cited
201020112012201320142015201620172010-2017
121 CFR 111.75Testing541112262871881441952161421
221 CFR 111.70Specifications321041762342041542142511369
321 CFR 111.205MMRs28539411782678794622
421 CFR 111.255BPRs1852749371717287538
521 CFR 111.103QU Operations1843476647455576397
621 CFR 111.553Product Complaints1534427036283163319
721 CFR 111.453Holding & Distribrution618294732273046235
Total Observations631132819642211154912941625184212444

In medical devices, FDA’s decision to expand the use of the De Novo submission pathway was welcomed by industry. De Novo applications are appropriate in cases where it appears that the device meets the statutory standards for classification into Class I or Class II under section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act, and when the sponsor has determined that the device does not fall within any existing classification regulation. EAS authored an article for MedTech Intelligence on the subject.

EAS expanded its services into the area of cannabis GMPs in 2018. This newly evolving industry, regulated by some states as a food, others a dietary supplement and in some cases as a pharmaceutical, is challenged in many regards with how to set up, validate and verify a quality system. Quality is one of EAS’ many strong capabilities and our team of consultants is rising to the challenge of assisting this newer industry. Tara Couch presented a webinar “Quality Systems for the Cannabis Industry” and for the first time, we incorporated cannabis applicability into our two-day dietary supplement GMP seminar for a special presentation. We were also frequent contributors to the Cannabis Industry Journal including Gabe Miller who authored an article on Food Safety in the cannabis industry and Celia Schebella who discussed designing cannabis edibles in the state of California.

As we look ahead to 2019 there are a few notable things on the horizon that EAS consultants are watching for:

On the Tobacco front, the Center for Tobacco Products’ director Mitch Zeller, announced at the annual Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA) meeting that the agency is actively working on developing its own set of GMP protocols for the tobacco industry, called Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practices (TPMPs). In an effort to help tobacco firms begin forward thinking in these terms, EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. and President and COO, Dean Cirotta presented a webinar in partnership with TMA (now available on-demand) on how to prepare for these TPMPs based on the long-standing GMPs for the dietary supplement industry.

In addition, OTC Monograph reforms have been underway for some time and it is anticipated that 2019 will bring these new requirements to light. Independent Consultant Norma Skolnik prepared an article for EAS-e-News on expectations earlier in the year and EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, will present a five-part webinar series on the subject starting January 16. She’ll discuss why these reforms are necessary, are being undertaken now, and how OTC drug companies can expect those changes to impact their labels.

In the Dairy world, FDA has fast-tracked a review of how the words “milk” and “cheese” are used in dairy substitutes. The Dairy industry is also anticipating enforcement of the new Appendix T of the PMO which will implement FSMA-like requirements aimed at preventive measures to improve safety. More information on both of these as they unfold.

On the home office front, the EAS staff was very pleased when the extensive expansion and renovation of our office space was complete, and we think it looks great! This new area enables EAS training hosted in the DC area to move in-house and offers enhanced meeting capabilities, both in-person and remote. If you are in the D.C. area, we invite you to come by! In addition, we completed a major redesign of our website, found at easconsultinggroup.com. We hope you’ll agree that this new digital space is not only improved in appearance but provides easier access to not only information about EAS services and seminars, but also regulatory information prepared by our independent consultants and distributed through a variety of professional trade journals and organizations.

We also welcomed 24 new consultants, re-welcomed three consultants who returned to EAS after a stint in the industry and brought on a new office manager, Jodi Burns. EAS is only as strong as our professional network of skilled and knowledgeable consultants, directors and support staff. We feel we have some of the best in the business!

If it seems like EAS consultants have a wide-reach of educational support, you are right. All told EAS presented 13 two-day public seminars, will have conducted 19 webinars by the end of 2018; published 40 articles, and spoke or moderated at 25 industry events such as IFT, Food Safety Consortium, Supplyside West and a variety of FDLI-hosted events. We also exhibited at important trade shows such as IFT, Supplyside West, Food Defense Conference, IAFP and others.

One trade show event, nearest and dearest to our hearts was the 2018 AdvaMed MedTech Intelligence conference in Philadelphia where Ryan Steele, granddaughter of Chairman and CEO of Ed Steele, and daughter of CFO Brett Steele, was an invited speaker on the main stage sharing her story as just one many who has been positively impacted by the innovation of science and technology, in Ryan’s case with the implantation of a vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib, which is the only FDA approved device to treat thoracic insufficiency syndrome.

It is stories such as hers that brings home why we all do what we do, designing products that fill a need and a niche and do so safely and effectively. While FDA regulations may feel cumbersome at times, it is those instances, where important decisions with critical outcomes are in front of us, that we can all appreciate FDA’s diligent focus on ensuring only compliant products are available to the US consumer. Here at EAS, we support firms working in all FDA regulated commodities to do just that and we take great pride in our ability to meet their needs.

Thank you for journeying with us in 2018 and we look forward to a peaceful and prosperous 2019. Have a very happy holiday and New Year!

Drug and Device Corner 2018 December

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website:

All centers:

  • Post-Complete Response Letter Meetings Between FDA and ANDA Applicants Under GDUFA Guidance for IndustryOn December 3, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the guidance for industry entitled “Post-Complete Response Letter Meetings Between FDA and ANDA Applicants Under GDUFA.” The final guidance provides recommendations to industry on Post-complete response letter (CRL) meetings between the FDA and abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) applicants to clarify deficiencies identified in a CRL to an ANDA submitted under section 505(j) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

CDER:

CDER & CBER:

CDRH & CBER:

CBER:

Overcoming Seafood Fraud – a Free EAS Webinar Presented by Tim Hansen

Seafood is largely accepted based on how it is labeled or listed on a menu. This is true for seafood wholesalers, distributors as well as retailers. The financial incentive for unethical practices is huge but measures can be adopted to protect product identity and integrity. Join EAS Independent Consultant and former Director of the Seafood Inspection Program at NOAA, Tim Hansen, for a discussion on various types of fraudulent activity in the seafood industry including where and why fraud can occur in the supply chain. He’ll discuss how seafood operators, buyers, and consumers can protect themselves as well as regulatory issues and possibly short, medium and long-term solutions.

Join Tim on December 18, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern for his discussion on Overcoming Seafood Fraud in a complimentary webinar hosted by EAS. Reserve your seat today!

Essential Quality Systems for Own Label Distributors Discussed in Natural Products Insider

Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., has written an article for Natural Products Insider on the intersection of OLD and Quality Systems. “The development and implementation of essential own label distributor quality systems and programs will go a long way to ensure GMP compliance in a contract manufacturer partnership,” she says.

In addition, for those who missed or would like to review the very informative webinar presented by Bruce Elsner, also on OLD responsibilities, it is now available on-demand on the EAS website along with many other complimentary webinars covering a wide range of regulatory topics.

Appendix T Storm is Hitting the Grade A Dairy Industry

Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, published an article in Dairy Foods Magazine on FDA’s PMO (Produce Milk Ordinance) new Appendix T, which mirrors FSMA in many ways in that it requires preventive controls for those hazards not already covered in the PMO. This new requirement may well be the dairy industry’s most significant new regulatory challenge for 2019. “One of the major challenges many firms face is the establishment of acceptable written food safety programs and maintenance of required records that demonstrate compliance with Appendix T. The failure of a Grade “A” dairy plant to meet any of these requirements will result in either loss of its Grade “A” designation or a request for the state to remove its Grade “A” designation.”

New Report on the Sources of Foodborne Illnesses Highlights Urgency of FSMA Compliance

By Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA

The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) report, “Foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2016 for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter using multi-year outbreak surveillance data, United States”, highlights why FSMA is so important a tool in driving the food industry to do more to prevent foodborne outbreaks. Each year in the U.S., an estimated 9 million people get sick, 56,000 are hospitalized, and 1,300 die of foodborne disease caused by known pathogens. IFSAC identified four priority pathogens, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter that together cause 1.9 million foodborne illnesses each year. In addition to their frequency, these pathogens are also well-known for the severity of the illnesses they can cause, and the fact that targeted interventions can significantly reduce their incidence.

The IFSAC statistical analysis showed 1,255 outbreaks between the years 1998 and 2016 (3,553 in raw data) in which a confirmed or suspected food or foods could be assigned to a single food category: 762 caused or suspected to be caused by Salmonella, 235 by E. coli O157, 37 by Listeria, and 221 by Campylobacter. Using outbreak data, the report estimates:

  • Salmonella: Illnesses came from a wide variety of foods, of which more than 75% of illnesses were attributed to seven food categories: Seeded Vegetables (such as tomatoes), Chicken, Pork, Fruits, Other Produce (such as nuts), Eggs, and Beef.
  • E. coli O157: Nearly 75% of illnesses were linked to Vegetable Row Crops and Beef.
  • Listeria monocytogenes: Illnesses were most often linked to Dairy products and Fruits.
  • Campylobacter: Over 80% of non-Dairy foodborne illnesses were attributed to Chicken, Other Seafood (such as shellfish), Turkey, Other Meat/Poultry (such as lamb or duck), and Vegetable Row Crops, with the majority of illnesses most often linked to Chicken.

Since FSMA’s passage in January 2011, FDA has worked hard to educate stakeholders on the many new food safety requirements covering all foods (with limited exceptions) under FDA’s purview. The message of the newly released IFSAC report strongly suggests that manufacturers and processors of implicated food categories should take special care. If not FDA coming to look, it will be FSIS to check on food safety measures and controls.

For example, the Produce Safety Rule and more recent Guidance for Industry establish science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. Specific requirements include agricultural water (pending further research), biological soil amendments, worker hygiene, building and equipment requirements. Growing sprouts is given special attention because of the inherent risk.

After the largest E. coli O157 outbreak in a decade, the Agency confirmed in early November that three samples of irrigation canal water were found to be contaminated with the H7 strain that sickened so many and killed five. Shortly before this announcement, the Agency released a Draft Guidance for Industry on minimizing food safety hazards for cut produce that discusses how to comply with new Good Manufacturing Practices as well as hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls.

You may have also want to read EAS Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler’s recent article in Dairy Foods Magazine on how FDA’s enforcement of Appendix T in the 2017 Pasteurized Milk Ordinance is focusing on FSMA-like requirements. I expect this to be a game changer for the Dairy industry.

Reports such as IFSAC’s find that the majority of severe foodborne illnesses can be mitigated through better controls, and more diligent efforts at safety. We can only be encouraged as FSMA compliance dates tick forward and we learn more of the “whats” and “hows” of preventive controls and better implementation methods. Unfortunately, we also learn much from cases where preventive controls did not work. When that happens, all of the industry should take note, assess their own procedures and make adjustments as needed so that we can collectively continue to create a safer food supply.

Meet Issue of the Month Author Amy Scanlin, M.S.

Amy Scanlin is a marketing coordinator and staff writer for EAS, providing technical support and coordination of EAS educational outreach seminars, webinars, and other communications. She has been with EAS since 2012 and prior had a career in the wellness industry, focusing on management and operations. She has a master’s degree in Health Promotion Management and has been a frequent contributor to industry publications on a variety of topics pertaining to regulations and research.

Laser Products and 510(k) Requirements

By Jerry Dennis

Each month EAS’ Ask the Expert answers questions sent in by readers on a variety of FDA regulatory topics. This month’s question on FDA’s regulation of lasers and 510(k) applications is answered by Jerry Dennis. Jerry is a former member of CDRH where he was responsible for radiation safety standards for laser products, (21 CFR 1040). He also developed regulatory policies and guided CDRH in report review criteria and regulatory policy pursuant to the Radiation Control Act and its regulation on radiation physics and biological effects. Prior to CDRH, he was a manager of high energy laser products for Hadron, Inc. If you would like to ask a question of our experts, click here.

Question: Is the FDA laser standard and product report in addition to the requirement for premarket notification (510k) or premarket approval?

Answer: Yes! And, FDA has additional regulatory requirements not only for laser products that are medical devices but also for other medical devices that generate radiation of any kind, in addition to requirements for certain other kinds of electronic products that generate radiation.

The FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has promulgated radiation safety performance standards for the following kinds of medical devices: diagnostic x-ray systems and their major components; radiographic equipment; fluoroscopic equipment; CT equipment; medical laser products; sunlamps and UV lamps for tanning; and ultrasonic therapy products. Additionally, there are such standards for television receivers, cold-cathode gas discharge tubes, microwave ovens, laser products other than medical laser products, and high-intensity mercury vapor lamps (for general illumination).

Manufacturers and/or US importers of products subject to such standards are required by regulation to certify their products’ compliance with the applicable standards, to submit product reports that describe their products and their manner of compliance with the standards and annual reports and to maintain distribution records. Additional portions of the regulations cover notifications and corrections. General requirements under these regulations require reporting of radiation defects or of accidental radiation occurrences for all products that generate radiation whether or not there is an FDA standard. The FDA electronic product radiation safety regulations are in 21 CFR 1000 through 1050. The only exception is that mandatory reporting under part 803 supersedes the reporting of accidental radiation occurrences for electronic products that are also medical devices.

If your company produces a radiation emitting product, contact EAS for assistance with product development and testing protocols, filing reports to FDA and appropriate packaging and insert labeling.

EAS Schedules Five Part Webinar Series on OTC Monograph Regulations

EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, will explore the history of OTC Monographs, why reforms are necessary and being undertaken now, and how OTC drug companies can expect those changes to impact their labels in a five-part complimentary webinar series.

Part 1 (January 16, 2019) will cover OTC Drug Monographs, Past, Present and Future and will discuss what a Monograph is, how it is used and how to interpret the different sections of the monograph.

Part 2 (February 27, 2019) will cover OTC Labeling requirements and Drug listings responsibilities.

FDLI Cannabis Conference Covers Possible Pathways to Regulation

The first annual FLDI Cannabis Conference was held in Washington D.C. on November 2nd. What made this cannabis conference unique for me was not the content or the speakers but the audience attending. I have been part of the cannabis industry for the past four years, from the start of recreational sales in Colorado in 2014, and I have attended many cannabis conferences. They are normally attended by science researchers and cannabis industry people.

However, the FDLI Cannabis Conference was attended by representatives of US federal agencies such as FDA, USDA, Department of Health and Human Services, NIDA, NIH, lobbying groups, think tanks, various large corporations both inside and outside (pharma and tobacco) of the current cannabis businesses and many attorneys. Unfortunately, there was very little industry representation.

The speakers and topics offered both scientific data from published studies and opinions of how the US federal government might regulate cannabis at some point in the future. There was a discussion of legalities currently in place and international treaties that prohibit the DEA from de-scheduling cannabis and hemp on a federal level. I think the industry would have benefited from participating in these discussions and providing their perspectives.

A very useful speaker was a researcher from University of Colorado who detailed the obstacles in her path to performing accredited, scientifically recognized research with cannabis when she only has one source of cannabis plant material, cannot use the university’s pharmacy department storage facilities or their brainpower and experience and cannot administer medication and must trust her subjects to report their use accurately. Study approval is by DEA and NIDA and often takes years to receive. It is commonly recognized that the US has fallen behind in the research and commercialization of cannabis. Israel is the global leader of cannabis research, while Canada leads in the commercialization of cannabis through federal legalization.

This is the only conference that I am aware of that has presented information about cannabis to federal agency representatives, which is a historic first. That said, the information was somewhat one-sided as it appeared those who currently own cannabis companies and work in the industry did not attend this conference. The FDLI Cannabis Conference is a wonderful opportunity to educate both the agencies that would regulate cannabis in addition to the industry on the regulatory issues and challenges. Only if the industry and regulators come together to discuss these very complex issues can progress be made. Perhaps we will see more industry participation next year.

There has been much discussion for the past year regarding the need for the US to find a federally legal way to ensure the safety of consumers and patients who use cannabis through some type of regulation while leaving the choice of participation to individual states. This past election saw the number of recreational states increase to 10 and medical states to 33. It appears that the time will be sooner rather than later, so hopefully, this conference is only the first which attempts to bring all of the parties together to engage in open dialogue to move these issues forward. As we move closer to federal GMP regulations, EAS Consulting Group will be ready to assist the cannabis industry with quality system implementation, laboratory operations, training, procedures and other compliance-related issues that they may face.

Last Chance to Register for the EAS and FDA Presentation on New Dietary Fiber Regulations for IFT

We are just days away from the webinar that EAS is co-presenting with FDA for IFT. Declaring Dietary Fiber in Nutrition Information will be presented by Independent Consultant and labeling expert, James Hoadley, Ph.D., Douglas Balentine, Ph.D., Director at FDA’s CFSAN Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, and Sarah Gebauer, Ph.D., Nutritionist at CFAN. The webinar will take place December 6, 2018, at 9:00 am EST. Registrations are accepted by the IFT. FDA and EAS will join forces to discuss the policy on labeling dietary fiber and unravel challenges facing the food industry as it considers the path forward.

Meet New Consultant Greg Weilersbacher

With 25 years of industry experience, Greg Weilersbacher has successfully managed Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Analytical Development, Materials Management, GMP Manufacturing, GMP Facilities and Utilities Validation, and Facility Design and Construction Management in CMOs, biotechs and pharmaceutical companies. He has hosted FDA Pre-Approval Inspections and has led numerous European QP inspections of GMP facilities. Mr. Weilersbacher brings practical application of root causes analysis to Deviations and CAPAs and adds significant value to the execution of Supplier Qualifications, Regulatory Audit Preparation, Internal Audits, Training Systems and the evolution of a company’s Quality Systems.

Cannabis – Federal Pathways to Regulation Explored

Dear Reader,

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to the December 2018 edition of EAS-e-News, our free newsletter dedicated to companies regulated by FDA. I am sure you will agree it has been an interesting year thus far– particularly for food companies as FSMA compliance dates continue to arrive, food and dietary supplement labeling regulations continue to evolve, and the determination of what is and is not considered “fiber” raised questions. In addition, the tobacco industry is anxiously waiting on their own version of GMPs and the OTC industry is waiting on a Monograph reform. All of these and more are covered in our annual Year in Review, including, for those who attended the AdvaMed MedTech conference, a reintroduction to my granddaughter Ryan, who spoke on center stage.

Our Ask the Expert is answered by Jerry Dennis and concerns how FDA regulates lasers and radiation emitting devices. From lightbulbs to tanning beds to CT equipment, any radiation emitting device requires certification of compliance with pertinent regulations for their products. Jerry covers some of the basics here.

A special addition to this newsletter comes from one of our cannabis regulatory experts, Charlotte Peyton, who recently attended FDLI’s first annual cannabis conference. She provides her thoughts on the industry as the FDA and DEA grapple with how federal regulations might look in the future for this controversial industry.

Charles Breen’s FSMA Perspective discusses a recently released report on the sources of foodborne illnesses which highlights the urgency of FSMA compliance. Four “priority pathogens”, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter together cause 1.9 million foodborne illnesses each year.

Speaking of Charles, he presented a webinar for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association (NCBFAA) recently on FSVP and how to protect your business where he showed an example of a worksheet on Supplier Evaluations. Requests for this worksheet have been much in demand. If you are interested in downloading, you may find it on the EAS website.

Registration for our spring seminars is underway. If you need Food Labeling and Dietary Supplement Labeling training, Gisela Leon and James Hoadley, Ph.D. will be instructing March 12-13 (food) and March 14-15, (dietary supplement) in Philadelphia. In addition, our Dietary Supplement GMP seminar will be April 2-3, 2019, also in Philadelphia and is instructed by attorney, Marc Ullman, Of Counsel with Rivkin Radler, Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D.; and Independent Advisor for Quality and Compliance, Robert Fish. We’d love to see you there!

Lastly, I’d like to welcome back consultant Greg Weilersbacher. Greg consulted with EAS some years back assisting our pharmaceutical clients with GMPs. We are pleased to that he has chosen to return!

Thank you for your interest in EAS. If we can be of assistance in your company’s regulatory endeavors, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Ed

Drug and Device Corner 2018 October

The FDA has announced their FY 2019 Animal Drug User Fee Rates for ADUFA and AGDUFA, please follow link for full information.

Please see the FDA webpage for updates on valsartan recalls.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website:

All centers:

CDER:

CDER & CBER:

CDRH:

CBER:

Remember to keep up with CDER Product – Specific Guidances for Generic Drug Development. October had 2 new guidances and 23 revisions.

Meet Issue of the Month Author

Bryan Armentrout is an expert in dairy, quality, system development, Safe Quality Foods, (SQF), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), design control, auditing, troubleshooting, recall, and crisis management, and process improvement. Prior to consulting he was the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety with Boulder Brands and the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at CSC Sugar, LLC. He has a history of benchmarked success leading companies to more efficient and compliant processes.

EAS Leads Efforts of Regulatory Compliance Training

Dear Readers,

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to the November edition of EAS-e-News, the free newsletter for industries regulated by FDA.

I am pleased to say that our three October webinars, on Responsibilities of Own-Label Distributors, Preparing for Tobacco TPMPs and Problems with Data Integrity are now available on-demand on the EAS website. These webinars, as well as all of our regulatory webinars, are a great opportunity to dig into a particular topic and do so in under an hour. Feel free to peruse our current offerings and join us for one of our newly scheduled webinars:

  • Declaring Dietary Fiber in Nutrition Information (presented along with FDA for IFT)
  • Foreign Supplier Verification and How to Protect Your Business (presented for NCBFAA)

Learn more in the EAS-in-Action section of this issue.

We have just announced our Spring compliance seminars which will take place in Philadelphia, PA. Food Labeling will take place March 12-13; Dietary Supplement Labeling will take place March 14-15 and Dietary Supplement GMP will take place April 2-3. With FDA’s new requirements for food and dietary supplement labels including fiber, there have been many questions on how to comply. Additionally, FDA’s continued enforcement of GMPs requires hyper-vigilance by industry. We hope you’ll join us!

We welcome two new consultants and a new regulatory intern from Georgetown University. Welcome to consultants Charlotte Peyton who is an expert on cannabis GMPs and Steven Kurtz, an expert in dairy. In addition, our new regulatory intern Neha Mookuparambil is completing an M.S. in Biotechnology.

EAS just completed a major office expansion and redesign which includes photographs of our hometown, historic “Old Town” Alexandria, VA, taken by award-winning photographer, Carol Jean Stalun. I invite you to learn more about Ms. Stalun in this issue as well as stop by our newly redesigned offices whenever you are in the D.C. area.

As FDA is increasing its numbers of FSMA and FSVP inspections as well as issuing warning letters and 483s, we focus our attention on the subject of FSMA in our Issue of the Month, written by Bryan Armentrout who discusses common pitfalls when choosing new testing methods; Ask the Expert on how to respond to food recalls under FSMA; as well as our FSMA Perspective, where Charles Breen shares more information on FDA’s decision to release retailer information in some circumstances during a food recall. The industry is certainly a-buzz now that the effective date of the new FSMA rules has passed, (minus some very small businesses), and firms are assessing which rules apply to them and how to comply. If EAS can help with your FSMA readiness please feel free to reach out me.

I am very pleased to announce that EAS President and COO Dean Cirotta was an invited speaker to the United Nations, speaking to the SIDS DOCK IWON on EAS regulatory capabilities. Dean was accompanied to the UN by Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., Senior Director of Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services and Heather Fairman, EAS Independent Consultant and SIDS DOCK IWON Advisor and Technical Coordinator and Lisa Cirotta, who assists in EAS accounting department. If you have not already read our press release, it is included in this issue for your information.

Thank you as always for choosing to subscribe to EAS-e-News. We invite any comments that you may have and feel free to share this issue with colleagues.

Sincerely,

Ed

EAS to Exhibit, Present at SupplySide West in Las Vegas

EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., Independent Consultant Heather Fairman and President and COO, Dean Cirotta will represent EAS at the upcoming Supplyside West show November 6-10, 2018 in Las Vegas. You may find EAS at booth #5641. EAS is also well represented in the SupplySide West technical sessions as Tara will discuss Effectively Partnering with a Contract Laboratory as part of a panel on Wednesday, November 7 from 1:30–4:30 pm; and Tara and Heather together will present on Contract Manufacturing scheduled for Saturday, November 10 from 8:30 am–11:30 am. In addition, President and COO, Dean Cirotta will moderate a panel as part of the 7thannual AHPA Botanical Congress in Cooperation with ABC on how 21 CFR 111 applies to the Dietary Supplement industry.

EAS to Present Two Sessions at Food Safety Consortium

EAS will be presenting two sessions at the upcoming Food Safety Tech’s Food Safety Consortium taking place November 13-15, 2018 in Schaumburg, IL. Independent Consultant Andrea Yablunoksy will present on Recall Readiness: Understanding Requirements, Similarities & Differences in a USDA and FDA Program and Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. will discuss Lessons Learned in Food Safety and Applied to Cannabis-infused Edibles as part of the Cannabis Quality track. Both presentations take place on November 15th.

How to Prioritize Planning for Food Safety Emergencies

By Charles Breen

Charles Breen

This month’s Ask the Expert is on how to prioritize planning for food safety emergencies, particularly in light of the challenges of not only the emergency itself but recovering from it with your company’s reputation intact. It is answered by Charles Breen, EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA and Stacey Stevens, a Senior Vice President at FoodMinds, a division of Padilla. FoodMinds is EAS’ newest cooperative partner, and together our services help our clients working in the food industry to tackle regulatory and public relations challenges.

Question: As part of FSMA I am working to develop our company’s food safety contingency plans. How do I prioritize and plan for the first steps we need to take – investigations, recall communications and managing our public relations?

Answer: Great question and one worthy for all companies to consider, especially, as you point out on the regulatory side, FSMA mandates include both a hazard analysis risk assessment and if hazards in need of control exist, a recall plan. In addition, every company strives to mitigate harm to its reputation in the face of public scrutiny. So, how does one go about developing a comprehensive plan and assigning tasks on both sides of the coin? First, on the safety front:

In the interest of public safety, whenever a food safety issue has been reported, whether by FDA, another food safety authority or the public, unless you can unequivocally rule out your product as the culprit, initiate a recall. While the FDA and other food safety authorities could be wrong, they very rarely are. This will help to limit further harm, particularly in the case of Class 1 recalls which have a high likelihood of injury or death. Make sure management, as well as legal representatives, are informed of the decision to recall.

Next, per regulation, file a Reportable Food Registry report on FDA’s website. This must be completed within 24 hours of learning of the problem. It’s OK to have incomplete information to start, you must update the file as more information becomes available.

Keep good records and implement your Trace Back and Trace Forward action plan – match ingredients and sources with bills of lading so that you can attempt to identify the source of the problem. Establish the last documented evidence before the problem arose, the time the problem became known, and documentation that it was controlled. You’ll also need to identify recipients of the product and alert them directly. If those recipients cannot be accurately identified, the recall will grow exponentially larger, more expensive, and harder to manage.

