BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 746


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          Date of Hearing:  June 23, 2015


                            ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH


                                  Rob Bonta, Chair


          SB  
          746 (Wolk) - As Introduced February 27, 2015


          SENATE VOTE:  34-0


          SUBJECT:  Food safety:  grist mills.


          SUMMARY:  Exempts from the requirements to register as a food  
          processing facility and also exempts from the definition of a  
          food facility, and therefore provisions of the California Retail  
          Food Code (CRFC), a historic water-driven grist mill in order to  
          allow grain to be milled, packaged and sold at the mill without  
          having to meet the requirements of a food processing facility or  
          a retail food facility.  Specifically, this bill: 


          1)Exempts from the requirement to register as a food processing  
            facility, beginning January 1, 2018, the milling, packaging,  
            and selling of grain produced and sold at a water-driven grist  
            mill on the National Register of Historic Places, provided  
            best management practices suitable for a historic water-driven  
            grist mill are followed for the processing and handling of the  
            product, the flour is identified as being produced in a  
            historic mill using traditional methods, and the product meets  
            applicable federal food adulteration purity standards.










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          2)Exempts from the definition of food facility, beginning  
            January 1, 2018, for purposes of law requiring food facilities  
            to obtain a permit from California Department of Public Health  
            (DPH) or the local health agency having jurisdiction over the  
            food facility, a water-driven grist mill that is on the  
            National Register of Historic Places and that has onsite sales  
            of grain that is milled at the facility.



          3)Makes various legislative findings and declarations related to  
            the recent moratorium on the closure of state parks and the  
            use of innovative tools to stabilize the Department of Parks  
            and Recreation (DPR) and broaden its financial base, and that  
            a more entrepreneurial and robust revenue-generation strategy  
            must be established for the state parks.



          4)States the intent of the Legislature to encourage DPR and DPH  
            to consult with each other to develop and implement  
            additional, reasonable improvements designed to increase  
            public health security at the Bale Grist Mill State Historic  
            Park, without impairing or adversely affecting historical,  
            cultural, or natural resources.


          EXISTING LAW:    


          1)Prohibits any person from engaging in the manufacture,  
            packing, or holding of any processed food unless the person  
            has a valid registration as a food processing facility from  
            DPH.



          2)Exempts certain activities that are authorized under specific  








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            permits and licenses from the food processing facility  
            registration requirements. 



          3)Prohibits any food facility from being open for business  
            without a valid permit from DPH or the local health agency  
            having jurisdiction over the food facility.



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



          5)Establishes various requirements that food facilities must  
            meet, including requiring that the interior floor, sides, and  
            top of the food holding area to be constructed of a smooth,  
            washable, impervious material capable of withstanding frequent  
            cleaning.



          6)Exempts from the definition of "food facility" certain  
            specified entities, including premises operated by a producer  
            that sells only whole produce grown by the producer, provided  
            the sales are conducted on premises controlled by the  
            producer.


          7)Under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, defines food  
            purity standards and deems food adulterated, or not fit for  
            human consumption, if that food is prepared, packed, or held  
            under insanitary conditions.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.








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          COMMENTS: 


          1)PURPOSE OF THIS BILL.  According to the author, in 2011, as  
            part of the Governor's efforts to cut state expenditures, the  
            Bale Grist Mill and 69 other state parks were selected for  
            closure. The Napa County Regional Park and Open Space  
            District, in partnership with the Napa Valley State Parks  
            Association, is working to keep the mill open to the public.   
            Selling flour produced at the mill is an important element in  
            generating the revenues needed to keep this National Historic  
            Landmark open to the public.  Because the mill is not  
            registered as either a retail food facility or a food  
            processing facility, the grain sold at the mill must be  
            labeled as not fit for human consumption. The author states  
            that the grist mill is a very clean, neat and well maintained  
            facility, best management practices are used, and the flour  
            which is produced is safe and healthy.


          2)Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park.   The Bale Grist Mill  
            State Historic Park is located near St. Helena in Napa County.  
             The water-powered mill was built in 1846.  Both the mill and  
            its 36-foot water wheel are protected as a state historic  
            landmark and have been partially restored.  The mill currently  
            sells flour produced at the mill, but it must be labeled as  
            not fit for human consumption because the mill is not  
            registered as either a retail food facility or food processing  
            facility.


            AB 1589 (Huffman), Chapter 533, Statutes of 2012, required DPR  
            to develop a plan to increase revenues at state parks,  
            appropriated $10 million in Proposition 84 general obligation  
            bond funds for the installation of revenue collection  
            equipment and other improvements at state parks, and  
            authorized taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to the state  








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            park system through the income tax system.


