New regs for Thursday: synthetic pot, food safety and private documents

Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for synthetic pot from the Drug Enforcement Administration, new guidelines from the Agriculture Department for food safety plans and changes to the Department of Intrior's rules for certain law enforcement documents. 

Here is what’s happening.

Synthetic pot: The Drug Enforcement Administration is considering listing synthetic pot as a Scheduled 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

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The new rule would add commercially grown synthetic cannabis and its salts to the most dangerous drug to the list alongside heroin, marijuana, LSD and ecstasy.

The administration said the drugs – UR144, XLR11 and AKB48 ­– are often abused for their hallucinogenic effects.

“State public health departments and poison control centers have issued warnings in response to adverse health effects associated with herbal incense products containing synthetic cannabinoids which include: tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, unconsciousness, tremors, seizures, vomiting, hallucinations, agitation, anxiety, pallor, numbness, and tingling,” the proposed rulemaking said

The DEA temporarily listed the drugs in 2013, but that rule expires on May 15 unless extended or a new rule is created to permanently list the drugs.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Food safety: The Department of Agriculture’s Food Inspection Service has made its final revisions to compliance guidelines food producers must follow to validate their plan for controlling food safety hazards.

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The Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act requires establishments to adopt measures to prevent or control the risk of foodborne illness from meat or poultry products at each stage of the production process.

Agency made several improvements to the final Compliance Guidelines for Hazard Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems validation to clarify scientific support and in-plant data requirements.

The agency also added a description of expert advice from a processing authority as an example of an acceptable type of scientific support, and provided information on how to design challenge studies and what types of microbiological data should be included in the scientific support.

The guidance is now available.

Private documents: The Department of Interior is considering changing its regulations to keep certain documents under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act private.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 created a record system for documenting investigations of individuals or organizations that sold fake Indian products, or falsely marketed products as being Indian or from a particular Indian tribe. Under the privacy act, those records can be made public if the released information does not interfere with law enforcement activities.

But under the proposed rule, those documents would not be made public. In its rulemaking, the Department of Interior said it’s amending its regulations because of criminal, civil and administrative law enforcement requirements.

The public has 60 days to comment.