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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 2, 2020 04:11 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Repeal of Obsolete Frozen Dessert Law
I plan to introduce legislation repealing Act 215 of 1965, referred to as the Frozen Dessert Law.

Act 215 provides for licensing, authorizing and regulating the manufacture and sale of frozen desserts. This law, however, is archaic and therefore no longer necessary. Existing statutes and regulations (i.e., Milk Sanitation Law, Food Safety Act) would remain in effect to assure the safety of frozen desserts.

I was recently contacted by a business in my district expressing concern with the Frozen Dessert Law and the burdensome requirement on companies to perform monthly sampling and testing of frozen desserts. Over 2,000,000 tests have been performed, at the expense of the frozen desert licensees, without a problem having been detected.

In addition, it is my understanding that there is a level of double inspection involving frozen desserts, with local health departments acting as licensor for the restaurant and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) acting as licensor for the frozen desserts’ aspects of the same restaurant. If the Frozen Dessert law is repealed, PDA staff would no longer have to expend time/manpower/resources in administering that law in areas where local health departments are the licensors for retail food facilities. There would be savings (time/manpower/$) to offset the Frozen Dessert license revenue PDA would lose if the law is repealed.

The PDA has indicated that surrounding adjacent states (and most other states) have done away with specific “frozen dessert” regulations and any regulatory requirements for monthly bacterial count testing of frozen desserts that existed under those regulations.

A repeal would make frozen desserts “just another food” covered by PDA’s expansive Food Code regulations and bring PA into alignment with the approach taken by other states. The Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services has reviewed the requirements of the Frozen Dessert Law and PDA’s other food-safety related requirements and is satisfied that current authority outside of the Frozen Dessert Law (The Food Safety Act, The Milk Sanitation Law, The Retail Food Facility Safety Act and The Food Code regulations) is adequate to protect public safety.

That said, public health or safety would not be jeopardized by the repeal of the Frozen Dessert Law. There is no food-safety-based reason to require that a restaurant owner (who must be licensed and inspected under the Retail Food Facility Safety Act) acquire a separate, second license and pay for mandatory periodic frozen dessert sample testing.

This proposal is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this initiative which will reduce burdensome requirements on businesses and save the state money without having an impact on the health and safety of residents.

Introduced as SB1089