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Georgia Department of Agriculture

Notice of Intent to Consider the Adoption of Amendments to the rules adding a list of firm types and risk tiers in Chapter 40-7-18

To All Interested Persons and Parties:

Pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, O.C.G.A. § 26-2-34, notice is hereby given that the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be accepting written comments regarding the adoption of an additional rule to Chapter 40-7-18 which will list the firm types covered by the Manufactured Food Establishment License.  The Department will be accepting written comments from July 10, 2012, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on August 10, 2012. 

Synopsis, Main Features, and Differences:

It is proposed to adopt Departmental Rule 40-7-18-.13 entitled “License to Operate.”  This addition requires any person operating a food processing plant to obtain a license from the Department.  A food processing license may be acquired by submitting a written application and paying the appropriate fee.  The fee structure for a food processing license is based on the level of risk, procedural effort and inspection time needed for each food processing plant.  The license fee for a Tier 1 license is set at $100.00, Tier 2 $150.00, Tier 3 $200.00, Tier 4 $250.00 and Tier 5 $300.00.   Each license shall be renewed annually on July 1; the fee shall be increased by 50% if not renewed by September 1.

The proposed rule will feature each licensing tier and list the firm types associated within each tier.  The various firm types involving manufacturing or processing have been excised from the list of firm types for retail establishments that appear in department rule 40-7-1-.75(2)(a). 

The department is seeking to promulgate regulations governing blended operations, or establishments that have both retail sales and processing operations on the same premises.  These blended facilities will no longer receive a “Food Sales Establishment License,” but will be issued a “Manufactured Food Establishment License” and be governed by both the regulations in Chapter 40-7-18 (for the processing/manufacturing operation) and the General Rules found in 40-7-1-.01 (for the retail part of the blended operation). 

To qualify for a non-transferable Manufactured Food Establishment License an applicant must:  be an owner of the establishment; comply with department rules; allow inspections of the facility; provide records and other information when requested; agree to comply with department directives relating to corrective actions, notices, orders, warnings, etc.; and agree to be subject to sanctions authorized by law. 

Additionally, the license holder may be asked to sign an acknowledgement stating that they have received an inspection report or some other type of document or action.  By signing the acknowledgement, the license holder is not stating that they agree with the findings.  Refusing to sign is documented in the license holder’s history and refusal to sign will not affect the license holder’s obligation to take corrective action if violations are found. 

The proposed rules will require a license holder to take immediate action to discontinue operations and notify the department if an imminent health hazard exists because of an emergency such as fire, flood, extended interruption of electric or water, sewage backup, misuse of poisonous or toxic materials, onset of a foodborne outbreak, gross insanitary condition(s), or other circumstances that may endanger public health.  Manufacturing and processing operations may still be performed in other unaffected areas.  Approval from the department must be obtained before resuming operations. 

Lastly, the proposed rule relating to qualifications and responsibilities of applicants for a Manufactured Food Establishment License, non-transferability of the license, refusal to sign acknowledgment, ceasing operations and reporting of imminent health hazards and resumption of operations is copied from the retail food regulations found in Chapter 40-7-1. 

Comment Period and Additional Information:

The Department will be accepting written comments from July 10, 2012, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on August 10, 2012.   Written comments shall be considered on August 13, 2012.  Please submit written comments to:

 

Oscar S. Garrison,

Division Director,

 Food Safety Division

Georgia Department of Agriculture

19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive

Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Telephone Number: 404-656-3627

FAX Number: 404-463-6428

You may download a copy of the synopsis and the proposed rules from the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at www.agr.georgia.gov

This notice is given in compliance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-13-4.

 

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