Next, on the communications front, remember to take control of the messaging and communicate early and often. The public will want to know what you are doing to protect them now and how you will do things differently in the future. Be empathetic, forthcoming, and express an understanding of the seriousness of the situation. Don’t forget social and on-line media, websites and microsites – post brief updates in real time to keep everyone informed from line employees to key stakeholders and consumers.

In many cases, companies involved in a food safety emergency will enlist the assistance of qualified and experienced third-party consultants to help them through the crucial regulatory and safety steps as well as strategic public relations messaging.

Meet New EAS Intern, Neha Mookuparambil

EAS is very pleased to welcome our new intern from Georgetown University, Neha Mookuparambil, who is completing an M.S. in Biotechnology.  Her career interests include the fields of Drug Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Research, and Biopharmaceutical Business Development. Prior to Georgetown, she completed a PharmD degree at the Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune, India.  She has worked as a healthcare blogger and intern clinical pharmacist at the Bharati Hospital and Research Centre. 

Overcoming Seafood Fraud – a Free EAS Webinar Presented by Tim Hansen

Seafood is largely accepted based on how it is labeled or listed on a menu. This is true for seafood wholesalers, distributors as well as retailers. The financial incentive for unethical practices is huge but measures can be adopted by processors, wholesalers, and retailers to protect product identity and integrity. Join EAS Independent Consultant, and former head of NOAA Fisheries, Tim Hansen, for a discussion on various types of fraudulent activity in the seafood industry including where and why fraud can occur in the supply chain. He’ll discuss how seafood operators, buyers, and consumers can protect themselves as well as regulatory issues and possibly short, medium and long-term solutions.

Join Tim on December 5, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern for his discussion. Reserve your seat today!

EAS to Offer Five Part Webinar Series Looking at OTC Monograph Regulations

Join EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, as she explores the history of OTC Monographs, why reforms are necessary and being undertaken now, and how OTC drug companies can expect those changes to impact their labels in the future in a five-part series starting January 16, 2019.

Part 1 of the series, OTC Drug Monographs, Past, Present, and Future will discuss what a Monograph is and how it is used. She’ll dive into reading and interpreting the different sections of the monograph and discuss what the future might hold as Congress considers changes to the system. Join Susan on January 16, 2019, at 1:00 pm Eastern for part 1.

Later sessions will include topics such as what makes a drug an OTC and the Monographs Compliance System; OTC Labeling requirements and Drug listings responsibilities; Understanding the FDA and FTC Labeling and Claim Requirements for Cosmetic products, Homeopathic products in the OTC market; as well as OTC Drugs and Your GMP Obligations – Understanding how the GMPs are Applied and Preparation for FDA Inspection.

FDA Proposes Releasing Retailer Names in Most Serious Recalls

Charles BreenBy Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA

In an effort at greater transparency as well as consumer safety, FDA issued Draft Guidance this month proposing how and when FDA would publicize the identities of retail consignees that may have received recalled human or animal foods. This release of retailer information would only occur in cases where a food recall presents a serious adverse health consequence or death to humans or animals (SAHCODA), i.e., Class I recalls. The intention is to provide information to consumers to take a closer look at their purchases should they recognize that they shop at a particular location.

There is typically no single source that FDA can access to readily obtain a list of retail consignees of a recalled food product, therefore the decision to list retail consignees requires information obtained from multiple entities throughout a supply chain, including the recalling firm and its intermediate distributors – no small task. In addition, FDA may not be able to fully verify the accuracy or completeness of the information it receives from recalling firms or distributors so its available information may be over and under-inclusive In other words, FDA may not identify every retailer who received recalled product, and might inadvertently identify retailers who, in fact, did not receive the recalled item.

Currently, FDA routinely provides labeling information, product descriptions, lot numbers, and photographs, and if available to FDA – geographic or retail-related distribution information. It also lists all FDA-regulated recalls in the FDA Enforcement Report.

As noted in the Draft Guidance, the release of retailer information is authorized under Section 206 of the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, ‘which directs the Agency, in conducting recalls under the section to “consult the policies of the Department of Agriculture regarding providing to the public a list of retail consignees receiving products involved in a Class I recall and shall consider providing such a list to the public,” when FDA considers the release to be appropriate (21 U.S.C. § 350l(g)(2)). The Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy is to make publicly available the names and locations of retail consignees of recalled meat or poultry products that USDA compiles in connection with a recall where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product could cause serious adverse health consequences or death (Class I recalls). 9 CFR 390.10.’

FDA will consider two specific criteria that may warrant the release of retail consignee information, including when a recalled food is related to a foodborne illness outbreak, and where the information would be most useful to consumers. Examples of such foods are fruits, nuts, vegetables, and rawhide chews sold in bulk bins with no UPC or barcode, raw meat or deli products, or when the food product lacks a lot number, or other identifiers, which consumers can use to readily identify the product as one being recalled.

While there is some understandable concern regarding the publication of consignees and suppliers due to possible disclosure of confidential information, the Agency assures all that it will consider carefully the release of any additional retailer information, weighing risks to consumer health and safety. While FSMA has many facets that aim to proactively improve our food safety, no system is completely fool-proof. In cases where FDA and food manufacturer efforts at preventive controls fail, the additional release, as necessary of retailer information included in a recall will help to ensure the public has a greater awareness of contamination and can avoid the consumption of such products.

Meet New EAS Consultants

Charlotte Peyton has 30 years of industry experience in analytical chemistry working under FDA, EPA and Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division regulations. She has been a bench chemist, method development chemist and overseen quality management. She has extensive laboratory experience as well as experience with stability programs, cleaning validations, process validations, and SOPs.

Steven Kurtz supports EAS dairy clients with the interpretation of regulations and development of policies to maintain compliance with FDA, USDA and state requirements. He has an in-depth understanding of dairy equipment and processes including NCIMS, 3-A Sanitary Standards.

EAS Consultants Present FSVP Webinar for NCBFAA

EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen and EAS Independent Consultant, Bryan Armentrout are presenting a webinar focusing on FSVP requirements for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, NCBFAA.  Titled “Foreign Supplier Verification and How to Protect Your Business”the webinar is open to members and non-members of NCBFAA and will take place November 8, 2018, from 12-1 pm Eastern.

FDA’s recently increased inspections of importers to evaluate their compliance with FSVP requirements is a reflection of FDA’s commitment to making FSVP work. FDA inspections are also revealing that a significant number of importers do not understand what is needed to comply nor how. Customs brokers and freight forwarders, if not importers themselves, can help clients know what FDA is looking for, and who can assist them. Learn actionable steps and protect not just your food, but your business as well.  The cost of registration is $50.00 for members of NCBFAA and for non-members, $75.00.  For more information or to register, visit the NCBFAA registration page.

Four Common Mistakes When Selecting a Rapid Method for Environmental Testing

By Bryan Armentrout

We are now firmly in the era of the Food Safety Modernization Act. It’s no longer theoretical, it’s real world, and FDA is auditing and asking questions about what they are seeing.

I think we can all agree on one thing. The way we looked at environmental pathogen testing in the past is out the window. Gone are the days of testing the same 10 sites every few months for generic Listeria and calling it good. Sometimes, you would get a hit and do an investigation, but that was the extent of the excitement.

You now need a robust program that looks at multiple pathogens and takes them all the way out to speciation. Some companies are even going further and developing a “microbiological map” of their processing areas. The technology is overwhelming, but one factor is still critical, and that’s time.

No one has the time to put all their product on hold while waiting for five days to a week for results. Of course, that assumes that nothing comes back as a presumptive positive. If it does, you can wait a few days longer while logistics breathes down your neck, and customers have empty shelves. What to do?

You need a new program to test for your environmental pathogens. But, how do you choose? Instead of evaluating the ever-changing landscape of tests available, it might be more useful to list four rules you need to follow for your decision-making process. This is an expensive decision, so make the right one as you are going to be living with it for a long time.

You need a fast turnaround, and in most cases, that means you are now considering something that wasn’t even possible in the past -testing samples and releasing in-house. The first step is to get out there and see the amazing new micro testing world that is at your fingertips.

  1. Don’t get sold by a fancy presentationYou begin your journey by attending a trade show and marveling at the technology available. You strike up a conversation with a salesperson and after ten minutes, you are convinced that this new whiz-bang machine is the wave of the future. If you place your order today, you can get a huge discount and get one of the few machines that are even available. You can also add in a low monthly payment program. It does everything you want, and more in an hour and costs pennies to operate. It’s amazing, and you are in love.Not so fast, partner. It’s just like when you buy a car. The salesman at the dealership does everything to move you toward a purchase. How? By using your emotions. People buy on emotion and use logic to rationalize their decision after the fact.The thing the salesman wants you to forget is that this is a commodity and another similar model is available just down the street. Remember, any attempt to pressure you into a purchase should be met with a knowing smile. The deal they quote is not a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it will be there once you have time to make a decision in the calm light of rational thought. Be cool, try to find a technical representative of the company to talk with in addition to the sales or marketing staff. Remember it’s a piece of equipment, and one that is equally as good or even better is just around the corner. Add this piece of equipment to your list of possible testing methods and move on down the trade show to the next one.
  2. Not using a validated methodologyThis goes with the first point. You need a method and technology that are approved for your application. It needs to be benchmarked back to reference methodologies. Has it been used on your product matrix? Peanut butter will likely react very differently to the test than yogurt. Everything on your list needs to clear these hurdles before you even consider it. Don’t accept “the approval will happen in two weeks” line or something similar. You are in control of the validation and benchmarking process and must have a test and equipment that hold up to regulatory scrutiny.Ask the following questions as you look at the candidates:
    1. Has it been validated for my product matrix by one of the following?
      • A recognized independent organization such as AOAC, AFNOR, MicroVal or
      • A US regulatory body (FSIS MLG, FDA BAM or an ISO Method?
    2. Is the method?
      • Fit for the purpose and application
      • Performed under validated conditions by a lab that assures the quality of analytical results
    These questions come from the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. They have compiled a list of validated methods that you can use as a starting point. It’s forty-six pages long! Cross off any candidates that didn’t make your list, realizing that FDA utilizes the BAM as their reference for acceptable analytical methods.
  3. Not testing in-house before you buyNever, ever buy a new testing method without trying it out first – for a long period of time. Any reputable company will have a loaner machine you can use. If they balk, cross them off the list and move on.Decide if you can test as a group or one at a time. This is a question of resources and how many people can do what. Don’t use the results for actual product release. Keep that the same as you are doing now.Another good idea is to test at the point of use in the plants. Don’t test at the corporate lab. You lose too many variables that need to be accounted for at the plant.Test it with every permutation you can think of. Analyze enough samples so you can make sure the results are repeatable. Find out the limits of detection for your product. What are the false positive and false negative rates? What is the turnaround time for results? See if your technicians can screw up the test. Make your test as foolproof as you can.Also ask yourself: Can you get test supplies in a reasonable period of time? What is the minimum order quantity? What is the breakpoint for discounts? Are your supplies expiring before you can use them? Are there other uses for this equipment?This list is not inclusive by any stretch; its a starting point. Create the list and stick to it. Don’t change it as you go along as it will bias the results toward the newest test. Be consistent.Remember, you may need to defend the test results in court one day. This is the litmus test for acceptance that you must always keep in mind in the age of FSMA. Send back any that don’t make the cut and cross them off the list.
  4. Not researching the companyGreat! Your list is down to the top two testing methods. They are both reliable and repeatable, have fast turnaround time, dependability and a decent cost per test. How do you decide now?The test is only as good as the company supporting it. If they are new to the scene, will they be here in five years? Will they come up with a new test and abandon the old one, leaving you with an expensive paperweight? Do they have references you can talk to? Can you talk to references who have had challenges with the test?Are they willing to work with you on price? Can you get other perks such as free service calls? How will they support you and the warranty? Just like the test, you need a huge list of questions to hit them with.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! This was a big decision, but you made the right one for you. The method and the test you selected are the cornerstones of your new environmental testing program. You are finding out where pathogens hide in your plant and eradicating them. You have a clear record of identification and correction that any auditor will be happy to review. You sleep easy at night knowing that you made the right decision, and you have the ability to defend it if you need to.

Be proud of your work and welcome to the new age of FSMA!

Reference: FSIS List of Foodborne Pathogen Test Kits Validated by independent Organizations

Crozier-Dodson Article on Pathogen Control in Poultry Processing Published in Meating Place

Beth Crozier-Dodson published an article in Meating Place discussing top tips for proactive pathogen control in poultry processing. “One of the most significant aspects of any poultry food safety plan is the implementation of pathogen control measures at each critical control point identified in the processing plant. Those who do this in a proactive manner will be able to reduce the risk of microbial contamination that could prompt a costly recall.”

EAS and FDA Present Webinar on New Dietary Fiber Regulations for IFT

EAS Independent Consultant and labeling expert, James Hoadley, Ph.D. will present a webinar focusing on Declaring Dietary Fiber in Nutrition Information along with Douglas Balentine, Ph.D., Director, Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, and Sarah Gebauer, Ph.D., Nutritionist at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA. The webinar will take place on December 6, 2018, at 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM CT and will be hosted by the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT).

FDA’s release of two Guidance documents in 2018 on labeling of dietary fiber, as well as the prior publication of a scientific review of non-digestible carbohydrates being evaluated for the physiological benefit, have created a need for clarification of these guidance documents to solve industry confusion. Most of the fiber ingredients currently used by industry and declared on labels as fiber have been acknowledged as fiber either by regulation or by enforcement discretion, but what next?  FDA, EAS, and IFT will join forces to discuss the policy on labeling dietary fiber and unravel challenges facing the food industry as it considers the path forward. The webinar is free for IFT members, non-members may register for $20. Join us!

Photos of Old Town Alexandria Put Final Touch on EAS Office Expansion

EAS Headquarters has just undergone a renovation to add additional space to its headquarter offices in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. Included in the buildout is more office space to accommodate expanding staff and the inclusions of a larger conference and training room equipped with state of art audio visual equipment. EAS now has the facility to hold in-house training course and to conduct video training programs and conferences with clients throughout the world. The office is conveniently located across from the King Street Metro Station within minutes of Reagan Airport and downtown Washington.

The corridors are lined with photographs taken of historic Old Town Alexandria by a local award-winning photographer, Carol Jean Stalun. Ms. Stalun was recently invited to the office to view her work and to thank her for her contribution to the appearance of our new headquarters. Her photographs can be viewed at https://www.caroljeanstalun.com/.

We welcome all of you to visit us whenever you are in the area. We would be happy to show off our updated space and to meet you in person.

 

Being a Third-Eye in a Plant with a Problem – Discussions on Listeria and Salmonella Protection in Food Safety Magazine

Carl Custer wrote about the challenges of Listeria, Salmonella, extraneous materials and worse in an article published in Food Safety Magazine. Carl also shared some of his experiences at problem-solving both while at FSIS and working with clients as a consultant, observing plant practices as “third-eye” in order to solve food safety problems.

Food and Dietary Supplement Labeling and Dietary Supplement GMP Compliance Seminars Coming to Philly

We have just scheduled our spring compliance seminars for Philadelphia, PA. Join us March 12-13 for the Food Labeling Compliance Seminar; March 14-15 for the Dietary Supplement Labeling Compliance Seminar and April 2-3 for the Dietary Supplement GMP Compliance Seminar. These are great opportunities to learn the new details of FDA labeling requirements as well as how to comply with GMP provisions for dietary supplements. Early-bird discounts apply as do multiple employees from the same company. Visit our registration pages to learn more.

Medical Device Regulatory Landscape Discussed in Post AdvaMed MedTech Wrap Up

Senior Director for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, Bryan J. Coleman discussed innovations and the regulatory landscape in an AdvaMed MedTech blog. Bryan shared his thoughts as FDA continues to harmonize and leverage existing regulatory approaches in increasingly more creative ways that allow the industry to grow and flex along with innovation. Still based in sound science and documented evidence, FDA expects sponsor and contract manufacturers to tighten controls over raw materials and component quality equal to internal design and production. Now more than ever companies must plan and prepare for meeting quality requirements and ensure quality measures are weaving design, supporting technologies, supply chain and feedback mechanisms into one cohesive program.

FDA Announces Export Certifications and Fees for Certain Food Products

By Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA

On August 31, 2018, FDA announced a new voluntary export certification option for certain foods as authorized under FSMA, similar to that available for qualified pharmaceuticals and medical devices. This new export certification program and its associated fees will allow the agency to collect up to $175 for export certifications for food for human consumption, with the exception of dietary supplements, medical foods, and foods for special dietary use. The issuance and collection of these fees begin October 1, 2018, and are in effect for two new types of food certificates, the “Certificate to a Foreign Government” and “Certificate of Exportability.”

Prior to this announcement, CFSAN issued only a “Certificate of Export” for seafood, food additives, and food contact substances and a “Certificate of Free Sale” for foods other than seafood, dietary supplements, infant formula, medical foods, and foods for special dietary use.

Per the FDA’s Constituent Update, the “Certificate to a Foreign Government” will be available for products that meet the applicable requirements of the FD&C Act and will certify that a product (or products) may be marketed in and legally exported from the United States. The “Certificate of Exportability” will be available for export only products and will certify that a product or products meet(s) the requirements of section 801(e)(1) of the FD&C Act and may be legally exported. FDA anticipates that the new certificates will help facilitate exports by assisting industry in fulfilling importing country requirements for certification by FDA of FDA-regulated food products.

Requests for written export certification for FDA regulated products are common from foreign customers or foreign governments. In the case of food products, FDA provides, though does not require, written certification for exports in the form of certificates and lists of eligible exporters for specific products or destinations. Those U.S. companies which export foods are required to follow U.S. laws and regulations as well as those specific to the countries the products are being exported to. It is important to note that laws vary across countries and FDA does not provide any guidance for laws outside of the U.S. that companies must follow.

Most CFSAN export certificates may be obtained by completing an online application through the FDA Unified Registration and Listing Systems (FURLS) Certificate Application Process (CAP). These take several weeks to process with no expedited review option. Some foreign governments require the additional step of verifying the export certificate via apostille or authentication from the U.S. Department of State or, in cases where the certificate was issued after April 2016, a unique Certificate ID, printed in the top left corner of every certificate, may be used to independently verify whether the export certificate was issued by FDA.

EAS offers U.S. import assistance as well as assistance for companies exporting product to foreign countries via the application of a certificate of export as well as obtaining apostille from the U.S. Department of State. Contact us for more information.

Fairman Discusses Tips to Ensure Compliance with Audits in Natural Products Insider

EAS Independent Consultant Heather Fairman discussed Own Label Distributor audits of contract manufacturers as well as steps for ensuring their compliance in the Natural Products Insider. “Own label distributors performing contract supplier and/or contract manufacturer audits often have critical blind spots that may result in products not meeting specifications or their quality and safety expectations,” she says.

Couch Shares Dietary Supplement OLD Responsibilities in AgroFOOD Industry HI Tech

Senior Director Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. shared Own Label Distributor (OLD) responsibilities in a recent article published in Technoscienze – AgroFOOD Industry HI Tech. Regardless of whether an OLD is domestic or international, the FDA is clear that the OLD is responsible for compliance with the regulatory requirements in 21 CFR 111, she says. “The development of critical OLD processes should include procedures such as qualification of OLD contractors; demonstration that the quality unit is fulfilling obligations of finished product specifications; a complaint system for evaluating all reported consumer concerns for the identification and reporting of Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) to FDA; and change control processes to ensure revisions are tracked and monitored.”

Skolnik Discusses AERs in Natural Products Insider

Norma Skolnik discussed Adverse Events Reporting (AER) requirements for the dietary supplement industry in Natural Products Insider. The requirements as well as the Guidance for Industry: Questions & Answers Regarding Adverse Event Reporting and Recordkeeping for Dietary Supplements as required by the Dietary Supplement & Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act,” published in 2007 cover SAE reporting for manufacturers and OLDs as well as FDA notification to companies when FDA receives an SAE involving one of their products.

EAS to Exhibit, Present at SupplySide West in Las Vegas

EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., Independent Consultant Heather Fairman, and President and COO Dean Cirotta will represent EAS at the upcoming SupplySide West show November 6-10, 2018 in Las Vegas. You may find EAS at booth #5641. EAS is also well represented in the SupplySide West technical sessions as Tara will discuss Effectively Partnering with a Contract Laboratory as part of a panel on Wednesday, November 7 from 1:30-4:30 pm; and Tara and Heather will present on Contract Manufacturing scheduled for Saturday, November 10 from 8:30am-11:30 am. In addition, President and COO, Dean Cirotta will moderate a panel as part of the 7thannual AHPA Botanical Congress in Cooperation with ABC on how 21 CFR 111 applies to the Dietary Supplement industry.

Cirotta to Moderate Panel at FDLI Conference Focusing on Tobacco and Nicotine Products

Dean Cirotta will moderate a panel at the upcoming FDLI Tobacco and Nicotine Products Regulation and Policy Conference concerning “The Latest on Product Standards and Other Potential Regulatory Action”. The conference, which takes place October 25-26, 2018 in Washington, D.C., will address issues of effectively regulating the broad spectrum of tobacco and nicotine products both in the U.S. and globally.

Planning for Emergencies – Document, React and Manage all Aspects When the Worst Happens

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the October 2018 edition of the EAS-e-News, a free news publication for industries regulated by FDA. I’d like to invite you to view our latest video discussing EAS services in the infant formula industry. These short videos are a few minutes in length and designed to give you a better understanding of EAS capabilities and expertise of our many talented consultants. You may find all of our capability videos at the bottom of the page under the food tab of the EAS website.

We have a number of new webinars planned for the month of October and early November that we invite you to sign up for. From Preparing for Tobacco TPMPs, to Own Label Distributor Responsibilities and Pharma Data Integrity our complimentary webinars offer the latest regulatory information in a concise one-hour format with time for Q&A.

Independent Consultant, Priya Jambhekar will be speaking at FDLI’s Introduction to Biologics and Biosimilars Law and Regulation on the Regulation of Biological Marketing. This event is being held October 3-4, 2018 in Washington, D.C.. Dean Cirotta will be moderating a panel at the upcoming FDLI Tobacco and Nicotine Products Regulation and Policy Conference which is also being held in Washington, D.C. on October 25-26, 2018. Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, will be presenting a session as part of the CHPA Academy’s OTC 101 course on OTC drug labeling regulations. This course is being offered in Wilmington, DE October 9-10, 2018.

Our Issue of the Month article is written by Independent Consultant Norma Skolnik and is on the legislation to reform the OTC Drug Monograph System called the OTC Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act. EAS has a strong team of consultants who have in-depth knowledge of the OTC monograph process as well as the Rx to OTC switch. Our FSMA Perspective written by EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen is on FDA’s new fee-based program Export Certifications for certain food products.

We hope you enjoy this issue of EAS-e-News and we hope that you’ll join us at one of our many webinars and presentations in the coming weeks. It is always a pleasure to meet those who also have a vested interest in ensuring the safety and compliance of FDA Regulated products. We welcome your questions and comments and please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Edward A. Steele

EAS Webinar Series Continues with Topics Ranging from Tobacco TPMPs, Own Label Distributors and Pharmaceutical Data Integrity

EAS is offering a number of complementary regulatory webinars this fall. Please join us for these live sessions or view one of our On-Demand webinars found under the Resources tab of our website.

Preparing for Tobacco TPMPs – October 9, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern

Join EAS President and COO, Dean Cirotta and Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. for a discussion of expectations for FDA’s in-development Tobacco TPMP Rule and how you can assess your current quality systems in preparation. This webinar is hosted in Cooperation with the Tobacco Merchants Association.

Own Label Distributor Responsibilities – October 11, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern

As more and more OTC drug and dietary supplement companies are contracting out manufacturing, packaging, laboratory testing, and distribution services, it is imperative that those in responsible positions for OLDs gain a full understanding of FDA’s requirements for knowing what and how these contracted activities are performed. Learn more about your “OLD” responsibilities and how to document that you are meeting them with EAS Independent Consultant, Bruce Elsner.

Problems with Pharma Data Integrity – October 18, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern

FDA takes data Integrity very seriously and their many Warning Letters and Import Alerts to dosage form and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturers in the past several years indicate that validation is a consistent problem. Join EAS Independent Consultant Brian Nadel to better understand the Agency’s expectations for data integrity as well as how your company can assess your compliance. Learn critical strategies and processes that each firm should undertake to limit data integrity risk and demonstrate reliable data every time.

Breen Co-Authors Article in Food Quality and Safety Magazine on Responding to Food Safety Emergencies

Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen has co-authored an article with Stacey Stevens, Senior Vice President of FoodMinds, a food PR firm with which EAS has a collaborative partnership on responding to a food safety emergency. The article, published in Food Quality and Safety magazine discusses the many issues of responding to an emergency and how to focus messaging on that response.

Legislation to Reform the OTC Drug Monograph System: The OTC Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act

By Norma Skolnik, Independent Consultant

With the aim of overhauling the regulation of over-the-counter (OTC) monograph drugs, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Bob Casey recently sponsored bipartisan legislation, the Over-the-Counter Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2018, S.2315. The bill, which has already passed in the House of Representatives, was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee on April 24, 2018, and was received by the Senate at large on July 17, 2018. A previous bill, the Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2017, authored by Representative Bob Latta (R-OR) and others, was introduced over a year ago.

As most people know, the current monograph system, which was implemented in 1972, has received much criticism and there have been several prior efforts to revise what’s been called an outdated “broken system”. The current monograph system’s drawbacks include the slow rulemaking process (many OTC drugs are marketed under incomplete monographs), the inability to swiftly and promptly address safety issues, and barriers to innovation (eligibility is largely limited to active ingredients that were marketed before 1972). In addition, FDA has acknowledged that it currently lacks the resources to effectively regulate all OTC monograph products.

The proposed bill is intended to speed up the current slow and time-consuming regulatory procedures by introducing the administrative order process to replace the current rulemaking procedures. It provides options for manufacturers to request administrative orders and for FDA to initiate administrative orders on its own initiative as well as in response to a citizens’ petition.

The S2315 bill would also establish a process for the introduction of new OTC products that are marketed without an approved New Drug Application. This legislation would authorize the agency to grant 2 years of product differentiation and exclusive market protection for certain qualifying OTC drugs, thus delaying the entry of other versions of the same qualifying OTC product.

The bill also includes provisions that would provide FDA with the authority to take rapid action in the event of safety issues with OTC drugs and requires that FDA re-evaluate the OTC cold and cough monograph with respect to children under the age of six and report annually to Congress on the progress of this evaluation. This was prompted by a 2007 internal review that linked the deaths of 54 children younger than 6 years to the use of OTC decongestants and cough medications.

