The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday it is adding another 120 days to a comment period on its 2005 proposed rule that would allow the use of fluid ultra-filtered (UF) milk in manufacturing certain cheeses and related cheese products.
Ultra-filtered milk is raw or pasteurized milk that is mechanically filtered to concentrate the proteins in milk. In the process, some of the lactose, minerals and water-soluble vitamins are lost, along with water.
The resulting protein concentrate is easier and more cost effective to ship. This same process applies to UF nonfat milk, except that raw or pasteurized nonfat milk is used.
The agency had first reopened the comment period for the proposed rule in December for 90 days, which closes March 30.
The additional 120 days of public comment will start once a notice is published in the Federal Register, and the FDA notifies stakeholders when it does.
The agency said it reopened the comment period in December to solicit any new information on current industry practices regarding the use of fluid UF milk and fluid UF nonfat milk and on labeling of UF fluid milk and fluid UF nonfat milk when used as ingredients.
The proposed rule, which was issued on Oct. 19, 2005, would amend the definitions of “milk” and “nonfat milk” for cheeses and related cheese products in FDA’s regulations on food standards (often referred to as standards of identity).
In 2017, FDA issued guidance to industry indicating that it is exercising enforcement discretion regarding the use and ingredient labeling of fluid UF milk and fluid UF nonfat milk in the manufacture of standardized cheeses and related cheese products while it considers rulemaking.
“FDA has seen the marketplace evolve and believes it is appropriate to give interested persons another opportunity to comment on the issues raised by the rulemaking,” the agency said.
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For more information:
- Reopening of the Comment Period on the Proposed Rule to Permit the Use of Ultrafiltered Milk in Cheeses and Related Cheese Products
- Proposed Rule to Permit the Use of Ultrafiltered Milk in Cheeses and Related Cheese Products (October 2005)
- Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 part 133 – Cheese and Related Cheese Products
- Ultrafiltered Milk in the Production of Standardized Cheeses and Related Cheese Products: Guidance for Industry (August 2017)