WSR 01-11-144

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed May 23, 2001, 10:44 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-08-100.

Title of Rule: Repeal of the Washington red raspberry grades and standards, chapter 16-143 WAC.

Purpose: The current rules establish standards for fresh red raspberries that are destined for freezing, puree, juice stock and other processing uses; establish standards for red raspberry puree stock and juice stock red raspberries; establish container marking requirements for red raspberries and specify how red raspberries may be used, processed and sold.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapters 69.04 and 15.17 RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapters 69.04 and 15.17 RCW.

Summary: The department has determined that it will be unable to implement the current red raspberry grades and standards and is proposing to repeal the rules that go into effect June 1, 2001.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The Washington red raspberry grades and standards were adopted in May 2000. As a result of issues raised after the adoption of the rules, the director then extended the effective date of the rules until June 1, 2001. The director also determined that additional rules are necessary to address how red raspberries harvested outside of Washington can meet the Washington No. 1 processing grade standards and be deemed equivalent when the grades and standards go into effect.

On January 19, 2001, the Federal Food and Drug Administration issued final rules at 21 C.F.R., Part 120 - Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems. These federal rules will become effective January 22, 2002, or after depending on whether a business is small or very small. These rules require processors to implement a HACCP system that complies with the requirements established in the federal rules for the purpose of ensuring the safety of juice beverages. The department has been consulting with the federal Food and Drug Administration to determine whether purees of fruits and vegetables used in products other than juice for beverages are covered by the requirements. FDA provided a preliminary answer on May 18, 2001, which indicates that only puree added to or destined to be added to juice would be covered. Significant questions of application and enforcement of the rules and labeling remain that make necessary revisions and implementation of the existing rules infeasible at this point.

How puree is included in the HACCP rules impacts the possible scope of the department's red raspberry grades and standards as well as any equivalency rules. At a minimum the HACCP requirements impact red raspberries used for juice. The determination of how puree is included or excluded also impacts the nature and scope of the small business economic impact statement (SBEIS) that must be prepared. Given the number of outstanding issues that still remain, an adequate and accurate SBEIS cannot be prepared. As a result of the delay, the department will not be able to adopt equivalency rules in time to be effective June 1, 2001, when the red raspberry grades and standards will become effective.

In addition, following the adoption of the grades and standards rules, a petition was filed with the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee (JARRC) contesting the small business economic impact statement (SBEIS) filed with the red raspberry grades and standards. The department delayed initiating the additional rule-making process on developing the equivalency rules until a determination was made on the adequacy of the SBEIS. A public hearing was held in Bellingham on January 18, 2001, to accept industry testimony on that subject and a report was prepared for JARRC. Based on the information provided at the public hearing, the director found the SBEIS to be adequate. JARRC has yet to respond to the director's finding.

Given the circumstances and issued as outlined above, the director is therefore proposing to repeal the red raspberry grades and standards rules.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: John P. Daly, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, (360) 902-1888; and Enforcement: Claudia Coles, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, (360) 902-1905.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Agriculture, governmental.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: See Summary and Reasons Supporting Proposal above.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: In May 2000, the department completed a rule-making process that resulted in the adoption of the red raspberry grades and standards. The rules adopted on May 2, 2000, will go into effect June 1, 2001, and will establish standards for fresh red raspberries that are destined for freezing, puree, juice stock and other processing uses; establish standards for red raspberry puree stock and juice stock red raspberries; establish container marking requirements for red raspberries and specify how red raspberries may be used, processed and sold. This proposal would repeal the grades and standards rules.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This proposed rule would repeal the red raspberry grades and standards that are to go into effect June 1, 2001.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. The Washington State Department of Agriculture is not a listed agency in section 201.

Hearing Location: Whatcom County Library, Central Services, 5205 N.W. Road, Bellingham, WA 98226, on June 27, 2001, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Jodie Jones, TDD (360) 902-1976, or (360) 902-1996.

Submit Written Comments to: Linda Condon, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98501, e-mail wsdarulescomments@agr.wa.gov, fax (360) 902-2087, by June 27, 2001.

Date of Intended Adoption: June 28, 2001.

May 23, 2001

John P. Daly

Assistant Director


REPEALER

The following chapter is hereby repealed:


Chapter 16-143 WAC, Red raspberry grades and standards

Washington State Code Reviser's Office