Additionally, the new legislation will help manufacturers who wish to develop innovative products, for example, by adding new ingredients or creating new dosage forms of existing OTC drugs. It should provide a more streamlined regulatory pathway for review of innovations within the OTC Monograph system, accommodating marketplace innovations, such as new uses for ingredients, dosage forms, and other advancements. It should also provide a mechanism to encourage investment in data needed for significant innovations.

Reforming the OTC monograph system should benefit consumers and give FDA the resources that it needs to provide effective oversight of these widely used drug products.

The proposed legislation updates the monograph process by specifically adding a new section to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFD & C) to implement the following:

  • Move away from the cumbersome current monograph finalization process to an “administrative order” procedure. The system for future changes to Monographs would be through the administrative order procedure with an opportunity for development meetings or other consultations, comment on proposed orders, and dispute resolution protections
  • Include by reference existing OTC Review Final Monographs and deem final all existing Tentative Final Monographs by statute
  • Create new pathways to innovation for monograph products, where none currently exits
  • Ensure that the new drug approval pathway and other nonprescription drugs otherwise lawfully marketed are not affected
  • Create a mechanism for faster OTC drug safety label changes;

Importantly, the bill provides FDA with the authority to collect user fees to help cover much of the costs of updating the regulatory system and provide the necessary resources to evaluate and monitor the OTC drug market. It’s hoped that the user fees will provide FDA with the funding and staff required to better oversee OTC drug compliance and build a critical IT/electronic infrastructure. This bill differs from previous versions because of its’ exclusivity provision.

The OTC Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act is now awaiting Senate action. There is a great deal of bipartisan support for this bill, including from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, who have urged passage because of the need to overhaul and modify pediatric dosing for OTC drugs, particularly OTC cough and cold drugs. It’s also been supported by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the leading U.S. trade association representing OTC drug manufacturers and marketers. However, although it has widespread support and appears likely to pass, this is not a “must pass” bill like other existing user fee legislation. When it does pass, this legislation will have an enormous impact on the OTC drug industry in this country.

Issue of the Month Author, Norma Skolnik

This month’s Issue of the Month on Serious Adverse Events Reporting is written by Independent Consultant, Norma Skolnik. Norma has over 35 years of regulatory experience working with the pharmaceutical, OTC drug, and dietary supplement industries. Prior to consulting, she served as Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Americas for Cadbury Adams until her retirement. She also held the positions of Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Adams Division of Pfizer and Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Warner-Lambert company.

Drug and Device Corner 2018 September

EAS would like to remind clients, the FDA FY 2019 establishment registration renewal period begins this month. With reference to Drug Establishments, please make sure you are aware of your obligations under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) during this drug listing certification period. The FDA has released several guidance documents to assist.

In the event you not already seen the Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D, EAS highly recommends you read this to understand the FDA’s global efforts to help assure product quality and transparency at foreign drug manufacturing facilities. The statement includes a link to the FDA’s published internal policy for how manufacturing facilities are prioritized and scheduled for surveillance inspections.

In addition, FDA recently announced a Special 510(k) Program Pilot, which aims to expand upon the types of changes eligible for the Special 510(k) Program to improve the efficiency of 510(k) review. FDA is working to simplify the review of certain 510(k)s for industry and FDA staff using efficient practices consistent with least burdensome principles. As part of this pilot, certain design or labeling changes that previously were reviewed as a Traditional 510(k) may be eligible to be reviewed through the Special 510(k) pathway instead. The Agency believes that the reliance on design control requirements and previous Agency review of detailed information can reduce review times and still protect the public health. This pilot is part of ongoing efforts to simplify the 510(k) process and help promote timely access to safe, effective, and high-quality medical devices.  EAS offer 510(k) review and submission assistance. Please contact us for more information.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website:

All centers:

Postapproval Changes to Drug Substances

Civil Money Penalties Relating to the ClinicalTrials.gov Data Bank

CDER:

Product Identifiers Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act Questions and Answers

Product Identifier Requirements Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act – Compliance Policy

Grandfathering Policy for Packages and Homogenous Cases of Product Without a Product Identifier

Allergic Rhinitis: Developing Drug Products for Treatment

Nonallergic Rhinitis: Developing Drug Products for Treatment

Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Analyses — Format and Content

Hematologic Malignancy and Oncologic Disease: Considerations for Use of Placebos and Blinding in Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials for Drug Product Development

Technical Specifications—Comparative Clinical Endpoint Bioequivalence Study Analysis Datasets for Abbreviated New Drug Applications

FDA Product-Specific Guidances for Generic Drug Development webpage

FDA in Brief: FDA issues 54 product-specific guidances to promote generic drug access and drug price competition 

CDER & CBER:

Hematologic Malignancy and Oncologic Disease: Considerations for User of Placebos and Blinding in Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials for Drug Product Development

Indications and Usage Section of Labeling for Human Prescription Drug and Biological Products – Content and Format

CDRH:

Heparin-Containing Medical Devices and Combination Products: Recommendations for Labeling and Safety Testing

Recognition and Withdrawal of Voluntary Consensus Standards

510(k) Third Party Review Program

Appropriate Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards in Premarket Submissions for Medical Devices

Consideration of Uncertainty in Making Benefit-Risk Determinations in Medical Device Premarket Approvals, De Novo Classifications, and Humanitarian Device Exemptions

What Exactly is an FSVP?

By Allen Sayler

Ask the Expert offers a chance for our readers to submit questions to EAS regarding areas of regulatory confusion. This month’s question is answered by Allen Sayler, Senior Director of Food Consulting Services. If you’d like to submit a question, please use the “contact us” link on our website.

Question: FDA is cracking down on enforcement of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) through inspections of US-based FSVP importers with almost 200 FDA 483s issued stating “failure to develop an FSVP” which allows FDA to designate the imported food as “adulterated” and demand it be removed from the US marketplace. FDA has budgeted over 2000 foreign inspections/investigations during the coming year so “failure to develop an FSVP” is likely to become more common, forcing FDA’s hand to strengthen its regulatory enforcement. The question is, “When will FDA remove the “soft glove”, training and educational approach and move toward active enforcement of the FSVP regulation?” The second related question is, “How does the FSVP Importer know if their FSVP meets FDA expectation?”

Answer: Interesting questions and one thing I have learned during my long regulatory career is that one can never accurately predict when FDA will publish a new regulation, direct their field investigators to intensify their regulatory effort or ramp-up compliance enforcement. In trying to determine the general time period when FDA may start to take more aggressive regulatory action against US-based FSVP Importers, it is important to look at “signs”. One sign is the recent statistics indicating as of mid-June 2018, the number of FSVP-focused inspections the Agency has conducted is nearly equal to the total number for all of the calendar year 2017. In more detail, well over half of the number of FSVP inspections so far have resulted in the issuance of Form 483s, noting that the FSVP Importer has failed to develop an FSVP program including a written hazard analysis plan, an effective and written supplier management program and the correct foreign supplier documentation available for FDA review at the US-based FSVP Importer’s office. Another sign is when the Agency believes it has fully trained most or all of those field investigators so they are equipped to conduct the on-site FSVP investigations. It appears this has been completed or is near completion for the FSVP regulation. Additionally, foodborne illness outbreaks are a key sign, and over the past year, the incidence of foodborne illness from imported foods does not appear to have increased significantly so this “sign” does not appear to be pushing FDA to strengthen FSVP enforcement, although one serious foodborne illness outbreak attributed to imported foods will immediately change this “sign”. All of these together, indicate that the Agency is preparing for more aggressive FSVP enforcement which will likely mean those importers with inadequate or missing FSVP programs will have their products blocked from import. If one had to guess, we anticipate this stronger FSVP enforcement of FDA to start sometime in late 2018 to early 2019 for human foods.

How can firms ensure that they have a developed FSVP that meet’s FDA’s expectations? As Sharon Mayl, Senior Advisor for Policy in the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine at FDA, said in an interview, “FSVP inspections are based on the review of records, rather than observations of food production. In addition to an onsite visit, FSVP inspections may include a documentation review of materials sent to FDA upon request. The investigator will review these materials for deficiencies.

One way to address this is to contract for the services of a qualified consultant to perform the FSVP Qualified Individual responsibilities. This would also solve the second question for US-based FSVP Importers, “How does the FSVP Importer know if their FSVP meets FDA expectation?” The other way is to hire a Qualified Individual that as the credentials identified in the FSVP regulations. Either way, you need a knowledgeable, well trained “Qualified Individual.” EAS has a number of food safety experts available to serve as the Qualified Individual, should you decide to contract out this important responsibility.

EAS Presents Webinar on Preparing for Tobacco TPMPs in Cooperation with TMA

TMAEAS President and COO, Dean Cirotta and Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. will present a free webinar on October 9, 2018, at 1:00 PM Eastern on Preparing for the Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practices Rule (TPMPs). This webinar is hosted in cooperation with the Tobacco Merchants Association. Since CTP Director, Mitch Zeller’s announcement at the 2018 TMA Annual Meeting that the Agency is prioritizing a TPMPs, the industry has been speculating regarding what these rules may encompass. Join us October 9th for this informative webinar, which will provide an overview of expectations for the TPMP rule and how you can begin assessing your current quality systems.

Couch Discusses Contract Manufacturing Partnerships in Natural Products Insider Podcast

Senior Director for Dietary Supplements, Dr. Tara Lin Couch was interviewed for a Natural Products Insider podcast on contract manufacturing partnerships. Dr. Couch is one of two EAS presenters for the upcoming SupplySide West trade show taking place in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for more information on EAS presentations by Dr. Couch and EAS Independent Consultant Heather Fairman.

EAS Offers Training Solutions for GMPs, Food, and Dietary Supplement Labeling Issues

Companies looking to ensure employees understand of the most up to date FDA requirements may look to EAS for their training solutions. With three upcoming seminars

Our expert trainers will provide a detailed approach to complicated and often confusing challenges enabling take-aways that can be readily applied to improve compliance. Training seminars can also be offered in-house and customized to specific needs.

Meet New Office Manager Jodi Burns

Jodi Burns

Office Manager, Jodi Burns, has extensive management experience in non-profits and for-profit firms, overseeing projects, human resources and developing policies and procedures. She has worked for organizations such as Clear Chanel Radio, Noell Clevenger & Company, CBS Radio, Loving Couples, Loving Children, Inc., among others in her career. Jodi is the front-line manager of the EAS home office and provides assistance to both consultants and clients in a variety of areas.

 

 

EAS to Exhibit, Speak at CPhI North America in Philadelphia

EAS Consulting Group is proud to be an invited speaker at the upcoming CPhI North America, April 24-26, 2018 in Philadelphia. You can find EAS at exhibit booth 856 where Senior Director for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, Bryan J. Coleman and Regulatory Specialist, Victoria Pankovich will be available to discuss questions and concerns surrounding your business. We also invite you to attend Bryan’s session as part of the CPhI technical program on Regulatory Considerations, Strategy and Best Practices for Choosing a CMO which will be Tuesday, April 24th at 3:30 pm.

EAS Consultants to Present at Two Upcoming FDLI Events

Andrea Yablunosky will be speaking on Food Labeling: Nutrient Content, Health, and Other Claims on September 24, 2018 at the upcoming FDLI Introduction to Food Law and Regulation which will be held in Washington, D.C. She’ll discuss a variety of claims including Natural, Organic and Fresh as well as the effects of state law litigation on use of Health Claims.

Priya Jambhekar will be presenting the session on Regulations of Biologics Manufacturing on October 4, 2018, at the FDLI Introduction to Biologics and Biosimilars, taking place in Washington, D.C. She’ll discuss standards of inspections, the scope of pre-approval inspections as well as responding to FDA 483 forms and warning letters.

Tajkarimi and Sayler Discuss RTEs in Natural Products Insider

Independent Consultant Mehrdad Tajkarimi and Senior Director Allen Sayler co-wrote an article for Natural Products Insider discussing Cause, Effect and Impact of RTE Operations on complying with FDA’s draft Listeria guidance. Food manufacturers are expected to operate within an entirely new scheme of “design out” of potential entry and harborage of Listeria, develop “hygienic zoning”, enhance monitoring and record keeping for cleaning and sanitizing a food processing facility and more. As FDA inspectors use draft FDA guidance for Control of Listeria Monocytogenes in Ready to Eat Foods during routine and targeted investigations, these new criteria, as well as others found in the guidance, will become the new benchmark of safety against Listeria in RTE operations.

FDA Ramping Up FSVP Inspections, Finding Issues with FSVP Development

Dear Readers,

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to the EAS-e-News, a free newsletter for FDA-regulated industries. I am very pleased to report that the new EAS website, a project, that we have been working on for some time, is now live. We invite you to visit it at the same URL as our previous website – easconsultinggroup.com. There are a number of new features here which I am sure you will agree, provide for easier navigation, improved access to our and the Agency’s information as well as a more attractive design. For example, those who work in the food industry will find our short videos which highlight just some of EAS services are easily accessible on the main Food Services tab. In addition, a newly created tab called Resources includes the latest press releases, recalls and enforcement reports from the Agency as well as valuable regulatory information authored by EAS staff and independent consultants and published in industry trade journals as well as current and past issues of what I hope is your favorite go-to regulatory newsletter, EAS-e-News. Please visit our new website! I hope you find this new layout to be easy to navigate and a great resource of information!

Our issue of the month article written by Independent Consultant James Evans covers Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). Recently annexed in 2016, these MRAs between EU countries and the U.S. allow for better distribution of resources in cases where an EU country’s facility inspection standards are equitable to FDA’s. In such cases, more focus can be applied to those facilities that warrant a closer eye. These MRAs by no means suggest that Quality and GMP vigilance can be lessened in those facilities operating in countries with MRAs. EAS offers a thorough inspection and audit program specific to the requirements of pharmaceuticals and all FDA regulated industries. These audits, in some cases, are offered as “mock-FDA” inspections assist companies in understanding not only their responsibilities under the law but, also how they can improve areas of need to create a robust operational structure.

Our FSMA Perspective discusses the FSMA Preventive Controls, which are now beginning to see enforcement actions taken by the Agency. It is always the right time to assess compliance with these important safety protocols which aim to eliminate potential sources of contamination before they have a chance to enter into processing and production facilities. This is good for public health, operational efficiency, required by law and of course, the right thing to do.

Our Ask the Expert includes a question from one of our readers that sees a real challenge in the food industry about how to comply with the FSVP rules under FSMA. FDA is rapidly and significantly ramping up their inspections of FSVP requirements and finding that in many cases firms are failing to develop a foreign supplier verification program. This month’s question gets to the heart of the challenge – what exactly is an FSVP?

We introduce new consultants Norris Alderson, Ph.D., Carl Custer, John Sawyer, Randy White and John Ziobro. EAS continues to recruit the best in regulatory talent to join our team of independent consultants enabling us to maintain our reputation as a leading consulting firm for FDA regulated industries. In addition to our new consultants, we welcome Jodi Burns, our new Office Manager and the voice behind the phones when calling the EAS home office as well as Shachi Shah, our regulatory intern. I invite you to read more about their backgrounds in the Who’s Who section of this issue.

Thank you all for your interest in EAS and our EAS-e-News. I invite you to share any feedback on this issue or our website. As always, please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Ed

Meet New EAS Consultants

Norris Alderson, Ph.D.

Norris Alderson, Ph.D.

Norris Alderson is an expert in the approval process for veterinary products and assists clients with understanding FDA guidance for data requirements for animal drugs to include additives for animal feeds and process for review by FDA. He also helps clients understand processes for interacting with FDA in the development of products and has experience in managing and understanding functions of institutional review boards including the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. Prior to consulting, Dr. Alderson spent his career at FDA, most recently as the Associate Commissioner for Science and the Director of the Office of Science and Health Coordination.

Carl Custer

Carl Custer

Carl Custer is an expert in HACCP, microbiology of dried meat products and special processes for retail foods and spent his career at USDA/FSIS investigating foodborne outbreaks. He consults in problem-solving on issues including contamination by Listeria spp., Salmonella, and foreign materials and serves as an expert witness for legal firms on spoilage factors.

John Sawyer

John Sawyer

John Sawyer is a regulatory and quality professional with over 30 years of experience in the medical device, electronic and aerospace industries. He is a Senior Member of ASQ and a registered Lead Quality Management Systems Auditor with the International Register of Certificated Auditors out of London. His current work focuses on providing FDA QSR, ISO-13485-2016, EU MDD, EU MDR, CMDCAS and other regulatory/quality consulting services.

Randy White

Randy White, Ph.D.

Randy White is a consultant for medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biologics, nutritional supplements. Prior to consulting he worked for WuXi AppTec and Baxter Healthcare Corporation overseeing the performance of toxicology and safety studies to include testing strategy, study design, and animal model development, as well as preparation of toxicology reviews for regulatory submissions and toxicity/risk assessments, study director for GLP studies. He has a Ph.D. in Animal Science Nutrition from Oregon State University.

John Ziobro

John Ziobro

John Ziobro is an experienced professional in the medical device industry. His expertise includes engineering and new product development from concept-through-completion, design controls, design traceability, technical files including 510(k) submissions, device history records, and design dossiers. John’s background includes vast experience in electromechanical design, verification and validation; component selection and vendor audits.

Preventive Controls – A New Ballgame for Food Safety Compliance

By Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA

With the recent issuance of a Warning Letter citing violations of Part 117 subpart C (preventive controls), implementation of FDA’s Preventive Controls rule takes its next step – FDA will cite food facilities for preventive control failures. Everyone paying any attention to FSMA knew this would happen, and as long as it happens to someone else, it can be a low pain, high gain learning opportunity.

For example, we now know FDA objects to food facilities that make a ready to eat products, have multiple positive Salmonella results from an environmental sampling program, and yet do not consider Salmonella a hazard in need of one or more controls as part of a food safety plan. Equally, FDA objects to having corrective actions that are not implemented when a problem arises for which the corrective action was planned. And failing to verify that sanitation procedures are properly performed is worthy of citation in a Warning Letter.

No matter how much FDA educates, theoretical agency definitions of unacceptable conditions or practices are no substitute for concrete examples. These first few are obvious, but we can expect more, and more finely detailed, citations in the future.

Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Foods and Animal Foods lays out expectations for the prevention of contaminated foods in all areas of processing, packing, holding and transporting. Food facilities must have plans in place that address hazards reasonably likely to occur in the absence of one or more controls.

As noted in the recent Warning Letter, implementation of controls, verification, and monitoring can be lacking. This challenges many companies because writing written procedures is one thing, properly implementing them is another. Practicing accountability from start to completion is often overlooked, leaving many facility managers ill prepared just when and where they need it most. Performing practiced implementation for when things go awry is one critical way of preparing for the inevitable and doing so with measured success.

Firms are busy and time is money. When a production line is down, a product is not being made, customer demand is not met and earnings suffer. In maximizing efficiency, the devil in the details can get lost and we miss steps. Some missed steps may even seem innocuous at the time, after all – we are in a hurry, but they compound each other leading to a failure.

Let’s take the case of the requirement for pathogen swabbing, (shameless plug – EAS is offering a complimentary webinar on swabbing for environmental pathogens September 21). FDA requires that facilities producing foods that have been associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness or pathogen contamination, or produce ready-to-eat foods for that does not include a kill step after packaging, establish environmental sampling programs.

When there is an identified environmental pathogen hazard requiring a preventive control, environmental monitoring is required at regular intervals. At some point, there will be a positive result. If you never find any positives, FDA may suggest your sampling program is not robust enough. As you have read before in this column, no matter how comprehensive your sanitizing procedures, at some point you’ll have a result that requires further assessment, cleaning, evaluation of the previous production, and whether your food safety plan needs revision. When that positive result first comes to light – what next?

This is when copies of Wanting Letters are useful. Comparing what you have to what FDA found inadequate can reassure you, or point to things that need attention.

Another resource that is becoming more useful is FDA’s Technical Assistance Network (TAN). Begun in September 2015, the TAN responds to inquiries related to all FSMA rules. As of May 2018. they have received 9,030 inquiries, indicating at least two things. First, this is an industry that largely wants to do the right thing, and second, it is an industry that needs specific answers to many varied specific questions.

The TAN recently published answers to 172 frequently asked questions (https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/ucm247559.htm). There are insights into FDA thinking to be found among the answers.

Be mindful that a similar question does not mean FDA would give a similar answer. Details matter. Each food facility must tailor its plan to individual facility operations. The expectations behind FSMA and Preventive Controls are laid out in great detail and the Preventive Controls requirements are the hallmark of food safety. Look broadly at first, then focus in. Flow-charts can be helpful with “if-then” scenarios. If a positive result is found, then what? Which zones of the production area should be included in these tests and once the positive result is confirmed, then what? Product recall? Who should the results be reported to? FSMA spells out that these scenarios must be developed and documented so that when disaster strikes a haphazard plan isn’t created in a moment of panic.

Now comes the often overlooked part: Once the plan is made, the real work begins. Practice. It’s easy to spell things out on paper (or digitally) but how practical are the steps? Does everyone understand the process or is there room for interpretation which can lead to confusion and those missteps we spoke of earlier? Much like the requirement for FSMA training which must be in a language that each employee can understand, the same true for PC steps. Make sure all, no matter who is in charge at every step of the process, understands and can perform those activities expected of them.

Lastly, ask for help when needed. Whether it is through the FDA and their TAN, FSMA training videos and fact sheets or through reputable consulting firms such as EAS, your ability to follow PC rules depend on your complete understanding of detailed, documented steps and practicing these steps so that they are seamlessly executed when needed.

Meet New EAS Intern Shachi Shah

Shachi Shaw

Shachi Shah is an intern at EAS and a graduate from the Georgetown University BioBusiness Master’s Program. Her coursework focused on bioinformatics, Molecular Medicine, cGMPs. Shachi will begin her career in the fall when she begins working at a biotechnology company that develops vaccines protective against malaria.

EAS Authors AHPA Report Article on Botanical Submissions – NDI Versus GRAS in a Post-DSHEA World

EAS authored an article discussing options for dietary supplement ingredient submissions – New Dietary Ingredient (NDIs) and Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) on August 8, 2018, of the AHPA Report (AHPA membership required to view). Botanical chemicals may be isolated and also sold as dietary supplements, and in some cases, FDA’s interpretation of botanical and plant parts would qualify them for an NDI submission. In some cases, GRAS is a more appropriate submission for this unique category of botanicals. EAS can discuss your particular situation and help you to determine the right path for your product.

EAS Webinar – Don’t Wait for FDA, Conduct Your Own Swab-a-Thon!

EAS Independent Consultant, Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. will host a complimentary webinar on the importance of Environmental Monitoring on September 17, 2018, at 11:00 PM Eastern. Given the hot-button issue of pathogen contamination, even with the best of safety controls, it is imperative that companies have a robust environmental monitoring program that includes vigilant and regular testing. Join Dr. Knutson for this complimentary webinar!

Meet Issue of the Month Author, James Evans

James Evans

James Evans has more than 30 years of experience as an FDA auditor and specializes in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biologics, and biotechnology. His expertise includes pharmaceutical inspections, antibiotics, radiopharmaceuticals, parenteral, sterilization, clinical/non-clinical (GLP) laboratory studies, and computer systems validation and pharmacology. In addition, he is well-versed in HACCP inspections for low-acid canned food and infant food manufacturing operations.

FDA Mutual Recognition Agreements

By James Evans

FDA has been implementing the Safety and Innovation Act since it was passed by Congress in 2012. The Act requires FDA to establish Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) which are agreements between two or more countries to recognize a specific process or procedure of the other country. The FDA’s MRA was preceded by the 1998 signing of the U.S. and the EU Agreement on Mutual Recognition which included a Pharmaceutical Annex providing for recognition of each other’s GMP inspections. Unfortunately, this Annex was never fully implemented.

Effective in 2017, the amended Sectoral Annex to the 1998 U.S.-EU MRA allowed for inspection reports and other related information obtained during drug manufacturing facility inspections, conducted by either an EU inspectorate or by FDA, to help determine whether a facility is manufacturing high-quality drugs. If more information is necessary beyond this assessment, FDA or the EU can then require additional inspections or take other action in the interest of protecting the public.

The 2017 Annex provides for greater efficiency in the drug inspection process, eliminating the redundancies of duplicate facility inspections, particularly those with a strong record of compliance. By utilizing each other’s inspection reports and related information, the FDA and EU are able to reallocate resources towards inspection of drug manufacturing facilities with potentially higher public health risks across the globe, benefiting patients and reducing adverse public health outcomes.

FDA’s determination as to whether an MRA is appropriate is made first via an assessment of internal audits in a particular EU country to ensure that their inspectorate is functioning properly and not deviating in any significant way from EU law and guidance.

These audits include observations of drug manufacturing facility inspections conducted by the audited inspectorates and utilize the 78 indicators based on the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S) compliance assessment program with an EU addendum. PIC/S is an internationally recognized cooperative arrangement between 49 regulatory authorities, including the FDA. The goal of PIC/S is to harmonize inspection procedures worldwide and develop common standards in the field of good manufacturing practices.

In addition, FDA considers any conflict-of-interest policies, specific legislation related to good manufacturing practices, samples of inspection reports, inspector training records, inventory of drug manufacturing facilities, surveillance program, and numerous standard operating procedures to evaluate a pharmaceutical inspectors’ credentials as part of the capability assessment of each EU country. In this way, FDA can ascertain whether the inspection authorities are trained and qualified and have the skills and knowledge to identify manufacturing practices that may lead to patient harm. Maintenance provisions are also included in the Annex to ensure that each capable country continues to meet FDA requirements.

Thanks to this MRA, there is a greater ability of the Agency to appropriately allocate its resources to focus on those facilities where initial audits raise red flags that warrant further inspection, either by continual deficiencies in inspection findings by a country’s own internal audit system or by adverse events reports or other means. One of those means is the “Drug Quality Sampling and Testing (DQST)- Human Drugs Compliance Program 7356.008”, which is a surveillance program that samples and tests pharmaceutical products manufactured both in the U.S. and foreign countries. Surveillance under the DQST is prompted in part by recommendations from CDER and ORA headquarters and FDA district offices based on their intelligence and reported consumer complaints.

The goal of the DQST compliance program is to protect the public health by minimizing exposure to non-compliant and/or poor-quality drugs. Testing is undertaken on finished dosage forms, APIs, and excipients and the samples chosen are based on risk-based selection criteria and a risk-based model. Due to the globalization of pharmaceutical products increasing consumer risk, the surveilled domestic and international products have expanded under this program to include prescription and OTCs, compounded drugs, drug products with approved an NDA or ANDA as well as unapproved drug products and others. This program, in combination with other quality assurance compliance programs, is an integral part of the Agency’s overall post-marketing surveillance strategy. Fortunately, the majority of drugs FDA independently tests meet their specifications. From 2003 to 2013, FDA tested nearly 4,000 of drug samples. During that decade, FDA laboratories found that 1.1% of the drug products analyzed deviated from acceptable standards.

