The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) provided regulatory and technical expertise on safety and compliance issues to attendees of the World Tea Expo, an annual, leading tradeshow for the specialty tea industry held in Long Beach, Calif.
AHPA also held an industry roundtable discussion on Thursday as a forum for companies to learn about current trends and concerns and to share insights and best practices. The meeting was well attended by a variety of companies of all sizes, from ingredient suppliers and importers to finished product manufacturers and retailers.
California's Proposition 65 and the proposed amendments to this state law was a hot topic at the roundtable.
"The specialty tea category has not been the subject of notice letters or litigation under California's Proposition 65 and we are working to preserve that track record," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "Informing members on potential concerns for botanicals allows industry to remain proactive and employ appropriate testing protocols to ensure the finished product is high-quality and in compliance with Prop 65."
AHPA continues to work with the enforcement agency for Prop 65, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), and other interested parties to provide industry expertise and ensure botanicals are understood and considered during rulemaking processes.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and potential implications for the specialty tea category were also addressed at the roundtable. Anticipated FSMA changes include additional steps in supplier verification and written documentation of verification programs.
"Knowing your suppliers and having ingredient specifications will be two essential steps in a successful supplier verification protocol," stated Tami Wahl, Special regulatory counsel for AHPA. "This may currently be a common-place practice, however, FSMA will require formal documentation of these measures."
"The specialty tea industry on the whole is eager to learn of current trends and concerns, and most importantly, open to strategies and best practices to stay in compliance and ultimately provide the highest quality end product possible," stated Wahl.
AHPA offers extensive guidance documents and training sessions to ensure members and others in the industry have current and accurate information on regulations and what is required to sell product in this category. AHPA also represents the needs of consumers and the industry when policymakers consider laws and regulations for specialty tea products.