BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        SB 969|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
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                                UNFINISHED BUSINESS 

          Bill No:  SB 969
          Author:   Nguyen (R), et al.
          Amended:  6/21/16  
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE:  9-0, 4/6/16
           AYES:  Hernandez, Nguyen, Hall, Mitchell, Monning, Nielsen,  
            Pan, Roth, Wolk


           SENATE FLOOR:  37-0, 5/9/16
           AYES:  Allen, Anderson, Beall, Berryhill, Block, Cannella, De  
            León, Fuller, Galgiani, Glazer, Hall, Hancock, Hernandez,  
            Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Huff, Jackson, Lara, Leno, Leyva, Liu,  
            McGuire, Mendoza, Mitchell, Monning, Moorlach, Morrell,  
            Nguyen, Nielsen, Pan, Pavley, Roth, Stone, Vidak, Wieckowski,  
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Bates, Gaines, Runner

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  77-0, 8/4/16 (Consent) - See last page for  
           SUBJECT:   Vietnamese rice cakes

          SOURCE:    Author

          DIGEST:   This bill permits a food facility to sell Vietnamese  
          rice cakes, as defined, that have been at room temperature for  
          up to 24 hours, notwithstanding provisions of law that require  
          potentially hazardous foods to either be refrigerated or kept  


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          Assembly Amendments specify that the label is required to be  
          designed by the Vietnamese Rice Cake Association.  


          Existing law:

          1)Establishes the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) to regulate  
            retail food facilities, which is enforced by local  
            environmental health officers.

          2)Defines "potentially hazardous food" as a food that requires  
            time or temperature control to limit pathogenic micro-organism  
            growth or toxin formation.

          3)Excludes from the definition of "potentially hazardous food"  
            any food that has been shown by appropriate microbial  
            challenge studies approved by the enforcement agency to not  
            support the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or  
            toxigenic micro-organisms that may cause food infections.

          4)Requires potentially hazardous food to be maintained at or  
            above 135 degrees Fahrenheit, or at or below 41 degrees  

          5)Defines "Korean rice cake" as a confection that contains rice  
            powder, salt, sugar, various edible seeds, oil, dried beans,  
            nuts, dried fruits, and dried pumpkin, but which does not  
            contain any animal fats or any other products derived from  


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          6)Permits a food facility, notwithstanding the requirement that  
            potentially hazardous foods either be kept above or below a  
            certain temperature, to sell Korean rice cakes that have been  
            at room temperature for no more than 24 hours.

          7)Permits a food facility, notwithstanding the requirement that  
            potentially hazardous foods either be kept above or below a  
            certain temperature, to sell Asian rice-based noodles that  
            have been at room temperature for no more than four hours.

          This bill:

          1)Permits a food facility to sell Vietnamese rice cakes that  
            have been at no more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 24  
            hours, notwithstanding provisions of law that require  
            potentially hazardous foods to either be refrigerated or kept  
            above 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

          2)Specifies that the above provision does not apply to  
            Vietnamese rice cakes that have been determined by the  
            Department of Public Health (DPH) to be non-potentially  
            hazardous foods based on formulation and supporting laboratory  
            documentation submitted to DPH by the manufacturer.

          3)Requires Vietnamese rice cakes that have been at no more than  
            70 degrees Fahrenheit but have been stored for more than 24  
            hours to be destroyed in a manner approved by the enforcement  

          4)Requires manufacturers of Vietnamese rice cakes to place a  
            label, designed by the Vietnamese Rice Cake Association, on  
            the Vietnamese rice cake that indicates the date and time the  
            cooking process was completed, and that includes a statement  
            that the rice cake must be consumed within 24 hours of the  
            date and time printed on the label.


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          5)Defines a "Vietnamese rice cake," also known as Bánh Tét or  
            Bánh Chung, as a confection that contains a combination of  
            rice, beans, and meat or fruit wrapped tightly in banana  
            leaves for cooking. Defines Bánh Tét as a rice cake in a  
            cylindrical shape, and Bánh Chung as a rice cake in a square  
            shape. The definition specifies the following cooking  

             a)   Requires the Vietnamese rice cake to be prepared using a  
               traditional Vietnamese method that includes cooking by  
               boiling in water for not less than 10 hours;

             b)   Requires the rice cakes to be handled, prepared, and  
               stored under sanitary conditions both when they are kept at  
               no more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit  upon completion of  
               cooking and after the rice cakes have been cooled to below  
               70 degrees Fahrenheit; and,

             c)   Requires any Vietnamese rice cakes that are unwrapped  
               from the banana leaves after cooking to be refrigerated.


