Cannabis – Federal Pathways to Regulation Explored

Dear Reader,

Welcome 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voluntary Qualified Importer Program Underway

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to the EAS-e-News, a free newsletter dedicated to those companies who work in FDA regulated industries.

FDA and USDA have been busy with new initiatives this month including a new FSMA Landing Page on the FDA’s website, new CDRH guidance for RTA’s for 510(k)s, a new Food Code Book for the retail sector, a new USDA electronic data platform and of course FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). More details on the CDRH guidance can be found in this month’s Drug/Device Corner and information on the Food Code Book and USDA electronic Data Platform can be found in the What’s New on FDA’s Website. It goes without saying that EAS independent consultants have been studying the new initiatives and are ready to assist with practical solutions to sometimes complicated questions.

I’ll take just a few moments to highlight the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) here. VQIP, is a voluntary, fee-based program for importers that allows for those enrolled to have expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the U.S. The VQIP program is only available to those applicants who have a three year unblemished history of importing foods into the U.S., demonstrating achievement and maintenance of a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains. VQIP is also only applicable for companies who import foods from a facility (or farm) certified under FDA’s Accredited Third-Party Certification. EAS offers numerous services in the area of FSMA including readiness checks and helping companies prepare for the application and backup documentation for VQIP. The process is stringent, but for those companies who meet FDA’s requirements, the expedition of imports can facilitate smoother business practices and a greater level of transparency of your company’s food safety systems.

Our FSMA Perspective this month discusses additional new initiatives under FSMA, specifically the upcoming March 19th compliance dates for Importers of human food whose Small Business Foreign Supplier is required to comply with Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCHF); Importers of animal food whose Large Business Foreign Supplier is subject to the Preventive Controls (PC) requirements in PCAF, but not to CGMP requirements; and Importers of animal food whose Small Business Foreign Supplier is subject to PCAF CGMP requirements. Understanding whether your company fits in the spectrum can be tricky and our Independent Advisor for FSMA, Charles Breen, lays out the specifics, as well as some exemptions here.

Our issue of the month is on the Twentieth Anniversary of Seafood HACCP and is particularly timely in light of numerous warning letters related to seafood imports recently. I hope you enjoy Tim Hansen’s trip down memory lane and appreciate the urgency with which these HACCP requirements still apply.

EAS welcomes two new independent consultants this month who work in the food industry: Rudy Westervelt and Kathy Knutson. We are also delighted to have Dr. Robert “Robbie” Burns back with us on a full-time basis. EAS has a long tradition of bringing the best in industry talent on board as independent consultants and these three are no exception. I encourage you to read their bios in the Who’s Who section.

FDA has released several guidance documents related to the Nutrition Facts label final rule, including a final guidance explaining how the FDA evaluates the scientific evidence supporting citizen petitions to add certain isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates to the regulatory definition of dietary fiber. This Final Guidance for Industry contains information pertinent to those who submit scientific evidence to FDA for use in the determination of whether added non-digestible carbohydrates meet the definition of “dietary fiber” as part of the regulations for nutrition labeling of food for declaring the amount of dietary fiber on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels. Final Guidance for Industry was also issued for a number of products where serving sizes can be reasonably consumed in one sitting. Draft Guidance for Industry was also released regarding the agency’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion related to the use in the Nutrition Facts label of a symbol “†” on single-ingredient packages and/or containers of pure honey or pure maple syrup and on certain dried cranberry and cranberry juice products. The comment period for this draft guidance is now open and comments are due to the agency in the next 60 days.

Thank you for your interest in EAS and as always we encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues.

Much Movement on FSMA

Dear Reader,

Edward A. SteeleWelcome to EAS-e-News, the free news update for FDA regulated industries.

There has been quite a bit of movement from the agency on FSMA, including the creation of FDA’s new FSMA landing page on the FDA website. Those companies which fall under the FSMA compliance rules should make a note and save this new bookmark.

The agency also released draft guidance #245 in the area of Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Animal Foods. This particular draft guidance includes food safety plan requirements; recommendations for conducting a hazard analysis; hazards associated with the manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding of animal food; examples of preventive controls that may be used to significantly minimize or prevent animal food hazards; and preventive control management components. Public comment is due to the agency no later than July 23, 2018.

FDA also released new guidance in January indicating the agency is extending the enforcement for a few very specific parts of FSMA. Specifics include:

  • a two-year extension to complete required documentation for any food manufacturer that relies on their customer to control “reasonably foreseeable hazards”
  • a two-year extension for importers of food contact substances to comply with the Preventive Controls rule
  • September 17, 2018, for all Grade “A” dairy plant’s to be in compliance with the Preventive Controls rule
  • a number of extensions for certain farm-based activities including holding, packing or coloring of raw agricultural commodities as well as cotton ginning and farm water sampling.

One area that the agency will work to improve is addressed in the GAO report indicating the agency’s inadequate oversight and follow-up on voluntary food recalls and is the subject of this month’s FSMA Perspective. FDA’s oversight continues to be a challenging issue for all commodity areas as GAO has also identified challenges in the medical device industry.

Our Issue of the Month article, on how FDA defines Medical Foods is written by our Independent Advisor for Labeling and Claims, Betty Campbell. Medical foods are a very narrow category of foods prescribed by physicians, intended for patients who cannot otherwise meet their nutritional needs and is a commonly misunderstood and misused terms.

