BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 384


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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015


                            ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH


                                    Bonta, Chair


          AB  
                     384 (Perea) - As Introduced  February 18, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Food safety.


          SUMMARY:  Repeals the current January 1, 2016 sunset date,  
          thereby making permanent, the $100 food safety fee paid by  
          persons engaged in manufacture, packing, or holding of processed  
          food in California.   


          EXISTING LAW: 


          1)Establishes the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law,  
            administered by the California Department of Public Health  
            (DPH), to regulate the manufacture, sale, labeling, and  
            advertising activities related to food, drugs, devices, and  
            cosmetics in conformity with the federal Food, Drug, and  
            Cosmetic Act.



          2)Requires, until January 1, 2016, a person engaged in the  
            manufacture, packing, or holding of processed food in the  
            state to pay a food safety fee of $100 to DPH for a food  
            safety fund.  Requires the funds to be used to assist in  
            developing and implementing education and training programs  
            related to food safety, known as the Food Industry Education  
            and Training Program (Program).  
          FISCAL EFFECT:  This bill has not been analyzed by a fiscal  








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          committee.


          COMMENTS: 


          1)PURPOSE OF THIS BILL.  According to the author, after a series  
            of dangerous food contamination incidents, the food processing  
            industry asked the Legislature in 1995 to create the Food  
            Industry Education and Training Program.  In 1997 due to DPH  
            not having the funding for the Program, the industry initiated  
            the $100 fee for every person who is engaged in the  
            manufacture, packing, or holding of processed food.  This fee  
            is used to fund the education and training of food processors  
            in the safe handling and prevention of microbial contamination  
            of food products.  The author notes that the industry  
            requested and supported previous extensions of the fee.  With  
            the proven success of the program, the food processing  
            industry is now comfortable with the removal of the sunset  
            making the fee and program permanent.

          2)BACKGROUND.  In response to dramatic news stories of food  
            contamination, AB 1559 (Cardoza), Chapter 727, Statutes of  
            1997, established the Program within DPH.  AB 1559 contained  
            sunset provisions for the program that were subsequently  
            legislatively extended several times.  The current program  
            will expire on January 1, 2016.  This bill would delete the  
            sunset provision entirely, making the Program and fee  
            permanent. 


            According to DPH, the Program is an industry-initiated program  
            that has been instrumental in developing high-quality training  
            courses, manuals, and videos that focus on food safety and  
            high-risk food commodity production.  Many of the training  
            programs DPH's Industry Education and Training Unit has  
            developed have been nationally recognized and serve as models  
            of industry-government cooperation.  Education and training is  
            a critical component of a comprehensive food safety program  
            and is specifically intended to help processors learn how they  
            can prevent food from becoming contaminated and thereby assist  
            them in reducing the incidence of costly food recalls and  








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            food-borne illness outbreaks.  


          3)SUPPORT.  The California League of Food Processors, sponsor of  
            this bill, recognizes that safety training provided by this  
            program is critical in avoiding contamination incidents.   
            Additionally, they believe this program is a successful  
            collaboration between industry and government.  The California  
            Chamber of Commerce supports this bill, noting that the  
            Program has been highly effective at providing multi-lingual  
            training to food processing workers on the basics of food  
            safety, sanitation and best management practices.

          4)PREVIOUS LEGISLATION.

             a)   AB 2612 (Committee on Agriculture), Chapter 393,  
               Statutes of 2010, among other provisions, extended the  
               sunset on the food safety fee to January 1, 2016.

             b)   AB 1081 (Mathews), Chapter 401, Statutes of 2005, among  
               other provisions, extended the sunset on the food safety  
               fee to January 1, 2011.

             c)   AB 2981 (Committee on Agriculture), Chapter 535,  
               Statutes of 2002, among other provisions, extended the  
               sunset on the food safety fee to January 1, 2006.


             
             d)   AB 1548 (Cardoza), Chapter 915, Statutes of 1999, among  
               other provisions, extended the sunset on the food safety  
               fee to January 1, 2003.



             e)   AB 1559 establishes the Program within DPH.  Creates the  
               Food Safety Fund (Fund) within the State Treasury in order  
               to provide education and training in the prevention of  
               microbial contamination.  Mandates a $100 food safety fee  
               to be paid by food processors to the Fund. 










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          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:


          Support




          California League of Food Processors (sponsor)
          American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees,  
          AFL-CIO


          California Chamber of Commerce
          Morning Star Company


          Opposition


          None on file.


          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Dharia McGrew / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097