FDA takes its oversight of the domestic and foreign pharmaceutical program very seriously as any safety deviations in these products could have a significant impact on public health. Companies may wish to proactively perform quality assessments and gain an understanding of their current compliance status through independent third-parties such as qualified consulting firms who offer expertise in pharmaceuticals conducted by persons with a strong background in Agency regulations and safety standards. Once a needs assessment has been conducted, a proactive remediation plan of deficiencies can begin.

More information on FDA’s pharmaceutical surveillance programs can be found on the Agency’s website and we invite you to view EAS-produced on-demand webinars focusing on a variety of GMP tools on the EAS website. Should EAS be of service to your firm either in an assessment of compliance status or to assist with an FDA announced facility inspection, please contact Bryan J. Coleman, Senior Director of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices.

Latest EAS On-Demand Webinars Posted to EAS Website

We had an overwhelming response to our recent webinar “Quality Systems for the Cannabis Industry” presented by Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services. Independent Consultant, Peter Saxon, presented a webinar for foreign firms to understand how to manage FDA inspections. Also, April Kates presented a webinar on Temporary Marketing Permits Opportunity and pitfalls of the Specialized FDA Application. All recordings are available on the EAS website under the On-Demand Webinars tab and are available for viewing.

Sayler Discusses Fast Tracking FDA FURLS in Food Safety Tech

Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, has written an article for Food Safety Tech on FDA Fast-Track Unified and Listing Systems (FURLS) program and whether it is expediting or impeding access to overseas markets. “The FDA recently released a notification that their FURLS system has been updated to include an Export Listing Module (ELM),” he says. This allows U.S. food manufacturers to electronically submit, and for FDA to receive and process requests for inclusion on the export lists for FDA-regulated food products and present these lists to countries that require them, whether a company is participating in this program or is looking for new markets outside the U.S.

Tajkarimi Writes of Food Safety Training as a Solution for FSMA Challenges

Mehrdad Tajkarimi discusses the importance of food safety training as a solution to FSMA challenges in Part One of a three-part series for Food Safety Magazine. “There are several challenges ahead for proper food safety training at all levels,” he says. “These challenges include, but are not limited to, numbers of training hours, type, content, and facilitation procedures.” The types and applications of training have dramatic impacts on food safety management systems, improvements in FSMA compliance, and employee productivity.

Drug and Device Corner 2018 August

The FDA recently sent a reminder email to registered drug establishments regarding the Drug Supply Chain Security Act’s (DSCSA) impending requirements. Production of a prescription drug that meets the definition of “product” (see section 581(13) of the FD&C Act noted below), now requires manufacturers to affix or imprint a product identifier to each package and homogenous case of a product intended to be introduced into commerce by November 28, 2018. A product identifier should include the product’s NDC, unique serial number, lot number and expiration date (see section 581(14) of the FD7C Act) in human- and machine-readable formats. The machine-readable format shall be a 2-dimensional (2D) data matrix barcode when affixed to or imprinted on a package or a linear or 2D data matrix barcode when affixed to or imprinted onto a homogeneous case of the product (see section 582(a)(9) of the FD&C Act).

Section 581(13): “(13) Product.–The term ‘product’ means a prescription drug in a finished dosage form for administration to a patient without substantial further manufacturing (such as capsules, tablets, and lyophilized products before reconstitution), but for purposes of section 582, does not include blood or blood components intended for transfusion, radioactive drugs or radioactive biological products (as defined in section 600.3(ee) of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations) that are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or by a State pursuant to an agreement with such Commission under section 274 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2021), imaging drugs, an intravenous product described in clause (xiv), (xv), or (xvi) of paragraph (24)(B), any medical gas (as defined in section 575), homeopathic drugs marketed in accordance with applicable guidance under this Act, or a drug compounded in compliance with section 503A or 503B.”

More information about the DSCSA can be found on FDA’s website.

We would like to remind our clients, that beginning 1 October 2018, VMF sponsors will be required to use eSubmitter to submit all animal drug applications to the agency. The FDA has been hosting webinars to teach interested parties on the process. You can download the eSubmitter program from the FDA website and find recordings of the instructional webinars, when available, here.

Manufacturers of sunscreen products have an opportunity to offer FDA comments on SPF testing and drug facts labeling through 18 October 2018, please see instructions at the Federal Register notice docket# FDA-2011-N-0449.

On 10 August 2018, the FDA published a revision to the Manual of Policies and Procedures (MAPP 5240.5), ANDA Suitability Petitions – link will bring you to the document for review.

The FDA has announced via the Federal Register Vol 83, No. 163, their determination that Danocrine (danazol) capsules, 50 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg were not withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness, except with respect to the indication of fibrocystic breast disease that was withdrawn for reasons of safety or effectiveness. As a result, the FDA will not be suspending approval of ANDAs that refer to this drug product as long as the applications have removed the indication for fibrocystic breast disease. This determination will also allow the FDA to continue to approve ANDAs that refer to this drug as long as they meet relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

Per the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, the FDA has identified a list of Medical Device accessories proposed to be classified as class I, and distinct from other devices. The FDA welcomes public comment until 16 October 2018 on their proposal. Full details and information on how to comment can be found by following this link to the Federal Register notification.

The FDA has announced several public meetings that may be of interest to our readers, please see details below.

The FDA will hold a public hearing with an opportunity for public comment on the future format of the National Drug Code (NDC). With the availability of 5-digit labeler codes nearing capacity, the FDA is open to input from stakeholders on their perspectives regarding the impact of any future changes made to the length and format of the NDC. The hearing is to be held 5 November 2018 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST. Registration for online attendance is available. If you wish to attend in person or present at the public hearing, you must register no later than 15 October 2018. Further information and a registration link can be found here.

Public Meeting of the Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology Advisory Committee will be held 20 September 2018, at FDA’s White Oak Campus, in Silver Spring, MD. The FDA plans to provide a live webcast of this meeting. The morning session will focus on the modernization of assessing drug applications through a Knowledge-Aided Assessment and Structured Application (KASA) initiative. The afternoon session will focus on in-vitro/in-vivo relationship standards and will seek input on establishing patient-focused dissolution standards for oral solid modified-release dosage forms. Complete details can be found at the Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 158.

There will be a public meeting entitled “Standardized Data for Pharmaceutical Quality / Chemistry Manufacturing and Control (PQ/CMC)” on 19 October 2018 from 9 am to 4 pm EDT. The purpose is to provide members of the pharmaceutical industry, and other interested parties, an opportunity to discuss with FDA and provide input on related topics and issues. Please see the Federal Register Notice for complete details.

The FDA has published the following user fee rates for their FY2019 which runs from 1 Oct 2018 – 30 Sept 2019:

Generic Drug User Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2019

Medical Device User Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2019

Prescription Drug User Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2019

Outsourcing Facility Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2019

Biosimilar User Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2019

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website:

All centers:

Osteoarthritis: Structural Endpoints for the Development of Drugs, Devices and Biological Products for Treatment

CDER:

Fluticasone Propionate Draft Guidance

Nonclinical Testing of Orally Inhaled Nicotine – Containing Drug Products

Dissolution Testing and Acceptance Criteria for Immediate-Release Solid Oral Dosage Form Drug Products Containing High Solubility Drug Substances

Opioid Use Disorder: Endpoints for Demonstrating Effectiveness of drugs for Medication – Assisted Treatment

Quality Attribute Considerations for Chewable Tablets

Microdose Radiopharmaceutical Diagnostic Drugs: Nonclinical Study Recommendations

CDER & CBER:

Elemental Impurities in Drug Products

Expansion Cohorts: Use in First-In-Human Clinical Trials to Expedite Development of Oncology Drugs and Biologics

CDRH:

Peripheral Vascular Atherectomy Devices – Premarket Notification [510(k)] Submissions

Medical Device User Fee Small Business Qualification and Certification

Process to Request a Review of FDA’s Decision Not to Issue Certain Export Certificates for Devices

CBER:

Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Babesiosis

OOPD: (office of orphan products development)

Clarification of Orphan Designation of Drugs and Biologics for Pediatric Subpopulations of Common Diseases

Lavieri Highlights the Impact of the Human Element in Food Safety Programs in Food Safety News

Robert Lavieri authored a guest column in Food Safety News on the important and often overlooked “human element” to food safety planning and programs. Companies spend much time and effort designing and cross-checking procedures to protect against food safety issues, but the human element or employee training and assurance of appropriate training to the job function is equally important. Make sure you “test, verify and regularly evaluate and hold accountable the human elements as you do your equipment i.e. Process Control, Automatic Sampling, CIP, Calibrations, etc,” he says.

September 2018

In this Issue

FDA 483 Responses – Missing the Mark?

By Cindy Beehner, Independent Consultant

In recent months, it appears more companies are having difficulties meeting the requirements of FDA Form 483, List of Observations, response. The inspection situation is very stressful and if it ends with the dreaded “483”, it can be positively overwhelming. However, when the initial reaction is over, it’s time to rally the staff and prepare the corrective and preventative action strategy that will be presented in the response within the allotted time frame. It is also critical to understand what is expected of the response letter.

The 483 is a list of inspectional observations that is the result of what the inspectors viewed while in your facility. It is a legal document from federal agents performing a law enforcement function where the evidence is the collection of documents and data that the agents evaluated at the company. All of the observations should first be reviewed for accuracy. Hopefully, any discrepancies or misunderstandings were discussed during the closing meeting and resolved, but if they were not found until after the inspectors left the facility, they will need to be addressed in the response. The 483 response is also a legal document so the tenor and exact wording used are critical. It must demonstrate that the company understands the issues, has made the necessary corrective and preventative actions, and that there is documented evidence to verify the latter.

Each observation requires a response and that response must describe the associated corrective and preventative actions are taken. It should be thorough and detailed and written to present steps in the order taken. Procedures and related documents prepared and implemented during these actions must also be included. It is not enough to only describe actions, there must be documented evidence of the correction such as photographs, procedures, training records, specific forms, and other types of documentation. Many Warning Letters are issued by the FDA because a company’s response letter did not include evidence of the corrective and preventative actions taken for the FDA to evaluate to determine if the situation was appropriately addressed.

Consider three potential categories of actions to be taken for each observation; immediate, short-term and long-term. Think of this from a medical emergency perspective where initial triage occurs to keep the patient’s condition from getting worse, additional short-term actions are needed to stabilize the patient, and then long-term actions may be needed to deal with any underlying problems. A systematic issue will have to be addressed with preventative measures. It is also important to review the observations collectively, in addition to individual, to determine if other underlying systemic issues exist. These too will have to be addressed with corrective and preventative actions.

Please note that, unlike an FDA Warning Letter, a response to a 483 is not legally required. However, it is strongly recommended that a 483 response be provided to the FDA within 15 business days. Some observations can be appropriately addressed and the actions concluded within this time frame, but others, particularly systematic issues, may require more time. When that is the case, all of the planned corrective and preventative actions should be described in the initial response, immediate and short-term actions should be taken, and completion dates for long-term items provided. It is important that these proposed dates be aggressive, yet reasonable and obtainable. Monthly updates to the FDA stating the progress made on these long-term items, with supportive documented evidence included, should then follow. This strategy may prevent the FDA from escalating enforcement actions and issue a Warning Letter.

Confirmation that the FDA is satisfied with the 483 response will be provided by the issuance of an Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) which states that all of the corrective and preventative actions will be evaluated upon “the next inspection.” The EIR is also a more detailed summary of the inspectional findings and it is wise to use this as an opportunity to further review operations, controlled processes, and the overall quality system. Look at these findings from a systems approach; facilities and equipment, materials, production, packaging and labeling, laboratory controls and, of course, the most important and critical one – the quality incident system. The entirety of the inspection and the inspectional review should also be another piece to the internal audit program, make the experience work to improve compliance and not just an exercise in writing letters to the FDA.

For assistance in understanding FDA 483 findings as well as developing an appropriate response and corrective actions contact EAS.

Are Plant-Based Proteins Milking Dairy?

By Allen Sayler, Senior Director for Food Consulting Services

When FDA announced recently that the agency is seeking public comment for standards of identity overhaul that will focus in part on plant-based products that are marketed as “milk” substitutes, manufacturers of those products as well as the consumers who enjoy them were left wondering how this review and any future changes would affect them. Consumers of soy, almond, rice, coconut and other plant-based “milk” enjoy these dairy alternative products for any number of reasons, but in some cases, their consumption decisions are based on incomplete or inaccurate information and may result in a diet deficient in certain nutrients found in dairy milk but not the substitute protein. This issue is of interest to others outside of the US as Canada, the European Union and Codex all have laws, regulations and beverage standards that limit the use of the term “milk” to only beverages where dairy “milk” is the major or characterizing ingredient.

There are nearly 300 standards of identity on the books at FDA, and these plant-based proteins which use qualified terms as part of their “milk”, “yogurt” and “cheese” product names aren’t in-fact “milk” as we have come to know it. Based on this technical violation of the standard of identity for “milk” and a concern regarding consumer misunderstanding of the nutritional value of plant-based beverages, FDA has decided to look at the term milk as part of its overall effort of modernizing standards of identity and improving information provided to consumers and their physicians so that the nutritional composition and benefits of products is clear.

FDA is currently seeking information on how consumers understand the term “milk” and whether the nutritional differences between dairy-based and plant-based “milk” products is understood. FDA is also trying to understand if the use of the term “milk” in non-dairy products is misleading and if that lack of understanding plays a role in less informed dietary choices. Stakeholder feedback is actively recruited by the agency and, based on initial comments gathered, FDA will provide an additional request for information in late summer or fall targeted more directly towards consumer awareness and understanding of the use of milk and other dairy terms on plant-based alternatives, including a focus on nutritional impact. The agency will use this feedback to refine its policy for these standards of identity and will issue new guidance for industry as well as their compliance and enforcement approach (no timeline is currently established). 

In addition to gaining an understanding of milk products, the agency is additionally seeking feedback on how the agency should consider food technology, nutritional science, fortification practices and marketing trends for not only dairy but all foods as part of their standards of identity review to gain an understanding of how each may enhance or stymie innovation or nutritional improvements.

As manufacturers of foods, standards of identity can at times protect the consumer and food industry from misleading or fraudulent foods, food ingredients, and labels, but they can also hinder efforts at product innovation, use of new ingredients and processing technologies and restriction on modification of the standard to improve nutritional content. Understanding food labels, content, nutritional value and product claims are all critical for consumers to make informed choices today. It is equally important for food manufacturers, who are committed to providing cleaner food labels while trying to deliver more nutritionally sound food into the US marketplace.

Regulatory opportunities, headwinds, and challenges will be facing the Agency as it begins to review and potentially revise the current food standards of identity. As the agency seeks comment, now is the time for food firms to provide their input and begin the conversation as to how technology, fortification, and sound science need to be considered in the review and revision process, to the benefit of the consumer, food industry and FDA. As an innovation for a healthier food supply continues to evolve, the ability to clearly communicate an improved and clear message of food content and nutritional value will enhance consumer understanding and allow for more informed choices. Formulating agency feedback can help to effectively lead awareness of those opportunities and challenges. Incorporating sound scientific assessments, food processing technologies and market research on consumer perceptions and trends incorporated into well-written comments can enhance a firm’s position. EAS independent consultants, toxicologists, microbiologists who are experts in dairy, plant-based beverages and FDA food standards of identity and labeling can help you to formulate your position and develop agency comment.

Drug and Device Corner 2018 July

EAS would like to bring to your attention the Draft Guidance released by the FDA for ANDA Submissions – Amendments to Abbreviated New Drug Applications Under GDUFA. This guidance describes the significant difference between GDUFA I and GDUFA II Amendments and the timelines associated with their review. The FDA considers all submissions to an ANDA to be an amendment, they will be classified based on the content and issued a goal date consistent with that classification. Please review the guidance for further details.

In the FDA’s ongoing effort to make generic affordable drugs available to the public, they have published product-specific guidances describing the Agency’s current thinking and expectations on how to develop generic drug products therapeutically equivalent to specific reference listed drugs. These guidances are hoped to assist the generic pharmaceutical industry with identifying the most appropriate methodology for developing drugs and generating the evidence needed to support ANDA approval. Please see the FDA’s Product-Specific Guidances for Generic Drug Development webpage for more details.

The FDA issued a press release regarding its recent actions on bulk drug substances used for compounding. Their Bulk Drug Substances Nominated for Use in Compounding lists for 503A Category drugs and 503B Category drugs have been updated as of 23 July 2018. Included in the update are the changes to the lists and when the changes became effective. Please see the press release for full details. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a public hearing to solicit input from the public on how to facilitate greater availability of biosimilar and interchangeable products while retaining the balance between competition and innovation. The hearing will be held on Tuesday 4 September 2018, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Food and Drug Administration’s White Oak Conference Center. If you would like to participate and weigh in on this hearing, more information on how to register for the meeting or the live webcast can be found in the Federal Register Notice.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

All centers

Use of Electronic Health Record Data in Clinical Investigations

CDER

Oncology Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals: Nonclinical Studies and Labeling Recommendations

Smallpox (Variola Virus) Infection: Developing Drugs for Treatment or Prevention

Q3D(R1) Elemental Impurities

Hypertension: Conducting Studies of Drugs to Treat Patients on a Background of Multiple Antihypertensive Drugs

Innovative Approaches for Nonprescription Drug Products

Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) and Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI) Products – Quality Considerations

Use of Liquids and / or Soft Foods as Vehicles for Drug Administration: General Considerations for Selection and In Vitro Methods for Product Quality Assessments

Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) and Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI) Products – Quality Considerations

CDER & CBER

Assessing User Fees Under the Biosimilar User Fee Amendments of 2017

Indications and Usage Section of Labeling for Human Prescription Drug and Biological Products – Content and Format

E17 General Principles for Planning and Design of Multiregional Clinical Trials

Field Alert Report Submission Q & A

Labeling for Biosimilar Products

Inborn Errors of Metabolism That use Dietary Management: Considerations for Optimizing and Standardizing Diet in Clinical Trials for Drug Product Development

Slowly Progressive, Low-Prevalence Rare Diseases with Substrate Deposition That Results from Single Enzyme Defects: Providing Evidence of Effectiveness for Replacement or Corrective Therapies

E17 General Principles for Planning and Design of Multiregional Clinical Trials

CDRH

Metal Expandable Biliary Stents – Premarket Notification (510(k)) Submissions

CBER

Human Gene Therapy for Retinal Disorders

Long-Term Follow-Up After Administration of Human Gene Therapy Products

Human Gene Therapy for Rare Diseases

Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) Information for Human Gene Therapy Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs)

Human Gene Therapy for Hemophilia

Testing of Retroviral Vector-Based Human Gene Therapy Products for Replication Competent Retrovirus During Product Manufacture and Patient Follow-up

Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Control (CMC) Information for Human Gene Therapy Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs)

CVM

Antimicrobial Animal Drug Sales and Distribution Reporting

#257 Studies to Evaluate the Metabolism and Residue Kinetics of Veterinary Drugs in Food-Producing Species: Marker Residue Depletion Studies to Establish Product Withdrawal Periods in Aquatic Species

August 2018

  • From the Desk of the Chairman: Dietary Supplement GMP Compliance Includes Application to the Cannabis Industry
  • Issue of the Month: FDA 483 Responses – Missing the Mark?
  • Who’s Who at EAS
    • Meet Issue of the Month Author and New Independent Consultant, Cindy Beehner
    • Meet New EAS Consultants
  • Standards of Identity: Are Plant-Based Proteins Milking Dairy?
  • Drug and Device Corner
    • Recent FDA Drug / Medical Device Activity
  • What’s New on FDA’s Website
  • EAS in Action
    • Dietary Supplement GMP Seminar to Take Place in Dallas, TX
    • EAS Offers Official FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Foods and FSVP Seminars
    • New Webinar on Environmental Monitoring Added to EAS’ Summer Compliance Line-Up
    • EAS Offers Complimentary Webinars on Cannabis, Foreign FDA Inspections, Temporary Marketing Permits and more
    • Crane Returns as a Presenter at CHPA’s OTC Academy
    • Yablunosky and Knutson to Speak at Upcoming Food Safety Consortium
    • EAS Consultants Invited Speakers at Two FDLI Conferences
    • EAS Co-Authors Article for FDLI Update on the Benefits of Consultants as Part of a Legal Team
  • Useful Publications and Regulatory Tools

EAS Co-Authors Article for FDLI Update on the Benefits of Consultants as Part of a Legal Team

EAS joined forces with Ronald J. Levine, co-chair on Herrick, Feinstein LLP’s Litigation Department to author an article published in the Food Drug Law Institute Update Magazine on how the use of consultants can benefit a legal team. Consultants provide unique insights, given their detailed expertise in a particular subject matter, offering context and in-depth understanding of FDA regulations and intent of guidance documents. Consultants are frequently engaged, particularly during the discovery and trial stages for the planning and execution of a legal strategy. While the benefits they provide cannot be underestimated, the same due diligence for choosing the right consultant for the particular project must also not be taken lightly. Read more here.

EAS Consultants Invited Speakers at Two FDLI Conferences

EAS is pleased to be invited speakers at two upcoming Food Drug Law Institute (FDLI) Events. Andrea Yablunosky will speak at an in-house event held at FDA CFSAN on Food Labeling: Nutrient Content, Health, and Other Claims on August 7th. Bruce Silverglade will speak on the same subject as part of the Intro to Food Law conference which will be held in Washington, D.C. September 24-25, 2018. For more information on the Intro to Food Law event, click here.

Yablunosky and Knutson to Speak at Upcoming Food Safety Consortium

EAS Independent Consultants, Andrea Yablunosky and Kathy Knutson are invited speakers at the upcoming Food Safety Consortium. Yablunosky will speak on food recalls, discussing the USDA/FSIS recall committee, as well as roles district offices play in a recall. She’ll then move on to the steps in a recall and important to-dos such as the drafting of a recall press release. Yablunosky is a former Director of Government Affairs at ConAgra Foods where she advised the company business units on implications of FDA and USDA policy objectives. With a background in food science and nutrition she is well-versed in policy development, product reformulations and promotions, recall preparedness and effective recall management.

Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. will speak on Lessons Learned in Food Safety and Applied to Cannabis-infused Edibles. She will discuss GMPs as the foundation of food safety and how HACCP builds on GMPs. Dr. Knutson is a microbiologist and certified lead instructor for Preventive Controls for Qualified Individuals through the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance. She consults with companies in meeting FSMA requirements, including manufacturers in the cannabis industry and she educates on issues surrounding cannabis-infused food products for sale in states with medical and recreational use legislation.

Food Safety Consortium will take place November 13-15, 2018 in Schaumburg, IL.

Crane Returns as a Presenter at CHPA’s OTC Academy

Susan Crane, Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling will be presenting a session at the upcoming Consumer Healthcare Products Association OTC Academy on OTC drug labeling requirements, to include Drug Facts format and content, translating an OTC monograph into a compliant label, as well as covering other regulations that impact OTC drugs, such as child-resistant packaging requirements and Made in USA claims. This year’s OTC Academy will take place in Wilmington, DE October 9-10, 2018.

EAS Offers Complimentary Webinars on Cannabis, Foreign FDA Inspections, Temporary Marketing Permits and More

Quality Systems for the Cannabis Industry – Preparing for State GMPs
August 6, 2018, 1:00pm Eastern

Tara Lin Couch Ph.D., Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, will help cannabis firms prepare for cannabis Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). While regulations vary from state to state the quality systems under which cannabis products are grown and manufactured have similarities that can begin to pave the way for putting practices and procedures in place to meet compliance expectations, including those of testing and quality control of in-process materials, finished batches and packaged/labeled products. The time is right for the cannabis industry to begin assessing manufacturing processes and implementing sound and effective quality systems in order to begin preparing for GMP regulations. Reserve your seat by clicking here.

Preparing for Foreign FDA Inspections
August 14, 2018, 1:00pm Eastern

Have you ever wondered why your foreign suppliers: API, intermediates, food ingredients, etc. are suddenly in trouble with regulatory authorities? Did they just go astray or is your auditing program not performing as designed? Actually, there are several things at play. EAS Independent Consultant, Peter Saxon, will shed some light on reasons FDA inspections can “go south” as well as provide insight on how disappointing results can be managed. His insights will provide an opportunity for companies to consider improvements to their internal audit structure to help minimize regulatory risks. Join us for this webinar by clicking here.

Temporary Marketing Permits – Opportunity and Pitfalls of the Specialized FDA Application
August 21, 2018, 1:00pm Eastern

Food Standards are an important component of FDA’s oversight, ensuring honesty and fairness to the consumer through requirements that provide for the basic nature of a standardized food to be uniform in terms of its characteristics as well as the ingredients that it must or may contain. But what happens when a newly developed food or production method warrants consideration of a product category outside of the standard? Petitioning to amend a food standard or to create a new one, is a lengthy and complicated process; however, a temporary solution may be available through a specialized category called a Temporary Marketing Permit (TMP’s). Learn more when EAS Independent Consultant, April Kates, discusses this unique marketing option in a webinar on the opportunities and Pitfalls of Temporary Marketing Permits and learn best practices for a successful TMP application. Reserve your seat by clicking here.

New Webinar on Environmental Monitoring Added to EAS’ Summer Compliance Line-Up

Are Industry-Initiated Environmental Swab-a-Thons a Benefit?
September 17, 2018, 1:00pm Eastern

The emphasis on proactive management of issues that could cause a food safety hazard, per FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, requires firms to improve controls for a variety of issues at all levels. One hot-button concern that continues to wreak havoc in the industry is that of pathogen contamination. It is generally understood that contamination in the processing environment will eventually make its way into the product. Even with the best of safety controls, it is imperative that companies have a robust environmental monitoring program that includes vigilant and regular testing. After all, finished product testing gives limited data and is a small snapshot of the entire lot manufactured. FDA can take hundreds of swabs during inspections, does your environmental monitoring meet that level of testing?

EAS Independent Consultant, Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. will host a complimentary webinar on the importance of Environmental Monitoring. Don’t wait for FDA, conduct your own swab-a-thon! Join us September 17, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern to learn important ways your company can stay ahead of the curve. Register by clicking here.

EAS Offers Official FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Foods and FSVP Seminars

EAS Independent Consultant and FSPCA recognized lead instructor, Jenifer Kane, will co-instruct two FSPCA courses with Independent Consultant and trainer Susan Moyers, Ph.D. on the intricacies of Preventive Controls for Human Food as well as the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Both courses will take place in early October in Alexandria, VA.

The Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (referred to as the Preventive Controls for Human Food Regulation) is intended to ensure safe manufacturing/processing, packing and holding of food products for human consumption in the U.S. and requires that certain activities must be completed by a “preventive controls qualified individual” who has “successfully completed training in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls”. This course meets FDA’s requirement. Join EAS October 1-3, 2018 in Alexandria for this 2.5 intensive training. Earlybird discounts are available through August 14, 2018.

Next, the “Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)” requires importers to verify that their foreign suppliers of food, food ingredients and food additives imported into the US market are compliant with all parts of the FSMA and its “Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCHF) and “Preventive Controls for Animal Feeds (PCAF”) regulations. EAS’ two-day intensive FSVP Compliance Seminar will explain in detail FSVP rules, risk exposure by importers as well as US-based food processors using foreign sources of foods, food ingredients and food additives. Join us October 3-4, 2018 for this 1.5-day training. Earlybird rates are in effect through August 14, 2018.

Dietary Supplement GMP Seminar to Take Place in Dallas, TX

EAS Consulting Group will offer its two-day intensive Dietary Supplement GMP seminar September 26-27, 2018 in Dallas. Instructed by EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., EAS Independent Advisor for Quality and Compliance, Robert Fish and back by popular demand, Marc Ullman, Of Counsel at Rivkin Radler, LLP, this next GMP course will include a new section on how quality and compliance applies to the emerging cannabis industry. Early-bird registration rates are in effect through August 5, 2018. In addition, we are pleased to offer members of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) an extended early-bird rate of $1,000.00. For more information or to reserve your seat, click here.

Meet New EAS Consultants

Tamika Cathey

Tamika Cathey provides regulatory compliance services pertaining to safety and quality of pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. She evaluates client compliance readiness, executes mock GMP/FDA audits, performs risk assessments and gap analyses per FDA regulations and creates improvement programs based on findings. Cathey consulted with EAS from 2012-2016 and we are very pleased that she is again able to offer her expertise to our clients.

Beth Ann Crozier-Dodson, Ph.D.

Dr. Dodson is an international consultant for food safety issues and an invited speaker and trainer on the topics of rapid methods for testing and bacterial identification and food safety. She is a member of numerous professional and honor societies and has received a USDA Commendation for Contribution to Public Health. Her areas of specialty include teaching and training in microbiology, laboratory setup, environmental testing, aeromicrobiology, validation testing, consulting, and plant and facility audits.

Meet Issue of the Month Author and New Independent Consultant, Cindy Beehner

Cindy Beehner has worked as a consultant since 1997, specializing in GMP requirements for food, dietary ingredients, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals. Ms. Beehner performs due diligence assessments as well as procedures and documentation required for certifications for groups such as Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), World Health Organization (WHO), United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and National Food Producers Association (NFPA). She has a Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and Clinical Psychology from Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA.

Dietary Supplement GMP Compliance Includes Application to the Cannabis Industry

Dear Readers,

First, for those whom we had a chance to meet at the recent Institute for Food Technologists Annual Meeting held in Chicago, I am sure you will agree with me that this year’s event was one of the best. With so many changes at FDA with the implementation of FSMA, many timely topics on Food Defense and more, I am sure everyone in attendance returned to their firms with good ideas worth implementing. The two sessions that EAS moderated, PCHF – Successes and Challenges for FDA and the Food Industry and Food Importing: Green Light Strategies for Compliance with Game-Changing FSVP Requirements were both well attended with lively discussions. We’d like to thank the panelists who joined us – JoAnn Givens from FDA, Jeff Acker from DFA who participated in the PCHF session, Bob Brackett from IIT and EAS Independent Consultant, Susan Moyers, who participated in both PCHF and FSVP sessions and Erika Daniel from our Italian partner Almater who participated in our FSVP session.

I am pleased that EAS is presenting the next Dietary Supplement Good Manufacturing Practices seminar in cooperation with the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). It will include an updated content section on how GMPs have application to the cannabis industry. The early bird rate runs through August 5, 2018, and this rate is extended to members of AHPA for the duration of the registration period. We hope you’ll join us in Dallas, TX on September 26-27, 2018 for this informative and updated seminar!

We welcome new consultant Beth Ann Crozier-Dodson, Ph.D., and re-welcome Tamika Cathey and Cindy Beehner, two consultants who have been a part of the EAS family previously and who are increasingly available to EAS clients. Dr. Dodson is an international consultant for food safety issues and an invited speaker and trainer on the topics of rapid methods for testing and bacterial identification and food safety. Tamika Cathey provides regulatory compliance services pertaining to safety and quality of pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements and Cindy Beehner specializes in GMP requirements for food, dietary ingredient, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals. Cindy is also the author of this month’s issue of the month on how to appropriately respond to FDA 483s.

We hope that you enjoy this edition of EAS-e-News! As always feel free to reach out if you have any questions and thank you for your interest in EAS.

Sincerely,

Ed

Produce Safety Rule’s July Compliance Dates

By Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA

Those closely watching FSMA compliance dates will note that July 26, 2018 marks a significant date for FSVP and the Produce Safety Rule. Specifically,

  • importers with Small Business Foreign Suppliers will now be required to comply with sprout requirements of Produce Safety Rule;
  • importers with Small Business Foreign Suppliers that are farms producing sprouts are eligible for a Qualified Exemption under the Produce Safety Rule; and
  • importers with Large Foreign Suppliers are required to comply with Produce Safety Rule;

with an exception for importers of food contact substances who now have an additional two years to comply with the FSVP requirements.

FDA is postponing an enforcement regarding written assurances in certain cases when a manufacturer/processor does not control a hazard requiring a preventive control. Originally, an additional two years to comply with the above specific requirements were to be granted based on written assurances from their customer that they will either manufacture the food in accordance with applicable food safety requirements or sell only to someone that agrees to do so. Sellers must notify commercial customers that hazards are not controlled, but sellers do not now need to obtain written assurances from customers as a condition of sale. FDA says in this context, “customer” does not mean “consumer.”

FDA provided a decision tree to assist affected firms in their understanding of the details for enforcement discretion of the written assurances provisions.

What does all this mean for your business? Plenty – particularly in light of the recent food safety outbreaks of Listeria monocytogenes which illustrate that even when preventive controls are applied, food emergencies can still occur. Managing a safe food supply requires serious vigilance at all times. Unfortunately, even the most diligent will likely see, at some point, some type of food safety event requiring immediate action, whether it is an unsanitary method of transportation, storage or production, worker hygiene, use of contaminated water or a large number of additional factors.

As part of the Produce Safety Requirement, you may recall our January 2018 FSMA Perspective which discussed the agricultural water testing and safety requirements. After much industry feedback that the numerical criteria for microbial water quality in the final rule are too complex, FDA issued a proposed rule to extend the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements for produce other than sprouts. If finalized, the earliest compliance date for most agricultural water provisions would be January 2022 for the largest farms. Once finalized the specific requirements with regards to water testing leave no room for interpretation as to what constitutes a safe supply and FDA will request access to water testing data history for their own assessments of safety. Of course, prior to finalization, agricultural entities would be wise to begin or continue documented monitoring to gain a complete understanding of water quality used for irrigation and worker hygiene in order to provide FDA required data at the time of an inspection. Even though enforcement of FDA’s agricultural water provisions has been pushed back, they should still be considered a suitable benchmark for testing purposes. Any results found to be out-of-specification (OOS) should be retested followed by an assessment and correction of procedures leading to those OOS results.

Firms should also take a look at their entire organization’s policies and procedures, including the very important, and required by FSMA, training. Employees must understand what is required of them and why, and it is management’s responsibility to ensure that all required training is conducted in a language and manner that employees understand. This may mean conducting various types of training in a variety of languages.

Look closely at operations to assess whether they are meeting the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. Start thinking: What training do we need? What may we have to adjust in our work processes to meet FDA’s standards?

An audit of all practices is a good idea in order to get an accurate picture of how current operating procedures match FSMA requirements allowing for the identification of needed improvements, planning, and execution. Additionally, some buyers require private audits (which may or may not have the same standards as FSMA requirements) so being able to demonstrate results from internal and/or third-party audits or mock-FDA inspections can only enhance one’s demonstration of efforts to meet or exceed standards.

In short, the compliance date for the Produce Safety Rule is right around the corner for importers with large business foreign suppliers as well as some small. It is always the right time to assess one’s current status and plan for improvements, though as FSMA continues to take shape and enforcement dates move forward, the urgency has never been greater.

EAS Consultants to Present in Two Technical Sessions at the IFT 2018 Annual Meeting

EAS Independent Advisor Charles Breen is the panel moderator for two technical sessions at IFT – one on the Preventive Controls for Human Foods and another on the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Esteemed panelists include for PCHF, Joann Givens, Director of the Office of Human and Animal Food Operations-West, Office of Regulatory Affairs at FDA, Robert Brackett, Director of Illinois Institute for Technology and Vice President of Institute for Food Safety and Health, Jeffrey Acker, Vice President of Food Safety and Compliance, Dairy Farmers of America and Susan Moyers, EAS Independent Consultant. Panelists for the FSVP include Susan Moyers, Robert Brackett and Erika Daniel with Almater, an Italian food technology and consulting firm with which EAS partners to assist European companies wishing to export food products to the U.S.

If you are attending IFT we invite you to stop by the EAS booth, S322 and attend these two sessions. PCHF – Successes and Challenges for FDA and the Food Industry will take place on Monday, July 16, 2018 at 10:30 am – 12:00 pm; and Food Importing: Green Light Strategies for Compliance with Game-Changing FSVP Requirements will take place Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. Both will be held in room S502AB at the McCormick Place, the 2018 Annual Conference venue.

Please contact Allen Sayler at asayler@easconsultinggroup.com to set up an appointment to speak with EAS at the trade show.

Meet Issue of the Month Author Charles Otto, III

Charles Otto is a former Environmental Health Officer and Deputy Chief at the CDC where he provided guidance on all aspects of environmental health to the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program staff, member cruise lines, shipyards, and other global collaborators for the prevention of environmentally-related illnesses. He has worked at FDA as the Assistant Director in the Division of Cooperative Programs as well as the Retail Food Protection Branch where he developed national Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) implementation strategies for retail food protection, interstate travel programs, milk safety, and shellfish sanitation programs and furnished comprehensive field training on proper interpretation and implementation of the model food code standardization exercises conducted in every region of the U.S.

EAS Short Videos Describe Services to the Food Industry

EAS offers a wealth of regulatory consulting capabilities in all FDA commodity areas, as well as USDA and some state regulatory services as they pertain to food and dietary supplement products. EAS is creating short clips that discuss our capabilities and is posting them on our website. We invite you to learn more about our Product Development and Labeling services, FSMA, food and dietary supplement labeling as well as food additive services through these videos. We’ll be adding additional so stay tuned.

Dixon Helps Tobacco Firms Prepare for FDA Inspections in the Tobacco Reporte

Karen Dixon discusses critical points for helping tobacco firms prepare for FDA Inspections in this month’s issue of the Tobacco Reporter, including FDA’s inspection authority and how companies should prepare internally, including a having a detailed inspection plan in place. It is important to note that FDA inspections are not always preannounced, so companies in all industries are encouraged to have written and detailed SOPs as well as ready access to critical information that would be pertinent and requested as part of FDA’s inspection.

Probiotics Here to Stay Says DeMuri in Natural Products Insider

EAS Independent Consultant Steve DeMuri authored an article in Natural Products Insider on Probiotic health benefits of natural foods and supplements. With many reported health benefits currently being studied, “Probiotics are here to stay and now is the time for companies to conduct new product development to incorporate probiotics into the “tinkering process” that is part of all food technology and product development efforts,” he says.

Elizabeth Campbell and April Kates Discuss Clean Labels in Natural Products Insider

EAS Independent Advisor Elizabeth “Betty” Campbell and Independent Consultant, April Kates have co-written an article on how to keep “clean label” claims legal for Natural Products Insider. “Marketing a clean label can be a great way to for brands to connect to consumers,” they say, “but they need to ensure their statements don’t run afoul of a legal claim.”

EAS Presents Summer Webinar Series on Regulatory Topics Pertaining to Cannabis, Foreign FDA Inspections and Temporary Marketing Permits

Quality Systems for the Cannabis Industry – Preparing for State GMPs

Tara Lin Couch Ph.D., Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, will present a webinar on August 6, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern to help cannabis firms prepare for cannabis Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). Titled “Quality Systems for the Cannabis Industry, Preparing for State GMPs”, she will discuss how GMPs applications to this unique industry cannot be understated. While regulations vary from state to state the quality systems under which cannabis products are grown and manufactured have similarities that can begin to pave the way for putting practices and procedures in place to meet compliance expectations, including those of testing and quality control of in-process materials, finished batches and packaged/labeled products. The time is right for the cannabis industry to begin assessing manufacturing processes and implementing sound and effective quality systems in order to begin preparing for GMP regulations. Stay ahead of the curve, standardize your product quality and be a leader in your industry. Join Tara on August 6, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern for this free webinar by clicking here.

Preparing for Foreign FDA Inspections

Have you ever wondered why your foreign suppliers: API, intermediates, food ingredients, etc. are suddenly in trouble with regulatory authorities? Did they just go astray or is your auditing program not performing as designed? Actually, there are several things at play. EAS Independent Consultant, Peter Saxon, will shed some light on reasons FDA inspections can “go south” as well as provide insight on how disappointing results can be managed. Saxon has personally attended 90 FDA inspections of foreign facilities and another 15 inspections by other regulatory agencies (TGA, WHO, EDQM). His insights will provide an opportunity for companies to consider improvements to their internal audit structure to help minimize regulatory risks. Join us August 14, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern for a free webinar on Preparing for FDA Inspections where you will learn where most regulatory problems are found by the FDA, how OAI (Other Action Indicated) results are categorized by the FDA and what you can do to avoid these disappointing results.

Temporary Marketing Permits – Opportunity and Pitfalls of the Specialized FDA Application

Food Standards are an important component of FDA’s oversight, ensuring honesty and fairness to the consumer through requirements that provide for the basic nature of a standardized food to be uniform in terms of its characteristics as well as the ingredients that it must or may contain. But what happens when a newly developed food or production method warrants consideration of a product category outside of the standard? Petitioning to amend a food standard or to create a new one, is a lengthy and complicated process; however, a temporary solution may be available through a specialized category called a Temporary Marketing Permit (TMP’s). With TMP’s companies with novel standardized food innovations may apply to market test a food product that deviates from the standard of identity for that particular food, providing FDA with data needed to consider a future petition to amend the standard. Join Independent Consultant April Kates, on August 21, 2018, at 1:00 pm for this informative webinar on Opportunities and Pitfalls of Temporary Marketing Permits where you’ll learn best practices for submitting a successful TMP application.

FDA Releases Guidance Documents on Dietary Fiber Declarations

Dear Readers,

Welcome to EAS-e-News, a monthly newsletter produced by EAS Consulting Group and dedicated to FDA regulated industries.

We have sad news to share on the passing of Bill Ment who was a long-time friend and consultant to EAS. Please refer to the Who’s Who section of this issue for our tribute to Bill.

The Food Industry received a long-awaited answer to the question of how the agency will regulate dietary fiber when, on June 14, two guidance documents on how isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates relate to dietary fiber declarations were published. As you will read in this month’s Highlights of What’s New at FDA, written by Independent Advisor for Labeling and Claims, Betty Campbell and Independent Consultant and labeling expert, Gisela Leon, for almost two years industry has been in a state of uncertainty regarding at least 26 non-digestible carbohydrates under FDA’s review. Firms are encouraged to determine whether this new guidance affects the dietary fiber declarations of their products and revise labels as needed.

Our Issue of the Month article is written by Independent Consultant Charles Otto and discusses ten major updates in the 12th edition of FDA’s Food Code. This Code is the basis for food safety regulation of more than a million restaurants, retail food stores, institutional and other food operations in the US and around the world.

We welcome independent consultants Kristen Steel, Philip Scharago, and Beth Ann Crozier-Dodson, Ph.D. Kristen is a regulatory professional with a strong background in compliance and strategic partnerships within healthcare, CPG and foodservice environments. Philip is a pharmaceutical consultant with extensive knowledge of Quality Systems, Risk-Based Auditing, process validation, and equipment qualification for pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing. Beth Ann is an international consultant on food safety issues for industry, academia, and food and diagnostic kit industries. Read more in our Who’s Who section.

We have added two new webinars as part of our summer webinar series – Preparing for Foreign FDA Inspections and Opportunities and Pitfalls of Temporary Marketing Permits. We invite you to reserve your seat today!

EAS is excited to be exhibiting and speaking at IFT this month – please stop by our booth S322 if you will be in attendance. In addition, EAS is also an invited speaker at the International Association of Food Protection conference. Read more about what’s happening at EAS in EAS-in-Action.

I hope you enjoy this issue of EAS-e-News. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions and share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Ed

July 2018

  • From the Desk of the Chairman: FDA Releases Guidance Documents on Dietary Fiber Declarations
  • Issue of the Month: FDA Food Code 12th edition: What’s New?
  • Who’s Who at EAS
    • In Memoriam: Bill Ment
    • Meet Issue of the Month Author Charles Otto, III
    • Meet New EAS Consultants
  • FSMA Perspective: Produce Safety Rule’s July Compliance Dates
  • Drug and Device Corner
    • Recent FDA Drug / Medical Device Activity
  • Ask the Expert: OTC Monograph System Gets an Update
  • What’s New on FDA’s Website
    • Updated Guidance for Declaration of Dietary Fiber in Nutrition Labels
    • Food Safety Plan Builder Updates Released
  • EAS in Action
    • EAS Consultants to Present in Two Technical Sessions and the IFT 2018 Annual Meeting
    • EAS Present Summer Webinar Series on Regulatory Topics Pertaining to Cannabis, Foreign FDA Inspections and Temporary Marketing Permits
    • Rapid Testing Methods for the Dairy Industry to be Discussed at IAFP
    • Probiotics Here to Stay, Says DeMuri in Natural Products Insider
    • Couch Authors Tablets and Capsules Feature on the Importance of Quality Agreements
    • Elizabeth Campbell and April Kates Discuss Clean Labels in Natural Products Insider
    • Schebella Offers Tips for Designing Cannabis Food Edibles in the State of California in Cannabis Industry Journal
    • Dixon Helps Tobacco Firms Prepare for FDA Inspections in the Tobacco Reporter
    • Fairman Discusses the Potential Effects of Brexit on US-UK Food and Dietary Supplement Trade
    • EAS Short Videos Describe Services to the Food Industry
  • Useful Publications and Regulatory Tools

Meet New EAS Consultants

Philip Scharago is a pharmaceutical consultant with extensive knowledge of ISO 13485, 14971, QSR GMP 820, ICH, MDD/EU, ICH, CGMP, Quality Systems, Risk-Based Auditing, process validation, and equipment qualification for pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing. He has more than twenty-five years working in the Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Industries in the areas of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs and extensive experience developing and improving quality systems to meet FDA requirements and remediation of FDA-483 observations and Warning Letters.

Kristen Steel is a regulatory professional with a strong background in healthcare marketing, compliance and strategic partnerships within healthcare, CPG, and foodservice environments. She works with project and database management, organizational management, FDA/USDA/DSHEA regulatory and labeling requirements, as well as an international framework as it relates to product labeling.

Beth Ann Crozier-Dodson, Ph.D., is an international consultant on food safety issues for industry, academia, and food and diagnostic kit industries. Dr. Crozier-Dodson has spoken in, designed and taught customized microbiology/food safety workshops across the globe. She is a member of numerous professional and honor societies and has received a USDA Commendation for Contribution to Public Health. Her areas of specialty include microbiology, laboratory setup, environmental testing, aeromicrobiology, validation testing, consulting, and plant and facility audits.

Food Safety Plan Builder Updates Released

FDA has released an updated version of the downloadable Food Safety Plan Builder tool designed to help owners and operators of food establishments with the development of a food safety plan that identified hazards requiring preventive controls to prevent foodborne illnesses specific to their facilities. All Food Safety Plans must contain those components that are needed to be in compliance with the 21 CFR part 117, or “CGMP & PC for Human Food rule” requirements in Subpart C – Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls. A Food Safety Plan is a set of written documents that are based on food safety principles and incorporates hazard analysis and preventive controls, including supply-chain programs and a recall plan; and delineates the procedures to be followed for monitoring, corrective actions, and verification. Those wishing to use the FSPB as their primary tool may wish to have a qualified third-party, such as EAS, review the plan for adequacy.

FDA Food Code 12th Edition – What’s New?

By Charles S. Otto, III, Independent Consultant

The FDA Food Code is used as the basis for food safety regulation of more than a million restaurants, retail food stores, institutional and other food operations in the US and around the world. It is updated every two years through a collaborative process with the Conference for Food Protection where all stakeholders have a voice in what is included in the next edition published by FDA. Allen Sayler, Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, in his March column in the EAS-e-News announced the release of the 2017 edition on February 12, 2018.

This article will focus on the 10 major changes in this 12th edition since the first modern risk- and the science-based code was issued by FDA in 1993. Twelve earlier editions had been published by FDA and the U.S. Public Health Service since 1934 that were more retail segment-specific guidance, i.e. food service, food store or food vending.

FDA Food Code only becomes a regulation when its requirements are adopted by local, state, and federal food programs for their segment of this vast industry. The new provisions also become the de facto standard of prudence for many companies, even before their operations are required by the local regulatory authorities to comply with it.

A summary of the 10 major updates in the 2017 edition of the FDA Food Code is provided below. This release also had many less significant changes and numerous editorial and clarification amendments.

Chapter 2 Management and Personnel
2-102 Certified Food Protection Manager

Required, for the first time, that the Person in Charge of the food establishment be a Certified Food Protection Manager. The program that awards this recognition must be accredited, meaning that it has been evaluated and listed by an accrediting agency, as conforming to national standards for organizations that certify individuals.

2-103 Monitoring of Food Temperatures

Added a new duty for the Person in Charge, ensuring employees are routinely monitoring food temperatures in hot and cold holding.

2-201 Salmonella Typhi and nontyphoidal Salmonella distinctions

Expanded on the changes begun in the 2013 Food Code in emphasizing the importance of nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS), such as S. enterica serotypes, that cause more than one million domestically acquired foodborne illnesses in the United States each year.

2-401 Bandages, Finger Cots or Finger Stalls

Required the use of a single-use glove to cover a bandage, finger cot or finger stall used on the wrist, hand or finger.

2-501 Written Vomit and Diarrhea Clean-Up Procedures

Required that a written plan be provided for cleanup of these bodily fluid discharges by employees or customers. A very good detailed explanation for the plan elements is provided in Food Code’s Public Health Reasons Annex.

Chapter 3 Food
3-401 Changed Cooking Times

Raised the cooking temperature dwell time for foods like comminuted meats requiring a cooking temperature of 68°C (155°F) from 15 seconds to 17 seconds. Lowered the cooking temperature dwell time for foods like poultry requiring a cooking temperature of 74°C (165°F) or above to < 1 second (instantaneous).

3-502 ROP Frozen Fish Labelling

Added criteria for fish that is reduced oxygen packaged at retail to bear a label indicating that it is to be kept frozen until time of use.

Chapter 8 Compliance and Enforcement
8-201 HACCP Plan

When a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan is required by a jurisdiction for variances including those for specialized processing at retail, more detailed information is required to be submitted for the jurisdictions review and approval.

8-402 Regulatory Training

Added requirement for the Regulatory Authority to ensure that authorized representatives, who inspect food establishments or conduct plan reviews for compliance with Food Code, have access to training and continuing education, as needed, to properly identify violations and apply the Food Code. You will see in this month’s FSMA Perspective that employee training is also a requirement of FSMA and documentation of that training should be kept and provided to FDA upon request during an inspection.

8-404 Utility Interruption Contingency Plan

Allowed the regulatory authority to agree to continue operations during an extended water or electrical outage, if written operational plans have been approved by the regulatory authority.

As mentioned with the changes outlined in Section 2-501, the Public Health Reasons in Annex 3 provide excellent plain English descriptions of the science and other details behind the requirements of the changed, as well as the older sections of FDA Food Code. Additional information can be provided by the adopting regulatory authority or by the FDA National Retail Food Team. Questions of FDA on the Food Code may be directed to RetailFoodProtectionTeam@fda.hhs.govor should you have questions which you would like to direct to EAS, contact Allen Sayler at ASayler@easconsultinggroup.com

In Memoriam: Bill Ment

Bill Ment who was a long-time friend and consultant to EAS. Bill had a 34-year career at FDA, where in his last agency role he served as the Laboratory Director in Baltimore, MD, with responsibility for a full range of FDA field lab sample analyses and research studies for imported and domestic products. Following FDA retirement in 1999, he began consulting with AAC Consulting Group and Kendle Regulatory Affairs, from which EAS Consulting Group grew. Thanks to Bill’s expertise and outstanding reputation both at FDA and as a consultant, he was quickly asked to join the ranks of EAS Independent Advisors, overseeing GMP Auditing Services. Bill performed many pharmaceutical, laboratory and dietary supplement audits of API and finished product manufacturers, and helped companies improve their laboratory and QC/QA operations. He was also instrumental in the development of the EAS Dietary Supplement Good Manufacturing Practices seminar, which has become an EAS flagship training program. Most importantly, Bill was a great friend to many at EAS where he often mentored new consultants, helping them to make the transition from industry or FDA to the consulting world. He was an easy-going man of great integrity, with an unbelievable work ethic and he will be truly missed. Please keep Bill’s family in your prayers as they go through this difficult time. Should you wish to make a contribution in Bill’s memory, here is a list of charities with meaning to Bill and his family.

OTC Monograph System Gets an Update

By Susan Crane

This month’s Ask the Expert is answered by EAS Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane. Susan specializes in quality and regulatory compliance for over-the-counter (OTC) and dietary supplement products. She has a thorough knowledge of federal regulations pertaining to the marketing, labeling, and distribution of OTC drugs and dietary supplements.

Each month EAS chooses one question sent in by a reader of EAS-e-News. To submit your question, use the Contact Us link on our website.

Question: Why is FDA updating the OTC monograph system?

Crane: The current OTC monograph system has been in use since the 1970’s and has proven to be a lengthy and cumbersome rule-making process for finalizing, or making changes to the monographs. Several monographs have been in the “Tentative Final” stage for 40 years, while hundreds of active ingredients still lack FDA determination as to their safety and effectiveness. The FDA simply lacks the resources to manage the system as it currently exists.

