WSR 00-21-035

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed October 12, 2000, 8:23 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 16-XXX WAC, Food labeling.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 69.04.310.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: This is a rule that establishes exemptions to RCW 69.04.310(2), which describes misbranding by the failure to declare ingredients on the label of a product. The director is authorized to establish such rules when he determines that compliance with the requirements of RCW 69.04.310(2) is impracticable, or results in deception or unfair competition. Currently there are no exemptions from declaring ingredients on food products as required by RCW 69.04.310. Although it is commonly thought to apply primarily to packaged food under self-service situations, such as off grocery store shelves, the law makes no exception to unpackaged food in self-service bins or food dispensed from behind a bakery or deli counter or even served in restaurants. We believe it would be clearly impractical and be of minimal value to the consumer to require such labeling in other than prepackaged and/or self-service situations. This rule intends to address those issues by outlining exemptions from ingredient labeling under certain conditions.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The Food and Drug Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Washington State Department of Health, and various local county health departments all regulate food product labeling to one degree or another. Because the proposal makes an exception to the ingredient labeling required under a section of Washington state law that the Washington State Department of Agriculture has the responsibility for enforcing, the agency is obligated to be the agency that initiates rule making on this issue. WSDA is acting as the lead agency in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Health. WSDA met with and has an informal agreement with the Washington State Department of Health on the rule proposal and how it shall be implemented and enforced.

Process for Developing New Rule: [No information supplied by agency.]

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Claudia Coles, Food Safety Program Manager, Food Safety and Animal Health Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1905, fax (360) 902-2087, e-mail ccoles@agr.wa.gov.

For the copy of the review report contact Claudia Coles, Food Safety Program Manager, (360) 902-1905.

October 11, 2000

Claudia Coles

Food Safety Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office