          1)Author's statement.  According to the author, traditional  
            Vietnamese rice cakes are manufactured primarily around the  
            holiday seasons such as Tet. There are generally two forms of  
            rice cakes that can take more than eight hours to cook; one  
            with meat-filling and one with a fruit-filling. Traditionally,  
            families will keep these rice cakes for up to one week before  
            safely consuming, although many will refrigerate them by the  
            end of the day. Due to current requirements established by the  
            DPH and due to the presence of potentially perishable  
            ingredients, Vietnamese rice cakes must be sold refrigerated  
            or frozen. However, it is against tradition to purchase rice  


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            cakes that are cold. This stigma prevents traditional  
            Vietnamese rice cakes from being sold year-round in stores  
            without facing citations from health regulators. Additionally,  
            these cakes are often sold for charitable events to raise  
            money during the holidays. This bill allows for Vietnamese  
            rice cakes that are cooked and served according to traditional  
            recipes to be sold at room temperature with appropriate  
            warning labels.

          2)DPH report to the Legislature.  Pursuant to AB 2214 (Tran,  
            Chapter 610, Statutes of 2006), the DPH was required to  
            conduct a study of the sale and consumption of three  
            traditional Asian foods: Banh Tet, Banh Chung, and Moon Cakes.  
            These products, often consumed at cultural events and during  
            traditional ceremonies, are traditionally held and consumed at  
            room temperature, and enforcement by local jurisdictions to  
            require refrigeration resulted in complaints that the products  
            are unpalatable when refrigerated. AB 2214 required DPH to  
            determine if the products could be safely held at room  
            temperature for longer periods of time.

            DPH was unable to identify a producer of Banh Tet to provide  
            samples to be analyzed, but did complete laboratory studies of  
            Banh Chung. According to DPH, when Banh Chung is produced  
            according to the method specified in this bill, and is  
            packaged securely, and is not recontaminated during cooling,  
            packaging, and distributing, the product could be held safely  
            at room temperature for a maximum of 48 hours. However, DPH  
            concluded that the processing and handling conditions that  
            must occur so the product can reasonably be held at ambient  
            temperatures for up to 48 hours will likely prove too elusive  
            to practically implement. For example, DPH stated that it will  
            not be possible for regulatory staff to confirm or determine  
            if Banh Chung products have been subjected to 10 hours of  
            boiling or whether a shorter time period was used given the  
            current equipment and methods used by the industry. Without  
            the ability to confirm critical parameters are met, DPH  
            recommended that Banh Chung not be excluded from being  
            considered a potentially hazardous food.

          Related/Prior Legislation


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          SB 888 (Yee, Chapter 508, Statutes of 2010) required  
          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.  

          SB 144 (Runner, Chapter 23, Statutes of 2006) established the  
          CRFC in order to create uniformity between California's retail  
          food safety laws and those of other states, as well as to  
          enhance food safety laws based on the best available science.

          AB 2214 (Tran, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2006) required DPH to  
          conduct a study on the effects of retail food facility health  
          and sanitation standards on the sale and consumption of  
          traditional Asian food.

          AB 187 (Liu, Chapter 204, Statutes of 2001) permitted retail  
          food facilities to sell Korean rice cakes, as defined, that have  
          been at room temperature for less than 24 hours, and required  
          manufacturers of Korean rice cakes to provide a date stamp  
          indicating the date of manufacture and a warning label that the  
          rice cake must be consumed within one day of manufacture.

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

          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, negligible  
          state costs.   Retail food safety laws are locally enforced by  
          environmental health departments and can be funded through local  
          fees on retail facilities.

          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/5/16)

          Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association
          City of Fountain Valley
          City of Garden Grove
          City of San Jose
          City of Santa Ana


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          City of Westminster
          Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/5/16)

          None received

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:     This bill is supported by the Cities  
          of Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove and Westminster,  
          which all state that this bill ensures that Vietnamese rice  
          cakes may be sold in their traditional manner without  
          compromising food safety. The City of San Jose states that the  
          current requirements put too much burden and restrictions on the  
          rice cakes, and that while these regulations are intended to  
          keep people safe, the cakes have proven to not be harmful thanks  
          to the traditional wrapping and cooking techniques. This bill is  
          also supported by the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center  
          (SEARAC), which states that Asian-owned businesses make up 17%  
          of businesses in California, and Vietnamese-owned businesses are  
          the second largest within the Asian American community. SEARAC  
          states that legislation such as this bill ensures California is  
          respectful of culturally-specific businesses within California's  
          diverse community.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  77-0, 8/4/16
           AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Arambula, Atkins, Baker,  
            Bigelow, Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke,  
            Calderon, Campos, Chang, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Dababneh,  
            Dahle, Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher,  
            Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez,  
            Gonzalez, Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Holden, Irwin,  
            Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Quirk,  


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            Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark  
            Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk, Williams,  
            Wood, Rendon
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Chávez, Cooley, Roger Hernández

          Prepared by:Vince Marchand / HEALTH / (916) 651-4111
          8/5/16 13:46:59

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