To address the problem, the FDA, in consultation with other stakeholders, worked with Congress to draft legislation. The resulting Over-the-Counter Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act is currently moving through the legislative process with bipartisan support so is expected to pass and be signed into law, hopefully before the mid-term elections in November.

The reforms include, but are not limited to:

  • replacing the current rule-making process with a more efficient “administrative order” process
  • providing FDA with funding through a new user fee program
  • providing mechanisms to allow FDA to more quickly address safety issues that arise
  • encouraging innovation by offering exclusivity to manufacturers for new active ingredients or conditions for use

EAS is monitoring the legislation and will provide details as they become available.

Fairman Discusses the Potential Effects of Brexit on US-UK Food and Dietary Supplement Trade

The U.K.’s departure from the EU sparks uncertainty in future trade agreements with the United States, which may not be finalized until after Brexit occurs, says Heather Fairman in a recent article for Natural Products Insider. “For U.S. supplement companies that currently are actively exporting/importing products to the U.K., a watchful eye should be kept on the Brexit transition.”

Couch Authors Tablets and Capsules Feature on the Importance of Quality Agreements

Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. has published an article in Tablets and Capsules magazine on the importance of quality agreements for dietary supplement manufacturers. “The dietary supplement industry, like the pharmaceutical and food industries, relies heavily on contractors and subcontractors. However, no matter who does what along the supply chain, the product owner is ultimately responsible for GMP compliance,” she says.

Schebella Offers Tips for Designing Cannabis Food Edibles in the State of California in Cannabis Industry Journal

Independent Consultant Celia Schebella discusses tips for designing a cannabis edible in the state of California that meets customer expectations and regulatory requirements in Cannabis Industry Journal. Designing a cannabis food product with GMPs, local regulations, ingredient sourcing and scalability in mind can help companies succeed, she says.

Rapid Testing Methods for the Dairy Industry to be Discussed at IAFP

Independent Consultant David Blomquist will discuss rapid testing methods for safety and spoilage in the dairy industry at the upcoming International Association of Food Protection’s annual meeting which will take place July 8-10, 2018 in Salt Lake City. IAFP provides an opportunity for professionals to discuss current and emerging food safety issues, the latest science and innovative solutions to new and recurring problems.

Updated Guidance for Declaration of Dietary Fiber in Nutrition Labels

Before 2016, FDA regulations for nutrition labeling did not define the term “dietary fiber” but in 2016, FDA issued regulation defining dietary fiber as two types of fiber: [1] non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; and [2] isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates determined by FDA to have acknowledged beneficial physiological effects. The FDA regulation listed 7 ingredients that had been found to have a beneficial physiological effect.

On June 14th, 2018, a little over 18 months before the compliance date for the new nutrition labeling, FDA issued two guidance documents regarding how isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates relate to the dietary fiber declaration. These guidance documents resolve nearly two years of uncertainty for at least 26 non-digestible carbohydrates under FDA review for their potential beneficial physiological effect.

FDA stated in one guidance document that the agency had found a beneficial physiological effect for 8 more ingredients and would use enforcement discretion to allow manufacturers to immediately reevaluate their fiber ingredients for inclusion in the dietary fiber declaration. The second document contained the scientific evaluation of data showing a beneficial physiological effect for those 8 ingredients.

The list of FDA-approved isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates with acknowledged beneficial physiological effects now include the following 15 substances:

  1. [beta]-glucan soluble fiber (as described in 101.81(c)(2)(ii)(A))
  2. psyllium husk (as described in 101.81(c)(2)(ii)(B))
  3. cellulose
  4. guar gum
  5. pectin
  6. locust bean gum
  7. hydroxypropyl-methylcellulose
  8. mixed plant cell wall fibers
  9. arabinoxylan
  10. alginate
  11. inulin and inulin-type fructans
  12. high amylose starch (resistant starch 2)
  13. galactooligosaccharide
  14. polydextrose
  15. resistant maltodextrin/dextrin.

The agency describes “Mixed plant cell wall fibers” as a large group of fibers that include cellulose, pectin, β-glucan, and/or arabinoxylan. FDA listed several examples of ingredients that include these fiber components, including apple fiber, citrus fiber, pea hull fiber and many others.

With the evaluation decisions in the new guidance, the list of 26 non-digestible carbohydrates under FDA evaluation as dietary fiber has now been shortened to 9. The ingredients where no determination has been reached include commonly used fibers such as gum acacia, carboxymethylcellulose, karaya gum, pullulan, xanthan gum and some other starches.

With the publication of these new documents, firms are encouraged to verify whether the updated guidance affects the dietary fiber declaration of their products. Nutrition information in recently created Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts panels might need to be updated. EAS consultants are available to assist in evaluating ingredients in light of the new guidance and revising labels accordingly.

June 2018 Drug and Device Corner

Federal Register Notice Vol 83, No. 108

FDA is publishing an order to exempt a list of class II devices from premarket notification (510(k)) requirements, subject to certain limitations. This exemption from 510(k), subject to certain limitations, is immediately in effect for the listed class II devices. This exemption will decrease regulatory burdens on the medical device industry and will eliminate private costs and expenditures required to comply with certain Federal regulations. FDA is also amending the codified language for the listed class II devices to reflect this final determination. FDA is publishing this order in accordance with the section of the FD&C Act permitting the exemption of a device from the requirement to submit a 510(k).

FDA Withdraws Draft Guidance for Industry: Statistical Approaches to Evaluate Analytical Similarity

[6/21/2018] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the withdrawal of a draft guidance for industry entitled “Statistical Approaches to Evaluate Analytical Similarity,” issued in September 2017. The draft guidance, if finalized as written, was intended to provide advice for sponsors developing biosimilar products regarding the evaluation of analytical similarity between a proposed biosimilar product and the reference product. After considering public comments that the agency received about the draft guidance, the FDA determined it would withdraw the draft guidance as it gives further consideration to the scientific and regulatory issues involved. Comments submitted to the docket addressed a range of issues that could impact the cost and efficiency of biosimilar development, including the number of reference product lots the draft guidance would recommend biosimilar developers sample in their evaluation of high similarity and the statistical methods for this evaluation. The FDA believes that in better addressing these issues in the future, the agency can advance principles that can promote a more efficient pathway for the development of biosimilar products.

The agency intends to issue future draft guidance that will reflect state-of-the-art techniques in the evaluation of analytical data to support a demonstration that a proposed biosimilar product is highly similar to a reference product.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

All Centers

Medical Product Communications That Are Consistent With the FDA-Required Labeling – Q & A

CDER

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Infection: Developing Systemic Drug Products for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Prescription Drug User Fee Act Waivers for Fixed-Combination Antiretroviral Drugs for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Complicated Urinary Tract Infections: Developing Drugs for Treatment

Assessment of Pressor Effects of Drugs

Complicated Intra-Abdominal Infections: Developing Drugs for Treatment

Major Depressive Disorder: Developing Drugs for Treatment

CDER & CBER

Limited Population Pathway for Antibacterial and Antifungal Drugs

Patient-Focused Drug Development: Collecting Comprehensive and Representative Input

Considerations for the Inclusion of Adolescent Patients in Adult Oncology Clinical Trials

Development of a Shared System REMS

Waivers of the Single, Shared System REMS

Q12 Technical and Regulatory Considerations for Pharmaceutical Product Lifecycle Management – Core Guideline

Q12 Technical and Regulatory Considerations for Pharmaceutical Product Lifecycle Management – Annex

Prescription Drug User Fee Act Waivers, Reductions, and Refunds for Drug and Biological Products

CDRH

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes for In Vitro Diagnostic Tests

Intravascular Catheters, Wires and Delivery Systems with Lubricious Coatings – Labeling Considerations

Coronary, Peripheral and Neurovascular Guidewires – Performance Tests and Recommended Labeling

Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) Program

Recommended Content and Format of Complete Test Reports for Non-Clinical Bench Performance Testing in Premarket Submissions

CDER & CDRH

Drug and Device Manufacturer Communications with Payors, Formulary Committees, and Similar Entities Q & A

CDER & CBER

S9 Nonclinical Evaluation for Anticancer Pharmaceuticals Q & A

Epidermolysis Bullosa: Developing Drugs for Treatment of Cutaneous Manifestations

Requests for Feedback and Meetings for Medical Device Submissions: The Q-Submission Program

CVM

General Principles for Evaluating the Human Food Safety of New Animal Drugs Used in Food-Producing Animals

Murphy to Present on Raw Milk and Processed Dairy Products at ADSA

Independent Consultant Steven Murphy will speak at the upcoming June 24-27, 2018 American Dairy Safety Association Annual Meeting in a session called “Time for Change; Indicators of Public Health Concern for Raw Milk and Processed Dairy Products”. Mr. Murphy’s presentation will take place on June 26 at 22:45 pm. Says Murphy, “Regulatory standards used as indicators of conditions considered public health risks for Grade “A” milk and milk products fall under FDA’s Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). These standards have not changed in decades and this overview will present a perspective based on current science on where changes are warranted.”

Blomquist to Present on Rapid Testing Methods at the IAFP

Independent Consultant, David Blomquist, will speak on “Rapid Testing Methods for Safety and Spoilage in the Dairy Industry – What Is Needed, What Works and What Does Not” on July 9, 2018, at the International Association of Food Protection Conference. Says Blomquist, “The dairy industry has been a leader in sanitation and hygiene for over a century. As food safety becomes more critical for all industries, methods to determine the quality of dairy products rapidly becomes more critical.” This session will focus on different technologies that have the potential to determine low levels of spoilage organisms in a variety of dairy products and will discuss the strengths and weakness of each. If you are attending the IAFP, we hope you will join us for this session.

EAS has much expertise in regulatory assistance to the dairy industry. For more information on our capabilities view our Dairy Industry Services Sheet.

Couch to Present at the CRN Conference on Implementing Compliance Controls

Tara Lin Couch Ph.D.Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., will be speaking at the upcoming Council for Responsible Nutrition Conference on Implementing Compliance Controls to Meet New Sophisticated cGMP Standards. This conference is taking place June 18-20, 2018 in New York City at the InterContinental New York Times Square and Dr. Couch, speaking as part of a panel, will present on June 19 at 4:45 pm. The panel will discuss items such as:

  • Understanding the FDA’s more sophisticated approach to dietary supplement cGMPs
  • Petitioning the FDA for an exemption to the 100% identity requirement for ingredient testing
  • Assessing the impact of program alignment under Dr. Gottlieb
  • Reassessing cGMPs in the context of cleanliness, safety, and testing for raw materials as based on this new approach
  • Identifying the right test for the right ingredient within the context of cGMP standards
  • Comprehending how this potential enforcement ramp-up may lead to an uptick in 483 observations

We hope you’ll join Dr. Couch at this informative event!

Armstrong Authors Article on Mergers and Acquisitions for Natural Products Insider

Steve ArmstrongIndependent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong, has authored an article for Natural Products Insider on buying a 21st-century food company and mergers and acquisitions. “A health and nutrition startup should resolve any potential issues with its quality control, labeling and advertising practices before it is acquired,” he says.

EAS offers a number of services to attorneys working in the area of due diligence and mergers and acquisitions. For more information on these services please review our Food and Drug Attorney Services Sheet.

OTC Monograph Webinar Postponed Due to Pending Legislation

As you may be aware, Congress is currently working on legislation to update the Over-the-Counter (OTC) monograph system. This legislation, the Over-the-Counter Drug Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act, has bipartisan support in Congress as well as the backing of the FDA, industry and other public health organizations. As such, it is expected to pass and be signed into law by the President before the mid-term elections in November.

Due to the significant changes ahead, EAS has decided to postpone the webinar “The OTC Monograph System – Past, Present, and Future originally scheduled for July, and will instead monitor this legislation and present the webinar after the passage of the bill. This will enable us to provide you with better information on how to market your OTC products going forward.

Meet New EAS Consultants June 2018

Charles Otto

Charles Otto is a former Environmental Health Officer and Deputy Chief at the CDC where he provided guidance on all aspects of environmental health to the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program staff, member cruise lines, shipyards, and other global collaborators for the prevention of environmentally-related illnesses. He has worked at FDA as the Assistant Director in the Division of Cooperative Programs as well as the Retail Food Protection Branch where he developed national Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) implementation strategies for retail food protection, interstate travel program, milk safety, and shellfish sanitation programs and furnished comprehensive field training on proper interpretation and implementation of the model food code standardization exercises conducted in every region of the U.S.

Robert Kapp Ph.D.

Robert Kapp, Ph.D. has over 30 years’ experience as a toxicologist involved with the management, development, and safety of new and existing products in a broad spectrum of industries including chemical, petrochemical, food, consumer products, and pharmaceuticals. He has experience in preclinical program study design, study reports, occupational and industrial toxicology, evaluating clinical and product safety data; in training and managing staff in laboratory operations; evaluating contract research organizations and various compliance issues in the US as well as abroad. Dr. Kapp has experience in writing critical position papers, GRAS notifications, 510(k) submissions, US EPA Premarketing Notifications, toxicology profiles, Safety Data Sheets and labels in the US and in global markets. Prior to consulting Dr. Kapp worked as Director, Toxicology Laboratory at Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in toxicology from George Washington University.

Sanaullah Khan, Ph.D.

Sanullah Khan has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Kansas, MBA from Rutgers University and MS in Bioscience Regulatory Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. He has worked in the Pharmaceutical industry since 1996, in the areas of R&D, technical operations and worldwide quality and compliance. His expertise in GLPs and GMPs range from discovery to filing and post-market quality oversight. R&D functions include developing and validating analytical methods to support non-clinical and clinical studies, and Worldwide Quality and Compliance responsibilities have included investigation of out of specification (OOS) and out of trend (OOT) results. As a quality consultant, Dr. Khan provides support for overseeing QC laboratory operations, conducts investigations of OOS results and manufacturing deviations and data integrity. He performs manufacturing and laboratory equipment qualifications, cleaning validation and batch record review, drafting of SOPs, qualification protocols and Master Production Records for pharmaceutical and Biologics companies.

John J. Brennan, Ph.D.

John J. Brennan, Ph.D. is a former Senior Project Leader in Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development at AbbVie in North Chicago, Illinois. At Abbvie he served as the Enterprise Leader for 3 Global Asset Development teams accountable for creating and executing development strategies in several therapeutic disciplines including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis and diabetic nephropathy (SONAR Phase 3 Trial). His areas of interest include First-in-Man, Proof-of-Concept, Proof-of-Principle, and late-stage registration studies and lifecycle management. Prior to joining AbbVie, he worked at Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Global Project Management and as a Therapeutic Area Leader in Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Brennan is a graduate of Temple University and received the Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences).

Robert P. Lavieri

Robert P. Lavieri is an expert in the development and delivery of Governance programs for the development of sustainable compliance systems. His expertise in design, development, and implementation of Standard Operating Procedures, Best Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP’s) and technical expertise across a broad range of compliance areas such as OSHA, EPA, FDA (Food Safety), DOT enable him to offer benchmarked results for clients. Mr. Lavieri is also a frequently requested trainer, educating manufacturers on HAZWOPER, Process Safety Management, Risk Management Program, Process Hazard Analysis (HAZOP, FMEA, FMCA, etc.) as well as Hazardous Communication (chemical safety).

Dietary Supplement GMP Online Short Course Available for Purchase

EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., along with attorney Marc Ullman from Rivkin Radler, and EAS Independent Advisor for Quality and Compliance, Robert Fish, held a Dietary Supplement Short Course, consisting of four hours of regulatory content, recently. It is now available to view as an on-demand webinar on the EAS website. This video is $99 to view for non-EAS clients and free to view for EAS clients.

The GMP short course is a great tool for those seeking a broader overview of GMPs, as it covers the basics of working in a GMP environment including personal hygiene, sanitation, the use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and Good Documentation Practices (GDPs) and addresses the top 5 observations cited in FDA Warning Letters since 2010. To access the short course, click here. EAS clients may use discount code [clientwebinar], non-EAS clients will be billed upon viewing.

May Drug and Device Corner

In the ongoing effort to make more affordable drugs available to the public, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD issued a statement on the FDA’s efforts to assist in this process. Of particular note is the FDA’s commitment to ensuring generic drug developers have access to brand drug samples for their development process. You can read the commissioners statement here.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has progressed with legislation to reform and modernize the OTC Monograph System. Included in this reform is a discussion of an OTC user fee program similar to that of PDUFA, GDUFA, and BsUFA. The FDA sees an OTC monograph user fee program as a means of resources that would encourage innovation and fund the necessary regulatory system update. Currently, each ingredient-specific monograph must be finalized through a multi-step public rulemaking process. This new legislation is proposing an administrative order process to replace the current procedures. EAS will keep you updated as this legislation evolves.

We want to bring to your attention the recently released Enforcement Policy – OTC Sunscreen Drug Products Marketed Without an Approved Application Guidance Document. In this guidance, the FDA articulates its enforcement approach for OTC sunscreen drug products that are being marketed without an approved application as well as those included in the final monograph (for which the effective date has indefinitely stayed.) We highly recommend reviewing this document to find out where your sunscreen products fall in regard to the formulation, testing, and labeling requirements and how this new enforcement policy may affect their continued marketing. To read FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD’s statement regarding sun exposure and sunscreens, please follow this link.

The FDA has announced in the Federal Register Vol 83, No. 87 their final order regarding the General Hospital and Personal Use Needle Destruction Device. Effective 4 June 2018, this device will be renamed “sharps needle destruction device” and reclassified from a class III device (regulated under product code MTV) into class II (special controls) which will make it subject to premarket notification. The reclassification will lessen the burden on industry for marketing such devices while still ensuring reasonable safety and effectiveness for users.

The FDA has published in the Federal Register Vol 83, No 94 a proposed amendment to regulations concerning the classification of products as biological products, devices, drugs or combination products. The agency will be accepting e-comments on their proposed amendment until midnight ET 16 July 2018.

The FDA has a webpage dedicated to Drug Supply Chain Security Act readiness, please follow the link for further information. There have also been 3 draft guidance documents released in 2018 regarding the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. The link will bring you to the FDA page listing each of these documents.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website

CDER

CDER & CBER

CVM

New Brewers Need to Know GMPs

By Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA

The explosion in the numbers of new breweries is a blessing for beer drinkers and their communities. In FDA’s eye, beer is food, and while exempt from preventive control requirements, brewers must comply with good manufacturing practice regulations, GMPs.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system into one that is based on the prevention of foodborne illnesses by putting into place measures that will effectively prevent contamination. As any responsible grower, manufacturer, packer, and transporter know, keeping food safe to eat is paramount, no matter where it is produced, whether conventional or organic, whether the operation is small, medium or large, or whether it’s produce or process. Good Manufacturing Practices are critical to FSMA’s success.

A major new GMP component is the appropriate training of all employees to comply with GMPs. From managers to line staff, no matter the job and no matter the spoken language – everyone must understand and be able to apply those requirements that apply to their role in producing food. In FDA’s view, without this training, education and related experience, an employee is not qualified to act in their role or perform assigned duties. FSMA training encompasses everyone involved in the food industry, including domestic and foreign food producers and domestic importers.

Because the food industry, including brewers, is so varied, it is plain that a one size approach to training does not fit all. The most important goal for FDA is safe food, and the agency expects training programs to contribute to its accomplishment — that training advances knowledge in the food industry to meet FSMA requirements. Individuals must receive training in the principles of food hygiene and food safety, including the importance of employee health and hygiene as appropriate to the food, the facility, and the individual’s assigned duties.

There are a variety of FSMA training options available. FDA has a detailed webpage for many of the options including standardized trainings designed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and coordinated by Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health which offers technical information to help the domestic and foreign food industry comply with the requirements of the Preventive Controls rules for human and animal food, as well as the rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP).

Those looking for FSMA compliance training need look no further than EAS. Many EAS Independent Consultants are Lead Instructors and we offer FDA recognized training programs as part of our FSMA educational curriculum.

EAS also hosts and participates in many industry webinars discussing the various aspects of FSMA, specifics of compliance and practical steps to bring facilities and operations into compliance.

Additionally, EAS is often an invited speaker as part of technical sessions at industry events such as the upcoming IFT Annual Meeting (where EAS will be moderating two sessions on FSMA) and the recent Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit, (where Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, spoke on which parts and how FSMA applies to the dietary supplement industry).

EAS Consulting Group is a one-stop shop when it comes to education, assessing readiness, updating GMPs and other SOPs to bring processes into FSMA compliance and more. Our FSMA team takes great pride in the breadth and depth of services we offer.

Should you and your employees seeking FSMA training, look no further than EAS as we have a number of upcoming training seminars and on-demand informative sessions from which to choose.

And numerous On-Demand Webinars including:

Implementing a robust training program as part of your company’s FSMA compliance is a must and EAS Consulting Group offers many tools to help you get there.

EAS to Moderate Two Panels at IFT Annual Meeting, Exhibits at booth #S322

IFTEAS will be well represented at the upcoming IFT Annual Meeting taking place in Chicago, July 15-18, 2018. EAS Chairman and CEO, Ed Steele, President and COO, Dean Cirotta and Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, will be manning the EAS booth (#S322) and taking questions from conference attendees about the latest compliance requirements of FSMA as well as new services such as our Strategic Product Development and Labeling and our collaboration with FoodMinds on challenging marketing initiatives.

Charles BreenIn addition, Charles Breen, EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA will moderate two session panels as part of the IFT technical program, one on the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and another on Preventive Controls for Human Food. EAS Independent Consultant Susan Moyers, Ph.D. will be a panelist on both. Both sessions will be held in McCormick Place – S502AB.

The first session, Preventive Controls for Human Foods: Successes and Challenges for FDA and the Food Industry, will take place Monday, July 16 at 10:30-12:00 pm. In addition to Dr. Moyers, panelists will include Jeffrey Acker, Vice President of Food Safety and Compliance, Dairy Farmers of America; Joanne Givens, Director of the Office of Human and Animal Food Operations-West, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Food and Drug Administration and Robert Brackett, Ph.D., Illinois Institute of Technology Vice President and Director of IIT Institute of Food Safety and Health.

The next session, Food Importing – Green Light Strategies for Compliance with Game-Changing FSVP Requirements will take place Tuesday, July 17 at 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. In addition to Dr. Moyers panelists will include Robert Brackett and Gabriel Pascual, Founding Director & Managing Officer, Agency for Development of Export Markets (ADEM).

We look forward to seeing you at IFT and invite you to contact us in advance at asayler@easconsultinggroup.comto set up an appointment at the show to discuss your particular regulatory challenges.

EAS Authors Article in MedTech Intelligence on the New De Novo Pathway

EAS authored an article for MedTech Intelligence on FDA’s new approach to the regulatory pathway for De Novo medical device classification which simplifies the approval process for the class I or class II devices for which there is no one-to-one precedent or predicate. De Novo applications are appropriate in cases where it appears that the device meets the statutory standards for classification into Class I or Class II under section 513(a)(1) of the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act, and when the sponsor has determined that the device does not fall within any existing classification regulation.

EAS offers a number of services to the medical device industry. For more information, click here.

Why is Codex Alimentarius Important to Me?

By Allen Sayler

This month’s Ask the Expert is answered by Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, who recently returned from the 50th session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives held in Xiamen, China where 53 countries and 32 food industry observer organizations participated. Mr. Sayler has been an active food industry representative attending various Codex Committee meetings since 1997. Each month EAS experts tackle one question sent in by readers. To ask your question, please use our Contact Us form on the website.

Question: As a small, medium or large food manufacturer, why are Codex food standards important to me? I don’t export outside of the US and I don’t use imported materials in my production.

Sayler: The adoption of Codex food standards is intended to result in a similar change to individual country food standards, so they are similar or identical to Codex standards. This will affect all US food manufacturers, even those that do not export foods to other countries.

While Codex Alimentarius standards are voluntary, all participating governments (approximately 190) have agreed that as Codex adopts food standards, member countries should start changing their food standards to reflect these internationally-recognized Codex standards. If a country like the US does not start the process of changing its food standards to be similar to the Codex standards, and another Codex member country challenges this, the dispute is resolved using the World Trade Organization’s “Dispute Settlement Body”. The loser has to either change its food standards, pay the winner a fee comparable to the lost income from not having access to the loser’s markets or agreed that some of the loser’s food exports will be blocked by the winning country(s). While US government adoption of Codex food standards has been slow, over time, it is likely that US food standards will be changed.

Background Information: The Codex Alimentarius Commission, (meaning “Food Code” in Latin), is a United Nations-supported organization that develops food standards, guidelines, and operational principles in order to protect consumer health and facilitate international trade. These documents range from food quality and safety requirements, pesticide, and vet. drug residues, food additives, food hygiene, food contaminants, labeling as well as new food standards for fruits and vegetables, seafood, dairy products, etc. All Codex documents are intended to be scientifically-based in order to protect the health of those consuming the food. Specific country and regional standards, preferences and non-scientific requirements are not intended to override applicable Codex standards.

Using the recent Codex Committee on Food Additive meeting in China as an example, over 500 new food additive provisions were adopted while another 200 were blocked from adoption or removed from the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA). In addition, all food additives in the various Codex food standards are being methodically moved into the GSFA, which means some of importance to the food manufacturing industry may be dropped or maximum use level changed. Differences in each country’s food additive regulations are one of the primary reasons for blocking food imports.

There are many examples where Codex standards have been adopted as the national standard of food safety and policy, and even more examples where exporting countries have found that adoption of Codex standards to be a key to success due to its reference in bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements. Countries that wish to adopt Codex standards as their own national standard may receive support in doing so. The important work of the Codex Commission has created a greater worldwide awareness of food safety, quality, and consumer protection issues.

Last month you may have taken the opportunity to read the article written by Bruce Silverglade in EAS-e-News on the US Codex office’s move within the USDA and new opportunities that may provide food companies. Answers to more specific questions on the US Codex Alimentarius Commission or FAO Codex can be addressed to asayler@eassconsultinggroup.com.

Medical Device Innovations and the Regulatory Landscape

Dear Reader,

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to the June edition of the EAS-e-News. Summer is upon us but FDA is not slowing down with updates, enforcement, and impMedical Device Innovations and the Regulatory Landscaperovements to efficiency.

On the OTC monograph front, reforms are moving forward which will allow for a more streamlined regulatory process, faster safety label changes, and resources for agency oversight of OTCs as well as to enable innovation. Approximately 60% of medicines sold in the U.S. are OTCs, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, and improvements to the process of OTC regulation will greatly enhance the industry from both and manufacturer and consumer perspective. You may read more about this reform in the Drug/Device Corner.

EAS has added two new training seminars scheduled for October in Alexandria, VA. The FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCHF)and FSPCA Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP)will take place October 1-3 and October 3-4 respectively. EAS is proud that many of our independent consultants are lead instructors for this FDA recognized training which meets the FSMA intent of a having a “Preventive Controls Qualified Individual” on staff who is able to oversee FSMA compliance at a facility.