            The intention of this bill is to allow the Bale Grist Mill  
            additional revenue in order to make the mill operationally  
            self-sufficient.  This total operational expenses of the mill  
            for 2012 was $130,000.  Revenues from operation of the Bale  
            Grist Mill (entrance fees, sales of merchandise, donations for  
            flour, and special events at the Bale Grist Mill) for 2012  
            were $100,634.    The revenue currently generated from the  
            sale of milled grain is approximately $19,000 of the total  
            revenue each year. The sponsors of this bill suggest that more  
            grain would be sold if it could be sold without the notice  
            that it is not fit for human consumption.


            This bill is nearly identical to SB 170 (Wolk) of 2014, which  
            would have taken effect on January 1, 2016.  Unlike SB 746, SB  
            170 was heard in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife  
            Committee.  SB 170 was vetoed by the Governor, who stated:  
            "Exempting these products by January 1, 2016, is premature, as  
            no best management practices yet exist for historic  
            water-driven grist mills. I will direct the Department of  
            Public Health and the Department of Parks and Recreation to  
            continue working with proponents on this and other potential  
            solutions to help raise needed revenues."


          3)SUPPORT.  The Napa County Board of Supervisors (Napa County)  
            states that the Bale Grist Mill is one of only two remaining  
            water-driven mills west of the Mississippi River. Napa County  
            states that the mill currently sells flour produced at the  
            mill, but it must be labeled as not fit for human consumption  
            because the mill is not registered as either a retail food  
            facility or a food processing facility.  Napa County cannot  
            meet the standards for a retail food facility or a food  
            processing facility because the physical historic construction  
            of the mill makes it impossible to comply with current codes.   
            For example, wood floors are not allowed, the porous grinding  








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            stone is not allowed, and contact between grain/flour and the  
            wood in the grain chutes and flour bins is not allowed.  Napa  
            County supports this bill to allow the Bale Grist Mill to be  
            financially viable and not dependent on state subsidies.


          4)RELATED LEGISLATION.  


             a)   AB 143 (Wood) expands an exemption in the CRFC allowing  
               wine tasting rooms that currently only serve crackers to  
               also serve pretzels or prepackaged non-potentially  
               hazardous foods.  AB 143 passed out of this committee on  
               April 21, 2015 with a vote of 16-0 and is currently pending  
               in the Senate Appropriations Committee
             .
             b)   AB 1076 (Mayes) exempts from the definition of a food  
               facility, a snack bar operated by a charitable nonprofit  
               organization and authorizes snack bars to undertake limited  
               food preparation, as defined.  AB 1076 is pending in  
               Assembly Health Committee.


          5)DOUBLE REFERRAL.  A request to refer this bill to the Assembly  
            Appropriations Committee has been approved by the Assembly  
            Rules Committee; upon passage in this Committee, this bill  
            will be referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
          6)POLICY CONCERNS


             a)   Appropriate best management practices have not yet been  
               developed.  This bill requires that the mill follow best  
               management practices that do not yet exist for a processing  
               and handling suitable for a historic water-driven grist  
               mill.  This bill states legislative intent, but does not  
               require, that DPH and DPR develop those practices.   
               Although the author has attempted to address the Governor's  
               veto message by allowing two year for appropriate best  
               management practices to be developed, it is unclear what  








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               the timeline of that process is.


             b)   Bats, cats, and rats! The mill's physical historic  
               construction means it cannot meet current-day codes for  
               retail food safety.  State code requires the entire  
               structure be free of mice, bats, cats, and flies, which is  
               not possible without destroying the historic integrity of  
               the mill.  The Committee may wish to consider whether it is  
               inconsistent with the policies of this Committee to allow  
               an exemption from food safety standards for a facility  
               that, by definition, cannot possibly meet general food  
               safety protections, in particular excluding animals and  
               vermin.


          7)SUGGESTED AMENDMENT.  Upon vetoing SB 170, the Governor  
            directed DPH and DPR to work with stakeholders to develop best  
            management practices suitable for this mill.  This bill, as  
            drafted, only mentions that fact in legislative findings and  
            does not state in statute that the Bale Grist Mill would  
            follow the developed best management practices to protect food  
            safety.  To address this, the Committee suggests the author  
            amend this bill as follows: 


               (11) Beginning January 1, 2018, the milling,  
               packaging, and selling of grain produced and sold at a  
               water-driven grist mill on the National Register of  
               Historic Places, provided best management practices  
               developed in conjunction with Department of Public  
               Health and the Department of Parks and Recreation  
               suitable for a historic water-driven grist mill are  
               followed for the processing and handling of the  
               product, the flour is identified as being produced in  
               a historic mill using traditional methods, and the  
               product meets applicable federal food adulteration  
               purity standards. 









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          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District (sponsor)


          Napa City Council


          Napa County Board of Supervisors




          Opposition


          None on File. 




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

















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