PA 16-102—sHB 5317

Environment Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING COMMERCIAL FEED AND THE TERM AND FEE FOR CERTAIN LICENSES ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

SUMMARY: This act modifies the state's statutory commercial feed requirements to align them with the state Department of Agriculture's (DoAg) cooperative agreement with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on animal feed. By law, “commercial feed” is generally any feed used for pets and other animals, except for unmixed seeds and commodities (e. g. , hay, straw, silage, and husks) and individual substances not mixed with other material.

Among its provisions, the act:

1. requires in-state commercial feed manufacturers to register with DoAg annually, instead of once, and pay an annual registration fee;

2. establishes statutory fines for violating the commercial feed requirements;

3. eliminates a requirement that DoAg provide a commercial feed facility owner or operator with written notice of an inspection;

4. requires, instead of authorizes, DoAg to apply to Superior Court for a warrant when a facility owner refuses entry to an inspector; and

5. exempts manufacturers with less than $25,000 in annual commercial feed sales from registration and inspection requirements, while allowing DoAg to investigate written complaints against such manufacturers about adulterated or misbranded feed or illness or injury related to feed.

The act also decreases, from annually to biennially, the frequency for renewing certain DoAg licenses and registrations and adjusts the associated fees to reflect the longer term.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

1-3 — COMMERCIAL FEED

Annual Registration

The act requires in-state commercial feed manufacturers with $25,000 or more in gross annual sales of commercial feed to register their facilities with DoAg annually. The DoAg commissioner must prescribe the registration forms and process.

Each registration expires on December 31 and may be renewed in December. Registrants must pay an annual registration fee, which the act establishes at $100 for a manufacturer that employs five or more full-time staff and $50 for one that employs fewer than five full-time staff. The commissioner may adopt regulations to change the annual fee.

Under prior law, all in-state commercial feed manufacturers had to file information with the commissioner once and for no charge.

Under existing law, commercial feed distributors must annually register their commercial feeds with DoAg. Registrants pay an annual $40 fee for each feed registered (Conn. Agencies Regs. 22-118q-2).

Suspension or Revocation of Registration

Under prior law, the commissioner could cancel or refuse a distributor's commercial feed registration for noncompliance with the commercial feed laws, after giving the registrant an opportunity for a hearing. The act instead allows him to cancel, refuse, suspend, or revoke a commercial feed manufacturer's facility or distributor's commercial feed registration for noncompliance. But he may not cancel or refuse to issue a commercial feed registration unless the registrant is given an opportunity to amend the registration application to comply with the law.

Appeal and Hearing

Under the act, anyone aggrieved by an action of the commissioner (either cancellation, refusal, suspension, or revocation of a registration or imposition of an administrative fine (see below)) may submit a written appeal to the commissioner within 10 days after the action. The commissioner must hold a hearing in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA) and DoAg's administrative code within 90 days after receiving the appeal. Appeals are limited to the question of whether an alleged violation occurred.

Anyone aggrieved by a final decision of the commissioner or hearing officer may appeal to Superior Court in accordance with the UAPA.

The act specifies that these provisions do not limit the authority of the commissioner or his designated agent to issue orders necessary to protect the safety, health, and welfare of people or animals.

Statutory Fines for Violations

The act establishes fines for (1) failing to register a manufacturing facility or a commercial feed or (2) violating other commercial feed laws or regulations (e. g. , requirements on proper labeling and barring the sale of misbranded or adulterated feed), as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Fines for Violating Commercial Feed Requirements

Violation

Fine

Failing to register a commercial feed manufacturing facility

An infraction for a first violation; $500 for a subsequent violation

Failing to register a commercial feed

$100 for each commercial feed in violation

All other violations of the commercial feed statutes and regulations for which there is no specified penalty

$250 per violation for a first offense; $500 per violation for a subsequent offense occurring within one year of the first offense

Under the act, a person or entity that fails to register a commercial feed manufacturing facility or a commercial feed is fined only after receiving notification of the registration requirement. The DoAg commissioner may assess an administrative fine for other violations of the commercial feed requirements only after giving notice of the violation and an opportunity to correct it.

By law, when the commissioner or his designee has reasonable cause to believe commercial feed is being distributed in violation of the laws and regulations, he or she may order the distributor (1) to withdraw the feed from distribution and (2) not to dispose of it unless the commissioner or a court gives permission to do so. The commissioner may seek a court's permission to seize, condemn, and dispose of any noncompliant feed. A distributor must be given an opportunity to make the feed compliant before the court orders disposal (CGS 22-118s).

Inspection

Under prior law, DoAg employees could enter and inspect, at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, feed manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution facilities, vehicles, and equipment. The act instead allows the commissioner's designated agents to perform such inspections.

The act eliminates a requirement that the inspector present written notice of the inspection to the facility owner, operator, or agent in charge. But the law, unchanged by the act, requires the inspector to notify the person in charge when the inspection is complete.

If the owner or his or her agent denies entry to an inspector, the act requires, rather than allows, the commissioner or his agent to apply to Superior Court for a warrant.

Sampling and Analysis

Existing law allows inspectors to obtain samples of commercial feed for analysis. It requires the sampling and analysis to be done according to methods published by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists International or other generally recognized methods. The act requires these other methods to be approved by the FDA or DoAg commissioner. Upon request, the commissioner or his agent must prepare and leave a duplicate sample with the registrant.

The act eliminates a requirement that the analysis results be provided to the purchaser and the person named on the label. Prior law allowed a registrant, within 30 days after receiving a copy of the results, to request a portion of the analyzed sample.

The act specifies that a report issued by an accredited laboratory is prima facie evidence of the components of the sample collected. By law, the commissioner must use the report in determining if a commercial feed is deficient.

4-7 — LICENSE AND REGISTRATION TERMS AND FEES

The act doubles the term of certain licenses and registrations DoAg issues, making them renewable every two years, instead of annually. It adjusts the required fees to reflect the longer term. Table 2 lists the fees under prior law and the act.

Table 2: License and Registration Fees

Licensee or Registrant

Annual Fee under Prior Law

Biennial Fee under the Act

Milk dealer; subdealer; or cheese, dry milk, or yogurt manufacturer

$100

$200

Milk-selling store

60

120

Commercial kennel or pet shop

200

400

Animal grooming or training facility

100

200

Animal importer

100

200

Under the act, licenses related to milk and milk products extend from July 1 to June 30 of the second following year. Applicants must apply for renewal on or by July 1 of the second year. Applicants who renew late are charged a late fee of $50 or $15 for a milk-selling store.

Commercial kennel, pet shop, grooming facility, and training facility licenses and animal importer registrations extend from January 1 to December 31 of the second following year. Applicants must apply for renewal on or by December 31 of the second year.

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