Our FSMA Perspective, written by Charles Breen, our Independent Advisor for FSMA, discusses training requirements for GMPs which apply to all industries and is now mandated under FSMA. Meeting this training requirement can be challenging, particularly to those segments which newly fall under the FSMA umbrella such as the craft beer industry. Charles lays out some important training considerations and EAS offers opportunities to meet the requirements through the FSPCA training, as well as providing webinars which offer a broad overview of regulatory requirements.

Registrations for our upcoming Food Labeling and Dietary Supplement Labelingseminars which are taking place in Kansas City, MO at the end of September are strong. If you are in need of compliance training in these areas please join us. The Food Labeling Compliance Seminar also offers 16 CECs through the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

In our Issue of the Month, Dawn Wydner discusses the regulatory landscape for medical devices saying that new technologies are rapidly changing the way device manufacturers operate. The increase in minimally invasive methods, devices that reduce lengthy recoveries, tissue engineered devices, advances in diagnostic and “smart” products all offer substantially better-informed diagnoses and treatments, as well as unique compliance challenges.

Our Ask the Expert is answered by Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, and addresses the question of why Codex standards are important, even when companies don’t export product or import ingredients and materials from outside the U.S. You may remember, Allen recently returned from a Codex food additive meeting in China, where over 500 new food additive provisions were adopted while another 200 were blocked from adoption or removed from the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA). Paying close attention to Codex standards definitely does matter.

EAS welcomes new Independent Consultants Charles Otto, Robert Kapp, Ph.D., Sanaullah Khan, John J. Brennan, Ph.D. and Robert Lavieri. Charles Otto is a former Environmental Health Officer and Deputy Chief at the CDC where he provided guidance on all aspects of environmental health to the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program staff, member cruise lines, shipyards, and other global collaborators; Robert Kapp is a toxicologist involved with the development and safety of new and existing products in the chemical, petrochemical, food, consumer products, and pharmaceuticals industries; John J. Brennan, Ph.D. is a former Senior Project Leader in Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development at AbbVie; and Robert Lavieri has extensive expertise in the development of SOPs and GMPs as well as technical expertise across a broad range of compliance areas such as OSHA, EPA, and FDA. I invite you to read more about their backgrounds in the Who’s Who section of this issue.

EAS is speaking and moderating in a number of industry events in the next few months, from the American Dairy Safety Association (ADSA), International Association of Food Protection (IAFP), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) to two panels at the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT), EAS continues to be invited speakers, providing the latest regulatory information to a wide industry audience. If you are planning to attend any of these events, please stop by and say hello.

Lastly, I wish to recognize two consultants who have been named to the USDA National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, Dr. Omar Oyarzabal, who is a returning member and Dr. Kathy Glass who is a newly elected member. Those who participated in our hugely popular webinar on FSMA’s impact on Acidified Foods will remember Dr. Oyarzabal. This webinar generated so many questions that EAS authored a Q&A published in Food Safety Tech Magazine, based on the presentation. Dr. Glass was one of a panel of presenters that included Mickey Parish, a senior science advisor with FDA CFSAN and Elizabeth Fawell, counsel at the law firm Hogan Lovells in a webinar covering FDA enforcement for Listeria in food processing. Congratulations to both Dr. Oyarzabal and Dr. Glass!

Thank you as always for your interest in EAS and I hope you enjoy this latest edition of EAS-e-News. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues and please feel free to reach out should you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Ed Steele
Chairman and CEO

USDA Announces Members of NACMCF – Two EAS Independent Consultants are Included

The names of new and returning members of the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) have been announced and the committee now includes two EAS Independent Consultants. Returning member, Dr. Omar Oyarzabal who is a professor at the University of Vermont and newly elected member, Dr. Kathy Glass, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The NACMCF was established in 1998 by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Department of Defense and the committee provides impartial scientific advice on issues pertaining to food safety. Says Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture, “The committee members represent a diverse group from academia, consumers, the food industry, laboratories, consultants and government agencies, all of which play an important role in providing scientific advice and expertise to USDA on food safety and wholesomeness.”

FDA Expands Data Dashboard to Include FSMA

A new section of the FDA Data Dashboard has been launched to help importers and manufacturers/processors meet supply-chain requirements under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by helping them more easily find compliance and enforcement information related to specific firms. Three of the FSMA rules contain supply-chain requirements: the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs rule, the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule, and Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule.

The Data Dashboard allows users to search multiple databases. The data used to generate the dashboard graphs and search results are based on data already available to the public through the FDA.gov website. The datasets and data include the Inspections Database, Recalls, Import Alerts and selected data elements from the compliance and enforcement related information on FDA.gov. Additional data will be included in future releases of the Dashboard. You may find the location and additional information about each dataset and other data sources by clicking on the Compliance Dashboards or FSMA Data Search options above.

To assist with the evaluation process, FDA created a Supplier Evaluation Resources page to help importers and manufacturers/processors find relevant compliance and enforcement information for their suppliers, but that page required them to search multiple databases.

Preventive Controls for Human Food and Foreign Supplier Verification Program FSPCA Courses Offered

EAS Independent Consultant and FSPCA recognized lead instructor, Jenifer Kane, will co-instruct two FSPCA courses with Independent Consultant and trainer Susan Moyers, Ph.D. on the intricacies of Preventive Controls for Human Food as well as the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Both courses will take place in early October in Alexandria, VA.

The Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (referred to as the Preventive Controls for Human Food Regulation) is intended to ensure safe manufacturing/processing, packing and holding of food products for human consumption in the U.S. and requires that certain activities must be completed by a “preventive controls qualified individual” who has “successfully completed training in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls”. This course meets FDA’s requirement. Join EAS October 1-3, 2018 in Alexandria for this 2.5 intensive training. Earlybird discounts are available through August 14, 2018.

Next, the “Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)” requires importers to verify that their foreign suppliers of food, food ingredients and food additives imported into the US market are compliant with all parts of the FSMA and its “Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCHF) and “Preventive Controls for Animal Feeds (PCAF”) regulations. EAS’ two-day intensive FSVP Compliance Seminar will explain in detail FSVP rules, risk exposure by importers as well as US-based food processors using foreign sources of foods, food ingredients, and food additives. Join us October 3-4, 2018 for this 1.5-day training. Earlybird rates are in effect through August 14, 2018.

Meet Issue of the Month Author Dawn Wydner

Dawn Wydner, consults in pharma and medical devices, providing proactive compliance and application of quality oversight in all aspects of operational strategy, coordination and conduct. Prior to consulting she was the Senior Director of BioResearch, Quality, and Compliance at Janssen Research & Development, LLC where she oversaw GxP regulatory requirements and compliance issues and provided guidance on GCP/GLP mock inspections and audits of clinical investigators, CROs, SMOs, sponsors/monitors, animal laboratories and IRBs. She is a sought-after speaker, sharing her expertise on topics such as Sponsor Monitor Inspection Management and Expectations, Inspection Readiness and FDA Trends, Analytical Risk Management.

Medical Device Innovations and the Regulatory Landscape

By Dawn Wydner, Independent Consultant

I’m amazed as I watch a Health Care System and then a Spectrum commercial to what our future holds with the sophisticated, interactive medical device and technology innovations and how they will enhance the capabilities of diagnosis and treatment. My regulatory mind then kicks in and wonders how these amazing innovations will pose operational and data reliability challenges for both industry and regulators in areas ranging from clinical trials to device design and development, and ultimately to the commercially approved and marketed devices.

For Federal Agencies and other institutions involved in the evaluation, funding, manufacturing, distribution, and clinical use of medical devices, it is clear that the landscape of these activities will be changing in considerable ways. The increase in minimally invasive methods and devices to reduce lengthy recoveries, developments in decentralized care, tissue engineered devices, advances in diagnostic and “smart” products, to the growing sophistication of electronic medical information systems hold for substantially better-informed diagnoses and treatments. Yet, these same developments will generate increased pressure for more effective data capturing systems and methods to handle the data, coupled with concerns related to device accountability, source, supply/availability, and quality.

Regulatory health authorities around the globe are taking steps to be prepared. Are you ready and will you be in compliance when new and upcoming regulations take effect…

Data Acceptance

The FDA issued a final rule, effective Feb. 21, 2019.

Under the new rule, FDA is requiring sponsors and applicants to affirm that clinical investigations outside the United States were conducted in accordance with Good Clinical Practices (GCPs) when the data are submitted for medical device applications.[1] The final rule also amends criteria for investigations conducted within the United States to require applicants and sponsors to state that the investigation complies with FDA regulations for human subject protection, institutional review boards, and investigational device exemptions (IDEs).[2] If an investigation is not conducted in accordance with those regulations, a brief statement of the reason for the noncompliance is required.[3,4]

The US FDA’s new requirements will affect device development strategies, including where to conduct such trials. The necessary patient population in the disease prevalent area of the clinical trial may not have the economic means for network availabilities to fully comply with the use of the sophisticated investigational device product. Education of ex-US trial sites will need to be enhanced, and cost of ensuring trial sites have adequate systems and equipment to effectively run and capture trial data will need to be considered as part of the strategic site selection process without creating bias.

European Union’s (EU) Medical Device Regulation (MDR)

The EU MDR is expected to come into effect in late 2019 or early 2020. This will give national regulators more control and oversight of the medical devices industry. The aim of the new regulation is to ensure that products are effective and safe as well as can be freely and fairly traded throughout the EU. The impact of this regulation can alter the operations of medical device manufacturers most notably on the supply chain and quality management systems of the organizations. It is critical that industry takes steps now to prepare their organizations and start implementing changes.

Data Integrity

Data integrity continues to be a priority and a hot topic. Regulators are focused to detect data integrity, data manipulation, and fraud. They must be able to rely upon the accuracy and completeness of the data and information generated, providing assurances to the products’ safety, identity, strength, purity, and quality which are all dependent on the validity of the data and information obtained.

Conclusion

Regulators are gaining more control and oversight of the medical devices industry. They are taking steps to prepare for the new innovations and enhanced capabilities of diagnosis and treatment with medical devices. It is important for medical device companies to proactively prepare for these changes as their impact could be significant. These include impacts on the cost of implementing changes to organizational prioritization and to internal processes around device accountability/supply, source, availability, and quality. If industry and regulators continue to maintain their role of ensuring compliance, new innovative devices can be made available, safely and effectively for patients, providing for better healthcare outcomes.


[1] US Food & Drug Admin., Human Subject Protection; Acceptance of Data from Clinical Investigations for Medical Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 7366(Feb. 21, 2018) (hereinafter Medical Device Rule).

[2] See 21 C.F.R. §§ 50, 56, 812.

[3] 21 C.F.R. § 812.27(b)(4)(ii).

[4] Medical Device Rule at 7370.

Gustavo Gonzalez Presents First FSVP Webinar Targeted to Spanish Speaking Audiences

Gustavo Gonzalez, Ph.D., will present EAS’s first Spanish language webinar titled Foreign Supplier Verification Program – What Does it Mean for You? targeted towards foreign firms exporting foods into the U.S. This complimentary webinar will cover FDA requirements and documentation necessary to comply with the increased requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Join us on June 6, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern. For more information on this free webinar and to register, click here.

EAS to Exhibit at Food Defense Conference

EAS will be exhibiting at the upcoming fourth annual Food Defense Conference to be held May 22-24, 2018 in Minneapolis. Senior Director for Food Consulting Services Allen Sayler will be in attendance along with experts from around the world to discuss and learn from each other about the current state of food defense.

CTP Updates Provisional Substantial Equivalence Review Process

EAS Consulting Group would like to bring to your attention an FDA Center for Tobacco Products announcement regarding updates to the Provisional Substantial Equivalence review process. Substantial equivalence (SE) is the most commonly used pathway by which tobacco products may obtain premarket authorization. Whether SE reports were submitted Provisionally, (products introduced into commercial distribution between February 15, 2007, and March 22, 2011) or are now submitted Regularly (SE Reports received after March 22, 2011), manufacturers must demonstrate that their new products have the same characteristics as a predicate product, or that any differences do not cause the new tobacco product to raise different questions of public health.

EAS Consulting Group offers a wide range of regulatory services. For assistance with dietary supplement and tobacco questions, including preparation of TPMPs, please contact our Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. at 571-447-5510 or tcouch@easconsultinggroup.com.

FDA Actively Working Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practices

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to EAS-e-News, the free newsletter for industries regulated by the FDA.

I would first like to congratulate our Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong, who was presented with the Service to FDLI award at the FDLI Annual Conference. Steve, as many of you know, was the former chief law counsel at the Campbell Soup Company and after retirement joined EAS in a consulting capacity where he provides expert guidance on issues surrounding product development, labeling and claims and more. More information is included in the EAS in Action section of this issue.

The Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) director, Dr. Mitch Zeller, confirmed at TMAs 103rd Annual Meeting held on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, that FDA is actively working on a number of priorities that he called “Foundational Rules and Guidances”. This includes the issuing of the Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practice (TPMP) Rule, which is how CTP terms GMPs. This announcement has been long awaited by industry and firms should begin reviewing processes in preparation for TPMP guidance. You may wish to read more on this announcement in an overview prepared by President and COO, Dean Cirotta.

Additionally, FDA has issued an update to the substantial review process for provisional substantial equivalence for tobacco products in order to work through a huge backlog in applications. More information on both of these developments can be found in the What’s Happening at FDA section of this newsletter.

Fans of our handy EAS pocket guides will be glad to know that we have just released our fourth – this one covering the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Voluntary Qualified Importer Program. These 4”x6” guides are intended to quite literally fit into your pocket and are a convenient way to have regulations at hand while on the factory floor, allowing you to earmark pages of particular importance, take notes, etc. The FSVP pocket guide is available for $10 on the EAS Products page of our website, along with our other pocket guides covering dietary supplement, and pharmaceutical GMPs and FSMA.

Our new partnership with FoodMinds announced in last month’s EAS-e-News has been gaining traction and media coverage with a recent article in Nutra Ingredients. We invite you to learn more about this innovative collaboration which aims to help food companies with their most challenging product marketing claims.

We welcome new consultants Dawn Wydner, Richard White, Andrea Yablunosky, Dee Duffy, and Bryan Armentrout to our network. I encourage you to read more about their expertise in Who’s Who.

Lastly, if you or your business is on LinkedIn, I encourage you to link with EAS. You’ll be able to learn the latest happenings with us, keep on top of the latest information affecting our industry and collaborate with like-minded folks whose primary interest is keeping our FDA regulated consumer products safe and compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

Thank you for your interest in EAS. As always, please reach out to me with any questions and feel free to share this newsletter with any friends and colleagues.

Sincerely,

Ed Steele
Chairman and CEO

Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. to Discuss Preparing for Cannabis GMPs

Tara Lin Couch Ph.D., Senior Director for Dietary Supplements and Tobacco Services, will present a webinar on August 6, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern to help cannabis firms prepare for cannabis Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). As states begin to regulate legalized cannabis, the concern of how GMPs apply to this unique industry cannot be understated. While regulations vary from state to state the quality systems under which cannabis products are grown and manufactured have similarities that can begin to pave the way for putting practices and procedures in place to meet compliance expectations, including those of testing and quality control of in-process materials, finished batches and packaged/labeled products. The time is right for the cannabis industry to begin assessing manufacturing processes and implementing sound and effective quality systems in order to begin preparing for GMP regulations. Stay ahead of the curve, standardize your product quality and be a leader in your industry. Join Tara on August 6, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern for this free webinar by clicking here.

Gabe Miller Discusses Necessity of Food Safety Programs for the Cannabis industry

Gabe Miller, an expert in Food Safety Programs has written an article for the Cannabis Industry Journal on how solid food safety programs can help make cannabis products safer and save businesses a lot of time and money.

Gabe spoke at the upcoming University of Madison Cleaning and Sanitation Short Course on sanitary equipment design on May 1. Gabe is a specialist in troubleshooting food safety and quality problems and has extensive experience in evaluating electrical, mechanical and equipment systems. He is a 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. Certified Conformance Evaluator (CCE) who works with food processing equipment design and engineering companies to advance hygienic design.

Fairman Authors Articles on Workplace Safety and Golden Rules for Co-Packers

Independent Consultant, Heather Fairman has published two articles recently. One in Food Processing Magazine focuses on the positive impact of workplace safety programs on corporate culture. Next, she wrote about five “golden rules” for co-packers to stay competitive and profitable for Natural Products Insider. In addition to being a gifted writer and expert consultant on quality control and quality assurance issues, Heather serves as a Technical Advisor for the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON), an intergovernmental organization of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which has all the rights and privileges of a United Nations organization comprised of 32 countries and who are embarking on developing a raw material market for the herbal supply-chain.

Veneziano, Cirotta Speak at FDLI Annual Meeting

Domenic VenezianoEAS is pleased to be invited speakers at two sessions as part of the FDLI Annual Conference. Independent Advisor for Import Operations, Domenic Veneziano, spoke Friday, May 4, 2018, at a session on International Harmonization Efforts. Mr. Veneziano is a former director of the FDA’s Division of Import Operations, where he spent ten years overseeing FDA’s import operations program and providing leadership, guidance, and direction to approximately 1,000 field investigators in more than 320 U.S. ports of entry.

Please join Domenic on June 26, 2018, EAS Webinar on VQIP which will delve more deeply into this option for expedited entry of products to the U.S. market.

Dean CirottaDean Cirotta, President, and COO moderated a May 3, 2018, panel session called FDA Center Directors: Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The discussion included priorities and goals for the Center as well as feedback on issues facing the industry. As noted in the What’s Happening at FDA section of this EAS-e-News, FDA is actively working on Good Manufacturing Practice equivalents for the tobacco industry, which is called Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practices. EAS has been actively following this development and is able to provide guidance on expected compliance requirements.

Steve Murphy to Present on Raw Materials at ADSA in Knoxville

Steve Murphy will present a session called “Time for Change; Indicators of Public Health Concern for Raw Milk and Processed Dairy Products” at the upcoming American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting taking place June 24-27, 2018 in Knoxville. Says Murphy, “Regulatory standards used as indicators of conditions considered public health risks for Grade “A” milk and milk products fall under FDA’s Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). These standards have not changed in decades. This overview will present a perspective based on current science on where changes are warranted.”

EAS Independent Experts Offer Summer Webinar Compliance Series

EAS Consulting Group is offering a full line-up of educational opportunities through our informative webinar series. These 45-minute webinars are an opportunity to get up to the minute regulatory information on the latest topics pertaining to FDA regulated industries, with time for questions after the presentation. Reserve your seat today!

Susan Crane to Host Webinar on the OTC Monograph System – Past, Present and Future

Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane, will host a webinar July 31, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern on OTC monographs. Join her for a better understanding of how to read and interpret the different sections of the monograph and translate the required elements into a Drug Facts panel. She’ll also discuss what the future might hold for OTC drugs as Congress considers changes to the monograph system. This webinar is complimentary and you may register by clicking here.

Couch to Speak at Council for Responsible Nutrition Conference on Compliance Controls for GMP Standards

Tara Lin Couch Ph.D.Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., will speak on Implementing Compliance Controls to Meet New Sophisticated cGMP Standards at the June 18-20, 2018 ACI-CRN’s Annual Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Forum on Dietary Supplementsconference which will be held in New York City. Tara will be covering various topics including:

  • Understanding the FDA’s more sophisticated approach to dietary supplement cGMPs
  • Comprehending how this potential enforcement ramp-up may lead to an uptick in 483 observations
  • Reassessing cGMPs in the context of cleanliness, safety, and testing for raw materials as based on this new approach
  • Identifying the right test for the right ingredient within the context of cGMP standards

FDA Confirms to Congressional Representatives that Safety is the Number One Priority for Dietary Supplements

FDA recently responded to a letter from congressional representatives regarding product safety in the dietary supplement industry. In the letter, dated April 12, 2018, the agency states that safety, product integrity, and informed decision-making are the prioritization factors used to determine enforcement and regulatory strategies for the dietary supplement industry which is now a $40 Billion market with up to 80,000 products through a supply chain that includes approximately 7,000 facilities.

The agency stressed that the review of Serious Adverse Events, New Dietary Ingredient notifications, and work with the FTC to remove product and companies from the market that contain undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients and other adulterants when found through inspection, label compliance reviews, and market surveillance is key.

This was sent in a letter to Congressional Representative Andy Harris from MD, Derek Kilmer from WA, and David Young from IA who had previously requested that FDA describe its role and current progress in dietary supplement enforcement and regulation. It is a great glimpse into the current thinking of the Office of Dietary Supplements.

April 2018 FDA Drug / Medical Device Activity

Reminder! 5 May 2018 is the date for DMF (Drug Master File) and IND (Investigational New Drug) applications to comply with eCTD format submission. There has been a delay for Type III DMF files to comply. The FDA announced in April via their Guidance Document Providing Regulatory Submissions in Electronic Format – Certain Human Pharmaceutical Product Applications and Related Submissions Using the eCTD Specifications that Type III DMF files will have until 5 May 2019 in order to comply with the eCTD format requirements. With the exception of Type III DMFs, all files not submitted in eCTD beginning 5 May 2018 will be rejected. Please see the FDA Drug Master File Tip Sheet for further information. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact EAS.

We would like to bring to your attention the FDA draft Guidance Expansion of the Abbreviated 510(k) Program: Demonstrating Substantial Equivalence through Performance Criteria. Please note, comments on this draft are due to the FDA no later than 90 days after publication in the Federal Register(which was 12 April 2018). This draft guidance proposes to provide an optional pathway for certain well-understood device types which the FDA would identify on a list maintained on the FDA website. Rather than a direct comparison to the predicate device for a 510(k) submission, the FDA proposes to provide alternate objective performance criteria that would satisfy demonstrating substantial equivalence for performance relevant to safety and effectiveness. This will comply with the new congressional amendment to the FD & C Act for the “least burdensome” provisions for medical devices.

Guidance Document updates on the FDA website: CDER:

CBER:

CDHR:

CVM:

CDER & CBER:

CDRH & CBER:

Domenic Veneziano to Discuss VQIP Regulations

Independent Advisor for Import Operations and former FDA Director of Import Operations, Domenic Veneziano, will host a webinar focusing on the specific requirements and applications of the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) on June 26, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern. VQIP is a fee-based, voluntary application whereby firms who meet certain food safety and import history requirements may receive expedited review and entry of their products into the US market. VQIP will take effect in October 2018 so it is now time to determine eligibility and apply to be included in the program. Join Domenic on June 26th by clicking here. There is a $99 registration fee associated with this webinar.

Clean Label, the Challenges

By Gustavo M. Gonzalez, Ph.D.

So, you decided to have clean labels for your products, now what do you do? You are not alone in your pursuits of this endeavor. A couple of years ago, I was approached by a marketing department when they wanted to make certain claims in their product lines and one of the phrases they used was “we want to say that our labels are clean because our clients want this”, so I asked them, ‘What do you mean by clean?” And of course, having several people in that meeting, I got several different answers! Answers like “no GMO’s”, “Natural”, “Gluten-free”, “No antibiotics”, “No pesticides”, “No Artificial ingredients”, etc. So, the first task at hand was to clarify what the term “clean label” means. At that time, we did not find a definition either from USDA-FSIS or FDA for the term “clean label”, what we found was that the term was probably developed by consumers as an “understandable” claim or answer to ingredients in their food. The Clean Label trend has taken center stage and found its way into many respected scientific meetings. The 2015 Institute of Food Technologist Annual Meeting and Food Expo is just one example of many where the topic of Clean Labels and what that means, was discussed.

When the US-based food retailer, Whole Foods Market, published a list called “Unacceptable Ingredients for Food1” around 2014, they began working with their suppliers on creating products only with natural ingredients as part of their Food Ingredient Quality Standards. Around the same time, Panera Bread published their “No No List2” of ingredients, such as preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors, all from artificial sources, that were no longer allowed in their products. The trend was not just U.S.-focused as many International companies were also working on making their labels more transparent to help consumers make better decisions.

So, what does “clean label” mean? Many definitions exist, and all include the fact that terms such as “no artificial ingredients” and/or “natural” are included on labels as consumers expect transparency by using ingredient names that people can recognize. One of my favorite definitions of a “clean label” came from my wife (not biased!) who said that a clean label is one where she understands ingredients in her food without having to ask me and that the ingredients do not come from artificial sources.

This transparency is a great and noble cause to pursue but what are the challenges? In my opinion, the first challenge facing the technical and scientific community is that functionality in many cases drives the choice of almost all ingredients: things like water retention (phosphates), color additives (FD&C Red No. 3 and 40), color development/enhancement (sodium nitrate in processed meats) and flavor enhancement agents (MSG or Monosodium Glutamate not naturally occurring). Some ingredients already have a natural alternative, like the use of celery powder and sea salt as a source of naturally occurring nitrate-nitrite but we are still working on alternatives for others, creating challenges to R&D scientists and chefs all over the country.

This R&D also creates the second challenge in my opinion: cost. Many of these “clean” ingredients are expensive either because of the amount of these “clean” ingredients required or the increase in demand just in the last couple of years. Before a company decides to reformulate, understand your audience and your clients to ascertain whether they are demanding this change or not. I was surprised when the company asked their marketing group to investigate whether the demand for clean ingredients was universal, that only a small percentage of clients were demanding a change to clean labels. Based on that research they decided to invest time in creating a brand-new line of products to fulfill this need instead of reformulating all products.

In my opinion, some of the questions you need to ask before you start changing formulas are:

  • Are all my clients and/or target markets demanding a clean label?
  • Are they willing to pay for this change?
  • Can I afford the change?
  • Do we change our formula or do we create a new line of products?

Depending on your answers, you will be able to make an informed decision for the future of your company.

Note: This article presents the point of view of the author and does not represent any legal advice.

References

  1. Whole Foods “Unacceptable Ingredients for Food
  2. Panera Bread “No No List

Guidance for Industry on Dietary Supplement Products Containing Highly Concentrated Caffeine

FDA released Guidance for Industry on highly concentrated caffeine in dietary supplements. FDA considers products which only or primarily consist of pure or highly concentrated caffeine and are sold as dietary supplements to be adulterated under section 402(f)(1)(A) of the FD&C Act [21 U.S.C. § 342(f)(1)(A)] due to the significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury under the conditions of use recommended or suggested in the labeling or, if no conditions for use are suggested or recommended, under ordinary conditions of use. These products which have been linked to at least two deaths in recent years are considered to present a significant public health threat.

EAS Welcomes New Independent Consultants

Dawn Wydner, Ph.D.