I have shared previously in EAS-e-News a new strategic service that we provide to our clients – Product Development and Labeling which combines the resources of some of our most experienced independent consultants to collectively assist companies in determining best paths forward when considering claims such as GMO and other trending claims as well as competitive challenges. There are many second and third order effects to the use of these claims and we at EAS feel that the most successful companies look at these challenges holistically and develop complimentary approaches that consider multiple aspects. I’ll bring to your attention a short video, hosted by EAS Independent Advisor for Food Law and Regulation, and former Chief Food Law Counsel at Campbell Soup, Steve Armstrong which discusses this service. More details can also be found in this issue.

EAS has a number of seminars coming up that we invite you to attend – Dietary Supplement Labeling Compliance, March 5-6 in Logan, UT, and Dairy Processing 101, March 7-9 in Logan, UT, Dietary Supplement GMP Compliance April 4-5, in Denver, CO and Food Labeling Compliance May 29-30 in Alexandria, VA. We are also offering a new GMP Online Short Course based on 21 CFR 111. This two-part online training begins February 22. In addition, through our partnership with HACCP Consulting Group, you’ll find a Developing and Implementing SQF Systems seminar February 26-27 in Dayton, OH.

EAS welcomesour new regulatory intern, Georgetown University student Youthika Gokaraju, who is pursuing a masters degree in Biotechnology with an emphasis in BioBusiness. It has been EAS’ good fortune to have hosted a series of students from this prestigious program over the years and we are pleased to provide a window into the important world of regulatory affairs in the early days of their career.

I’d also like to congratulate EAS Independent Consultant Madhu Soni who was named one of the top five most prolific GRAS experts based on an independent group analysis cited in the prestigious journal Food Chemical Toxicology. The process of submitting a GRAS dossier to FDA can be a daunting process with numerous safety studies and required background documentation. Dr. Soni has been one part of the EAS GRAS team who has facilitated “no objections” for over 18 ingredients and many other self-determinations submitted directly by companies. For a listing of our successful GRAS submissions click here. If your company is considering submitting a GRAS dossier, please consider EAS to help in this process. We would be happy to discuss your project needs and help you to determine the best path forward for your specific situation.

Thank you as always for your interest in EAS and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any comments or questions.

Dynamic Year Ahead

Edward A. Steele - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Welcome to the January 2018 issue of EAS-e-News, our free news update for industries regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

As with any new year, we are excited for all it will bring – anticipating new product innovation, compliance dates for regulatory requirements and expectations by the agency on matters affecting our industry.

Speaking of new product innovation, December saw a number of new efforts by the agency including a comprehensive technical framework and regulatory pathway for manufacturers of medical device products created on 3D printers. The agency has even approved its first drug which, through a porous matrix created on a 3D printer, enables patients suffering from seizures to benefit from the drugs more quickly.

This emerging technology is advancing quickly. Scientists at CDER are researching how the 3D printing of drugs impacts inactive ingredients and other drug components and engineers at CDRH are investigating the effects of design changes on safety, performance, fit and functionality. In a Guidance document released in December, FDA clarifies thoughts on 3D printing device design, testing of products and quality system requirements. This is an exciting time in the device industry and we look forward to the innovations in years to come!

Our Issue of the Month article on pharma data integrity is written by Independent Consultant, Brian Nadel. Brian discusses validation concerns and reminds us that electronic data systems must be validated at each site, using company-specific systems. He also reminds us that once FDA finds some of a company’s data to be unreliable, it considers all of the data unreliable. Stay vigilant to avoid problems down the line.

We welcome three new independent consultants – Gustavo Gonzales, Ph.D., Steve Cammarn, Ph.D. and Karen Dixon. Dr. Gonzales has a long history of assisting the food industry with safety and regulatory compliance, having held roles at Sillliker, Specialty Foods Group and Jack in the Box, and Dr. Cammarn is an expert in pharmaceuticals and personal care products with a particular focus on quality assurance of manufacturing, research and development, and Ms. Dixon is a specialist in the area of tobacco who most recently oversaw Quality Management Systems at Altria.

In addition, I would like to congratulate Cathryn Sacra who has been promoted to Director of Labeling and Cosmetics. Cathryn has been with EAS since 2008, serving in roles of increasing responsibility. She is an asset who, in her new role, will have direct oversight of projects focusing on the labeling of foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. I’d also like to welcome Susan Catloth who is joining EAS as the office manager.

In this issue, you will read about three expanded partnerships for EAS in the areas of SQF, pharmaceutical, and OTC regulatory training. We look forward to working with HACCP Consulting Group (SQF), CfPIE, (Pharmaceutical) and CHPA (OTC) to bring the best information on regulatory requirements to the widest audience. We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming seminars and webinars.

We are also introducing a new section called “Ask the Expert”. We receive numerous questions through the Contact Us link on our website, many of which we feel would be of interest to industry-at-large. In this new section, our Independent Consultants and Senior Directors will answer common questions of concern, removing any company-specific information of course. We hope you’ll find this new section to be of interest and we invite you to submit any questions that you’d like to “Ask the Expert” here.

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

Best Wishes for the Holiday Season,

Sincerely,

Ed Steele,
Chairman