BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 888|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 888
          Author:   Yee (D), et al
          Amended:  5/18/10
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 4/21/10
          AYES:  Alquist, Leno, Negrete McLeod, Pavley, Romero
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Strickland, Aanestad, Cedillo, Cox

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8


           SUBJECT  :    Food safety:  Asian rice based noodles

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill requires manufacturers of Asian rice  
          based noodles, as defined, to place a label on the product  
          indicating the date and time of manufacture and include a  
          statement that the noodles must be consumed within four  
          hours of manufacture.  This bill also allows a food  
          facility to sell Asian rice based noodles that have been  
          kept at room temperature for no more than four hours. 

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law:

          1. Requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to  
             administer and enforce the Sherman Food, Drug, and  
             Cosmetic Law (Sherman Law) to regulate the contents,  
             packaging, labeling, and advertising of food, drugs, and  
             cosmetics.  A violation of the Sherman Law is a  
                                                           CONTINUED





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             misdemeanor.

          2. Requires DPH to administer the California Retail Food  
             Code (Cal Code) to regulate the manufacture, processing,  
             distribution and sale of food by a food facility.  The  
             primary responsibility of Cal Code enforcement lies with  
             local health agencies.  A violation of any provision of  
             CalCode is a misdemeanor.

          3. Defines a food facility as an operation that stores,  
             prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides  
             food for human consumption at the retail level.

          4. Defines a potentially hazardous food as a food that  
             requires time or temperature control to limit pathogenic  
             micro-organism growth or toxin formation that may cause  
             food infections or food intoxications; or a food  
             supporting the growth or toxin production of Clostridium  
             botulinum.  A potentially hazardous food includes a food  
             of plant origin that is heat treated.  

          5. Excludes specified foods from the potentially hazardous  
             food definition, and states the scientific conditions  
             under which they are excluded, as specified.  

          6. Permits Korean rice cakes, as defined, to be sold if  
             they are held at room temperature for no more than 24  
             hours, if they have been cooked in a specified way, and  
             contain no animal products.

          This bill:

          1. Defines an Asian rice based noodle as a confection that  
             contains rice powder, water, wheat starch, and vegetable  
             cooking oil, that the ingredients shall not include any  
             animal fats or any other products derived from animals.   


          2. States that the preparation of an Asian rice based  
             noodle is by a traditional method that includes cooking  
             by steam at not less than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, for  
             not less than four minutes. 

          3. Requires manufacturers of Asian rice based noodles to  







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             label the noodles to indicate the date and time of  
             manufacture and include a statement that the noodles  
             must be consumed within four hours of manufacture.

          4. Allows a food facility to sell Asian rice based noodles  
             that have been kept at room temperature for no more than  
             four hours.

          5. Requires, at the end of the operating day, Asian rice  
             based noodles that have been kept at room temperature  
             for more than eight hours to be destroyed in a manner  
             approved by the enforcement agency.

          6. Asian rice noodles that have been kept at room  
             temperature shall be consumed, cooked, or destroyed in a  
             manner approved by the enforcement agency within four  
             hours manufacture.

           Testing of potentially hazardous foods
           
          A laboratory test for microbial activity in Asian rice  
          noodles was conducted in July, 2009 by Anresco  
          laboratories.  Results of the test concluded that the  
          product appeared to be stable within an eight-hour period  
          due to very little microbiological activity, and that the  
          absence of E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria indicates that  
          the product is not a health hazard after eight hours at  
          room temperature.  

          The California Association of Environmental Health  
          Administrators (CAEHA), which represents the 62 local  
          environmental health agencies charged with local  
          enforcement, argues that the random sample of one batch of  
          noodles used by Anesco Laboratories did not follow a  
          protocol approved or recognized by federal, state and local  
          health officials as a valid pathogen inhibition and  
          inactivation study.  In March, 2010, CAEHA solicited the  
          assistance of Dr. Linda Harris, Associate Director of the  
          Western Institute for Food Safety and Security in the  
          Department of Food Science and Technology at the University  
          of California, Davis to design a challenge study evaluation  
          for an Asian rice based noodle challenge study that would  
          be recognized by these officials.  








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          AB 2214 (Tran) Chapter 160, Statutes of 2006 (The Asian  
          Traditional Food Act) directed DPH to conduct a study of  
          the sale and consumption of three traditional Asian foods -  
          Banh Tet, Banh Chung, and Moon Cakes - after enforcement  
          actions by local jurisdictions to require refrigeration of   
          these products resulted in complaints from the  
          manufacturers and the community that the products are  
          unpalatable after refrigeration.  

          The study states that, each year, new and modified food  
          products are developed in the United States, with many of  
          these meeting the statutory definition of potentially  
          hazardous.  The study reports that no regulatory agency has  
          the resources to conduct necessary safety studies on these  
          products seeking to be exempted from time and/or  
          temperature controls enacted to reduce the risk to  
          consumers.  The study adds that anecdotal reports that  
          "these products have not been associated with an outbreak"  
          are not sufficient to bypass existing scientifically-based  
          requirements and safety studies for exemptions of time and  
          temperature controls are the responsibility of the  
          manufacturers.  

          The study concluded that microbial challenge studies, which  
          use accepted industry and academic methods to introduce  
          likely pathogens onto foods and monitor their ability to  
          survive, grow, and/or produce toxins at several points in  
          time, are considered the gold standard for assessing  
          whether food products are classified as a potentially  
          hazardous food.  

          However, because microbial challenge studies would have  
          required significant resources to complete and no funding  
          was provided to support the study, the University of  
          California Laboratory for Research in Food Preservation,  
          which was contacted to conduct the evaluation, used  
          established microbiological models to estimate the ability  
          of selected pathogens and toxins to survive or grow in  
          these products.  

           FISCAL EFFECT :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/18/10)







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          Asian Americans for Community Involvement
          Board of Supervisors Member, San Mateo County 
          Board of Supervisors Member, Santa Clara County 
          California Rice Industry Association 
          California Small Business Association
          Fat Family Restaurants
          Hocean Food Corporation
          Koi Palace Restaurant
          Lam Hoa Thuan Restaurant
          Lucky K.T. Co Inc.
          Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc., Silicon Valley  
          Chapter
          Osha Thai Caf?
          Osha Thai Noodle Caf? 
          Osha Thai Restaurant  
          Osha Thai Restaurant and Bar 
          San Francisco Board of Supervisors
          San Francisco Department of Public Health
          San Mateo Supervisor Rich Gordon
          Sincere Orient Food Company 
          Southern California TEO-CHEW Association 
          Sun Mei Restaurant 
          Vice Mayor, Cupertino 
          Yan Can Cook Production, PBS, Martin Yan, host


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          California Asian rice based noodle makers are shutting  
          doors and eliminating jobs because of a questionable  
          interpretation of state law that requires the noodles to be  
          refrigerated, threatening a staple of Asian cuisine. 

          The author states that while state regulations require  
          specified food to be held at or below 41 degrees  
          Fahrenheit, or kept at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit,  
          rice noodles are meant to be kept at room temperature for  
          up to eight hours, and changes in temperature ruin the  
          noodles.  The author adds that any change in production  
          would change a standard used by Asian communities for  
          thousands of years. 

          The author further argues that independent lab tests,  
          coupled with generations of Asian rice based noodle  







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          consumption, demonstrate that they are safe and that state  
          laws should allow for their continued production.  The  
          author further argues that lab tests provided prove Asian  
          rice noodles already fall under existing exemptions in the  
          law. 


          CTW:nl  5/18/10   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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