Dawn Wydner, Ph.D., consults in pharma and medical devices, providing proactive compliance and application of quality oversight in all aspects of operational strategy, coordination and conduct. Prior to consulting she was the Senior Director of BioResearch, Quality, and Compliance at Janssen Research & Development, LLC where she oversaw GxP regulatory requirements and compliance issues and provided guidance on GCP/GLP mock inspections and audits of clinical investigators, CROs, SMOs, sponsors/monitors, animal laboratories and IRBs. She is a sought-after speaker, sharing her expertise on topics such as Sponsor Monitor Inspection Management and Expectations, Inspection Readiness and FDA Trends, Analytical Risk Management.

Richard White

Richard White is a former Director of Codex and International Standards Policy at the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Prior to GMA, he had a career serving US public interests as the Senior Director, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Affairs at the Office of the US Trade Representative and as the Senior Advisor for International Activities in the Office of the Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances at the Environmental Protection Agency. As a consultant he provides expert advice and services regarding international standards, national policies and regulations on food safety and animal and plant health with a focus on the activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and its subsidiary bodies.

 

Andrea Yablunosky

Andrea Yablunosky’s focus is product development, labeling compliance, and risk mitigation for issues pertaining to USDA/FSIS. With a background in food science and nutrition she is well-versed in policy development, product reformulations and promotions, recall preparedness and effective recall management. Prior to consulting Andrea was the Director of Government Affairs at ConAgra Foods where she advised the company business units on implications of FDA and USDA policy objectives.

Dee Duffy

Dee Duffy has over thirty years of experience in regulatory food labeling and a passion for saving companies money by helping them comply with public health information regulatory standards. She has worked with numerous food manufacturers like Johnsonville and Birchwood Foods on products available in grocery outlets like Kroger, Publix, and H-E-B, to help ensure new product packaging can go on shelves with minimal risk.

Bryan Armentrout

Bryan Armentrout is an expert in international CPG, and dairy, quality, system development, Safe Quality Foods, (SQF), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), design control, auditing, troubleshooting, recall, and crisis management, and process improvement. Prior to consulting he was the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety with Boulder Brands and the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at CSC Sugar, LLC. He has a history of benchmarked and proven success leading companies to more efficient and compliant processes.

How can implementing a GMP system for regulatory compliance also streamline business at a cannabis facility?

By Kathy Knutson

This month’s Ask the Expert is answered by Independent Consultant, Kathy Knutson, Ph.D. Kathy is a lead instructor for Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF); Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) and trained in the prevention of Intentional Adulteration (IA). Each month EAS experts tackle one question sent in by readers. To ask your question, click here.

Question: How can implementing a GMP system for regulatory compliance also streamline business at a cannabis facility?

Knutson: I am a food microbiologist with expertise in food safety. I work with the food industry in writing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and food safety plans. I find myself using the same food safety knowledge from the food industry, in the cannabis-infused edibles industry. It makes sense because it is all just food that must be manufactured and be safe for human consumption. Unlike the food industry, currently, there is no federal legislation for the cannabis industry. At the federal level, cannabis is illegal.

Manufacturers of cannabis-infused edibles are legally found in states where legislation has been passed at the state level for either medical or recreational cannabis. It could be argued that edibles sold by way of prescription for medical use need to have a higher level of rigor in food safety than an edible for recreational use. In some states, the manufacturers are inspected like a restaurant. There is the talk of HACCP, but many states are just not there yet. The cannabis industry would do well to learn lessons from the food industry on HACCP from the late 1950s and preventive controls from 2011. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) must be instituted, before making the leap to HACCP or preventive controls. GMPs are the foundation of HACCP and preventive controls. Without GMPs, there is no food safety.

Manufacturers of cannabis-infused edibles can find GMPs in 21 CFR 117 Part B. This is the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule where much of the food industry lives. A quick search for information on GMPs leaves one overwhelmed. There are university extension specialists, HACCP organizations and private businesses which offer GMP training. As a valued partner of EAS Consulting Group, the many experts are here to show you the path to food safety. Like a start-up company in the food industry, manufacturers of cannabis-infused edibles would be wise to start with GMPs. Once the foundation is solid, the manufacturer can build food safety.

Meet Issue of the Month Author Gustavo Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Gustavo Gonzalez, Ph.D. is a Food safety, regulatory compliance and quality leader with 24 years’ experience driving strategic planning and implementation the policies and procedures that govern food safety and quality programs that align with current and industry food safety, quality, and R&D trends and best practices. He is an expert in a range of food sectors, quality and safety systems and other programs such as allergen control/prevention, auditing functions, distribution systems, environmental monitoring, FSMA, GFSI, retail operations, sanitation, team building, and training. Prior to consulting, Dr. Gonzalez was the Corporate Director of Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance for Jack in the Box, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in Meat Science from Iowa State University.

We invite you to join Dr. Gonzalez on June 6, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern when he will present a webinar on the requirements of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program in Spanish. Click here to reserve your seat.

Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Labels Compliance Dates Extended

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a final rule to extend the compliance dates for updating Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels, from July 26, 2018, to January 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will receive an extra year to comply – until January 1, 2021. The agency published a proposed rule to extend the compliance date in September 2017, and this rule finalizes that extension. This approximately 18-month extension will provide sufficient time to transition to the new version of the Nutrition Facts label.

Inflation Adjusted Values for Six FSMA Regulations

The FDA released inflation-adjusted values for six FSMA regulations covering 2016-2017. These values are particularly noteworthy for smaller businesses that may not be covered, may receive an exemption, or have later compliance dates based on their sales being less than the indicated value. In addition, certain businesses subject to the Preventive Controls for Human Food, Preventive Controls for Animal Food, Produce Safety, Foreign Supplier Verification Programs, Sanitary Transportation and Intentional Adulteration Regulations should also refer to the updated values to determine whether they meet the cut-off value for the applicable regulation. Contact Allen Sayler, Senior Director for Food Consulting Services for assistance with FSMA questions at 571-447-5509 or asayler@easconsultinggroup.com

Dietary Supplements vs. Foods — A FSMA Regulatory Challenge

By Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., EAS Senior Director of Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services and Allen Sayler, EAS Senior Director for Food Consulting Services

In 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) created a new, legal class of food, called “dietary supplements,” which created a new subcategory of FDA-regulated foods. Many parts of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) still apply to dietary supplements; however, DSHEA carved out unique regulatory exemptions and requirements for dietary supplements. Achieving a correct and complete understanding of the FDA regulatory requirements applicable to dietary supplements versus other general foods can be challenging and confusing.

Foods are defined in the FD&C as articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, chewing gum, and articles used for components of any such article. Dietary supplements are defined as a product taken by mouth that contain a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet. Dietary ingredients may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites; or extracts or concentrates of any of these. Dietary supplements can be in many dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, gummies, liquids, powders, and bars if they do not represent the product as a conventional food or sole item of a meal or diet.

The primary method for identifying a product as a dietary supplement versus a general food is to ensure it meets the definition above and for the product label to declare that the product is a “dietary supplement.” It is also required dietary supplement labels include a Supplement Facts panel, rather than a Nutrition Facts panel, which is required for almost all FDA-regulated foods. Both general foods and dietary supplements must comply with similar and also different labeling requirements, all found in 21 CFR 101, Food Labeling. Both general foods and dietary supplements could be identified by FDA as misbranded when they fail to meet applicable label claims or labeling requirements provided in the 21 CFR 101 regulation. If used, structure/function claims for dietary supplements and general foods must be truthful and not misleading. Specific to dietary supplements, the following disclosure statement is required to ensure that the dietary supplement product also does not represent itself as a pharmaceutical drug.

  • “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Although dietary supplement labels are not required to be pre-approved by FDA, the product owner of a dietary supplement must provide FDA, a notification with the text of the structure/function claim no later than 30 days after marketing the product. General foods have no such FDA notification requirement for product labeling.

DSHEA also requires FDA to promulgate GMPs (good manufacturing practices) for the dietary supplement industry. This resulted in the issuance of 21 CFR 111, “Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements” in 2007. Note: FDA issued the “Small Entity Compliance Guide: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements” in December 2010, which also has important information on FDA’s regulatory and enforcement expectations.

The DSHEA regulation itself addresses aspects of the manufacturing, packaging and distribution of a dietary supplement product for distribution to the consumer. The comparable general food regulations are found in the relatively new FDA “Preventive Controls for Human Foods” regulation found in 21 CFR 117.

Comparison of Dietary supplement (21 CFR 111) and General Food Good Manufacturing (21 CFR 117) Requirements

21 CFR 111

Subpart

Description Summary 21 CFR 117 Subpart
B Personnel B – 117.10
C Physical Plant and Grounds B – 117.2, 117.20, 117.35, 117.37, 117.140 a‐d
D Equipment and Utensils B – 117.40, 117.35a, 117.37d,e, 117.40 a‐e
E Production and Process Controls – Specifications B – 117.80; C; G
F Quality Control B – 117.80
G Components, Packaging, and Label Controls B – 117.80
H Master Manufacturing Records B – 117.80 & F
I Batch Production Records B – 117.80 & F
J Laboratory Operations B – 117.40
K Manufacturing Operations B – 117.80
L Packaging and Labeling Operations B – throughout this Subsection
M Holding and Distribution Operations B – throughout this Subsection
N Returned Products NA
O Product Complaints Part of 117.155 but not specifically mentioned –
P Recordkeeping F

Shortly after the beginning of enforcement of 21 CFR 111 by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CSFAN), in 2010, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed by the United States Congress in 2011. FSMA has been referred to as the most sweeping and significant legislation for the protection of public health regarding safety, efficiency and security of foods, drugs and cosmetics (the mandate of the FDA) since the first set of laws were passed with FD&C in 1938. It was in reaction to numerous cases of food-borne illness and product recalls, particularly for pathogens (undesirable microorganisms) and allergen cross-contact and contamination issues in general foods. Pathogenic microorganisms of most notable concern are Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureusand Listeria monocytogenes. Allergens are foreign substances that, in some consumers, can cause an abnormal immune system response that, at its most dangerous extreme, can result in death. In the United States, by law, eight food allergens must be identified; these are known as the “big eight”, i.e., milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Seven major regulations have been issued by FDA to support enforcement of FSMA. The most important of these being 21 CFR 117, “cGMP and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Human Food (PCHF).” Interestingly, dietary supplements are exempt from many of the requirements in these seven FSMA-based regulations, but not all.

The challenge: in late 2018, FDA is committed to full enforcement of all provisions of FSMA-based PCHF and by mid-2019, of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). Both have parts applicable and enforceable on the dietary supplement industry. Which new parts of the PCHF and FSVP regulations will impact the dietary supplement industry? Unfortunately, simply reading both regulations may not provide the insight and understanding necessary for dietary supplement manufacturers to adjust their regulatory programs for these new challenges.

The PCHF regulation, in accordance with 21 CFR 117.5(e), does not apply to any facility with regard to the manufacturing, processing, packaging or holding of a dietary supplement that is in compliance with the requirements in 21 CFR 111. For example, for general foods, Subpart C of 21 CFR 117 states that a hazard analysis must be conducted to identify and evaluate microbiological, chemical and physical hazards. Preventative controls must then be developed and implemented to ensure that these hazards will be significantly minimized or prevented, and the food will not be adulterated or misbranded. Subpart G of 117, also applicable to general foods, requires a written, risk-based supply chain program to ensure control of these same hazards in incoming raw material and other ingredients. Since these are already addressed in the dietary supplement regulations (21 CFR 111, particularly Subpart E), Subparts C and G of 117 are not applicable to dietary supplement manufacturers. Subpart B of 21 CFR 117 is the cGMP for general foods has its counterpart in 21 CFR 111 for dietary supplement manufacturers; however, the cGMPs are enforced by FDA for dietary supplement manufacturers as well as the dietary supplement GMPs found in 11. Allergen control is discussed at length in 21 CFR 117, but 21 CFR 111 never specifically dictates the need for allergen control or testing, however, all components must be demonstrated to meet established limits of potential contaminants, and the big eight food allergens certainly qualify as potential contaminants.

The other FSMA-based regulation, FSVP is also applicable to dietary supplement manufacturers, in some cases. The rule provides several exceptions to the standard FSVP requirements for certain types of importers. First, for dietary supplements and dietary supplement components/ingredients, importers that establish and verify compliance with certain specifications (concerning dietary supplement components and packaging) under the dietary supplement cGMP regulations will not be required to comply with most of the standard FSVP requirements, including hazard analysis and standard supplier verification activities. The same exception would apply to importers whose customer is required to establish such specifications and verify that they are met, except that the importer would have to obtain written assurance that its customer is complying with those requirements. In contrast, importers of other dietary supplements would be required to comply with most of the standard FSVP requirements, but would not have to conduct hazard analyses, and their supplier verification activities would focus on verifying that the supplier follows the dietary supplement cGMP regulation, rather than verifying that hazards requiring a control are significantly minimized or prevented, as required under the standard supplier verification activity provisions. For foreign suppliers exporting a food ingredient to the United States that could be used as a dietary supplement, all the FSVP requirements apply. If this same supplier exported the same component/ingredients for use only as a dietary component/ingredient, then few of the FSVP requirements apply. However, if FDA discovers that the component/ingredient imported as a dietary ingredient, is being used by general food manufacturers, then it is likely that FDA will take regulatory action against the FSVP Importer and could potentially declare the food that the dietary component/ingredient was used in “adulterated,” which could trigger recalls as well as other FDA regulatory actions.

In addition, the FSVP regulation has a requirement of using a “qualified individual” for general foods also applies to dietary supplement manufacturers conducting the following operations:

  • 506(a)—procedures to ensure the importation of food from approved suppliers
  • 509—identification of the importer at entry
  • 510—recordkeeping
  • 511(c)(2)—procedures to ensure the importation of dietary supplements from approved suppliers
  • 512(b)(5) —recordkeeping by very small importers

A few years into the future we will all have “muscle memory” related to which parts of the FSMA-based regulations apply to dietary supplement manufacturers and understand the regulatory requirement differences between dietary supplements and general foods. Until then, it is important to rely on knowledgeable, experienced people in the industry, FDA and the consulting world as the enforcement threshold is “now,” and any uncertainty could result in noncompliance and FDA actions against dietary supplement manufacturers.

Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D., is an analytical/organic chemist with more than 20 years of diverse laboratory and regulatory experience in academic, field, contract and manufacturing environments. She is a senior consultant with EAS Consulting Group.

Allen Sayler is the senior director for food consulting services at EAS. Sayler’s expertise in the areas of food processing, particularly in the area of dairy processing, infant formula, bakery products, food additives, botanical products and food packaging as well as GSFI Third-Party Certification programs such as Safe Quality Foods (SQF). Allen has spent more than 30 years as a food processing and regulatory expert, with half of the time serving the industry and the other have as a state and federal government employee.

This article was reprinted with permission from Natural Products Insider.

CTP Announces Actively Working Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practices

At TMAs 103rd Annual Meeting held on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Dr. Zeller confirmed that FDA is actively working on a number of priorities that he called “Foundational Rules and Guidances”. This includes the issuing of the Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practice (TPMP) Rule which is required by Section 906(e) of the Tobacco Control Act addressing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Requirements, which the FDA now calls TPMPs. Mr. Zeller made it clear that the FDA is “hard at work” on this rule.

When asked about when the industry can expect this Foundational Rule and Guidance for TPMPs to be issued by the FDA, Mr. Zeller declined to comment on a specific timeline, however, he did stress that the rule, along with the other foundational rules and guidance, is a priority for CTP. FDA is actively working on these and is committed to issuing the TPMP rule as soon as possible.

The tobacco industry should begin prioritizing manufacturing and quality processes assessments to begin preparing for and implementing quality systems, manufacturing controls, documentation, and SOPs. Based on Mr. Zeller’s presentation, the impending issuance of Tobacco TPMPs in conjunction with FDA’s new priorities indicates this preparation should begin sooner rather than later.

Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong, Wins Service to FDLI Award

Steve Armstrong is the winner of the 2018 Service to FDLI award, presented at this year’s FDLI Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. Steve is the former chief law counsel at Campbell Soup Company and has been consulting with EAS, providing expert opinion and strategy in the areas of product development and labeling since 2016. Steve is a sought-after speaker and writer, particularly on the subject of GMOs and other claims. His contributions to FDLI and the industry through his own efforts and as a representative of EAS facilitate greater industry understanding and promotion of ethical and sound practices.

You may read Steve’s most recent article on due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, and considerations when purchasing a 21st Century Food Company in a recent Natural Products Insider.

Sayler Presents on 21 CFR 117 at the AHPA Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit

Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, will speak on how FSMA impacts the dietary supplement industry during the Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit, taking place May 16, 2018, in Washington, DC. The Dietary Supplements Regulatory Summit is the collaboration between AHPA, CHPA, CRN, NPA, and UNPA — the trade associations representing the dietary supplements industry and will feature updates and insights from FDA and industry regulatory experts, and will focus on the key regulatory compliance issues facing the dietary supplements industry.

Insights into FDA’s Interpretation and Enforcement of Medical Foods

Independent Advisor for Labeling and Claims, Betty Campbell and Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayer have co-written an article on how FDA interprets and enforces regulations of Medical Foods in Food Safety Magazine. This narrow product category sees a lot of confusion within the industry as to what constitutes a medical food, how it can be labeled and its ingredient requirements.

EAS Offers Final Webinar as Part of CHPA OTC Academy Series

The final webinar as part of the EAS presented series for CHPA’s OTC Academy will take place on April 17, 2018, at 2 pm when Independent Advisor for Quality and Compliance Robert Fish, will discuss Responding to 483s and Warning Letters. Fish says that it is extremely important to promptly respond to any correspondence from FDA, particularly the FDA-483 or a Warning Letter. If a foreign firm receives a Warning Letter from FDA the company will most likely be placed on an Automatic Detention list which means that none of their products will be permitted entry into the U.S. until the issues are corrected and FDA has verified the corrections. This webinar will explain the FDA processes and provide guidance on how to manage these issues.

Armstrong Discusses FSMA One Year Later in FDLI Update

Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong discussed how FSMA implementation has impacted food safety systems during its first year of enforcement in the prestigious FDLI Update. Mr. Armstrong is the former Chief Law Counsel for Campbell Soup Company and works with EAS client on product development issues.

EAS Announces Expansion of Collaboration with FoodMinds

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to the EAS-e-News, the free newsletter dedicated to FDA regulated industries.

As international agencies work to find commonalities that would align food safety data where able, FDA and the European Commission are each proposing actions that would open each other’s markets to limited shellfish exports. U.S. shellfish imports have not been allowed by the EC since 2010 and FDA has not permitted the import of live, fresh, or fresh-frozen molluscan shellfish from the EU since the 1980s. FDA is seeking public comment on a proposed determination that the EU food safety control system for raw bivalve molluscan shellfish is equivalent in sanitary protection to that of the U.S. If finalized, shellfish harvested from the Netherlands and Spain and processed by establishments that have been listed on FDA’s Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL) may be imported. The European Commission (EC) is also in the process of finalizing proposed equivalence that would permit the importation of shellfish harvested from approved growing areas in the states of Massachusetts and Washington, with additional states possibly being added over time. These announcements come on the heels of our March EAS-e-News issue of the month article written by Tim Hansen, a former director of the seafood division in FDA’s CFSAN and a former director of the seafood inspection program for NOAA Fisheries on the 20th Anniversary of Seafood HACCP and the role it has played in improving the safety of seafood in the U.S..

FDA also released the 2017 edition of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards which defines key elements of an effective program for state, local, tribal, and territorial food regulatory agencies. The FDA encourages enrollment in this voluntary standards program for all government agencies with oversight of retail food establishments that sell, serve or vend food directly to the public. Enrollment conveys intent to actively use the Retail Program Standards as a tool to assess and improve regulatory programs.

There is much effort at international collaboration between FDA and like-agencies, including standards developed by the UN food body, Codex Alimentarius Commission, commonly known as Codex. Bruce Silverglade, an attorney with the firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz, PC and independent consultant to EAS by special arrangement, has written an articleon the US Codex office’s recent relocation within the USDA to the Office of the Undersecretary for Trade and Agricultural Affairs. This move provides new opportunities for the food industry, particularly in the area of food labeling and food additives.

These continued efforts at enhancing food safety are a prime focus area for EAS and our clients in the food industry. Our Independent Advisor for FSMA and author of FSMA Perspective, Charles Breen, discusses EAS services in the area of FSMA in a newly produced video which can be found on the EAS YouTube channel. We invite you to view this along with our other regulatory topics, including free on-demand webinars at your convenience.

Continuing with the theme of harmonization between agencies, FDA is also hard at work developing a set of standards with Health Canada on International Harmonization of technical requirements for pharmaceuticals for human use. FDA is holding a public meeting April 6, 2018, at 10:00 am to provide information and solicit public input on current activities. The meeting will address topics such as Nonclinical Safety Testing in Support of Development of Pediatric Medicines as well as Bioanalytical Method Validation. More information on the public meeting can be found here.

Our Issue of the Monthis written by Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling, Susan Crane. She discusses the future of homeopathics after a recent FDA draft guidance document indicating a future where any product labeled as homeopathic could potentially be subject to enforcement action.

Thanks to numerous requests, EAS is bringing back a one-day seminar Food Labeling Regulatory Update covering the new FDA food labeling requirements, which will take place May 31, 2018, in Alexandria, VA, immediately following our two-day Food Labeling Compliance Seminar. This new seminar is a great opportunity to dig deeper into how your company’s products will be affected by the new regulations and can be an independent learning opportunity or in combination with our two-day Food Labeling Compliance Seminar. We have also added two new fall compliance seminars which will take place in Kansas City, MO. Food Labeling Compliance is scheduled for September 24-25 and Dietary Supplement Labeling Compliance is scheduled for September 26-27. We invite you to join us!

Lastly, I am very pleased to announce an expansion of collaboration and services offered by our long-standing partner FoodMinds. This strategic partnership is aimed at helping the food industry navigate complicated issues surrounding the science of food and nutrition, the development of products to meet consumer demand and the many regulatory hurdles of ensuring safe and compliant product-lines. Together EAS and FoodMinds can help identify and mitigate of risks to branding and regulatory compliance as well as the development of forward-thinking strategic plans and operating procedures, engaging the most up-to-date industry guidance, practices, and technology to meet government and customer expectations. More information on this partnership can be found in our Press Release. I am fully confident that this partnership will be of great value particularly to those firms who manufacture high-risk foods as regulatory challenges become more complicated.

Thanks as always for your interest in EAS. We invite your comments and feedback and feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Ed Steele
Chairman and CEO

Quality Assurance and Net Profits Discussed in EAS-Authored Article in Dairy Foods Magazine

EAS Independent Consultant, Rudy Westervelt, discussed fulfilling quality assurance potential and generating a net profit in a recent article published in Dairy Foods Magazine. Quality assurance could — and should — drive revenue by providing information that allows plant leadership to control costs, improve operational efficiencies and maximize finished product output, he says. Westervelt specializes in problem-solving related to dairy food quality, loss reduction, employee safety results, throughput and cost control.

EAS Releases Videos on FSMA and Product Development Services

EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen, hosts a new informational video on EAS services in the complex area of the Food Safety Modernization Act, including FSVP, VQIP and more. FSMA is the largest overhaul to FDA’s food regulations in the last 70+ years and EAS is proud that our assembled team of independent regulatory consultants has such vast expertise in the many areas under the FSMA umbrella.

EAS Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong produced a similar video recently on our services in the area of product development and labeling, a challenging area as companies work to build strategic development and marketing strategies in a very competitive international marketplace.

A great number of EAS webinars are available on YouTube channel. Please join us for any of our on-demand webinars on a variety of topics, from SQF to dietary supplement laboratory compliance to drug establishment and registration listing information. As always EAS and our team of over 150 regulatory consultants are here to assist.

Armstrong to Present at Food Law Innovative Conference

Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, Steve Armstrong, will discuss Innovative Claims, as part of a USDA Review at the April 19-20, 2018 third annual CLE Food Law Conference in Denver. His co-presenter is Jeffrey Canavan, Deputy Director, Labeling & Program Delivery with the Food Safety Inspection Services, USDA. Up to 12 Hours of MCLE Credit are available for attending this conference, including one hour of Ethics.

EAS to Exhibit at Upcoming SupplySide EAST in Secaucus, NJ

EAS Senior Director for Dietary Supplement and Tobacco Services, Tara Lin Couch, Ph.D. and Independent Advisor for Dietary Supplements, Timothy Stewart, Ph.D. will attend SupplySide East in Secaucus, NJ April 10-11, 2018. Please come by the EAS exhibit booth, F152, to discuss regulatory challenges impacting your business and opportunities for solutions provided by EAS’ extensive network of over 150 independent consultants.

EAS is Marquee Sponsor of TMA’s 103rd Annual Meeting and Conference

TMAEAS President and COO, Dean Cirotta and Independent Consultant Karen Dixon will attend the Tobacco Manufacturers Association’s Annual Meeting and Conference taking place April 9-11, 2018 in Leesburg, VA. EAS is also a Marquee Sponsor of the event. The meeting will discuss FDA’s new policy direction for the tobacco industry, including a Nicotine Product Standard, the Cigar Exemption, FDA Premarket Submissions, and Harm Reduction.

Meet Issue of the Month Author, Susan Crane

Susan CraneSusan Crane is EAS’ Independent Advisor for OTC Drugs and Labeling. She is an experienced professional in the pharmaceutical industry specializing in quality and regulatory compliance for over-the-counter (OTC) and dietary supplement products and has a thorough knowledge of federal regulations pertaining to the marketing, labeling, and distribution. Susan’s guidance for clients ranges from Good Manufacturing Practices, Labeling, Enforcement Policy (Recalls), Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – Poison Prevention Packaging Act, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and OSHA Hazard Communication Standards. She is a frequent instructor for CHPA’s OTC Academy, presents webinars and publishes articles in industry publications on a variety of OTC related issues.

Adverse Events, Serious or Not?

By Norma Skolnik

This month’s Ask the Expert question on Serious Adverse Events Reporting is answered by Independent Consultant, Norma Skolnik. Norma has over 35 years of regulatory experience working with the pharmaceutical, OTC drug, and dietary supplement industries. Prior to consulting, she served as Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Americas for Cadbury Adams until her retirement. She also held the positions of Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Adams Division of Pfizer and Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Warner-Lambert company.

Question: Should you report an Adverse Event if you’re not sure whether or not it’s really “serious”?

Answer: If in doubt, you should always report an adverse event for any prescription drug, OTC drug or dietary supplement. FDA’s definition of “Serious Adverse Event” per 21 CFR 310.305(b) covers “any adverse experience that results in any of the following outcomes: Death, a life-threatening adverse experience, hospitalization, a