NEBRA Comments on Federal Rules
Late this fall, public comment periods are ending regarding two major proposed new federal regulations affecting biosolids: the U. S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) “Produce Safety Rule” and the U. S. EPA NPDES program “Electronic Reporting Rule.” NEBRA is submitting comments to both, focusing on the proposed Rule’s treatment of biosolids.
The proposed FDA rule includes biosolids as one of many “biological soil amendments” that are available to farmers, just like animal manures. NEBRA stated:
“We commend FDA and the authors of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for the explicit focus on scientific analysis and risk assessment in the creation of the proposed regulations. This careful science was already evident in FDA’s discussion of biosolids in the 1998 “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.” In that document, FDA formally recognized the significance and effectiveness of the pathogen controls required for biosolids by 40 CFR Part 503, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for the use and disposal of sewage sludge (biosolids)…. This scientific rigor has also been evident in FDA’s (and partner agencies’) approach, over recent years, in analyzing outbreaks of food-borne illness, using environmental assessment modeling…. We appreciate that FDA clearly recognizes the efficacy of the 40 CFR Part 503 biosolids regulations and is ‘not proposing to implement further restrictions’ (Fed. Reg., 2013, p. 3578). This is important in avoiding duplicate or conflicting regulations that unnecessarily hamper producers and stymy the recycling of biosolids and other beneficial soil amendments…. It is clear from this and past FDA actions that the agency properly recognizes that biosolids are, in reality, just one of several biological soil amendments commonly in use, that biosolids are currently adequately regulated for safety, and that all such amendments should be managed in similar ways to reduce the risk of human or environmental impacts.”
Regarding the proposed EPA NPDES program Electronic Reporting Rule, the NEBRA Regulatory & Legislative Committee and Board are developing comments for the mid-December deadline.