Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1200(b)(5)(ii); 1910.1200(b)(6)(v)

January 24, 1990

Mr. John E. Lee, III
Director of Safety and Loss Control
National Oats Company
1515 H Avenue, N.E.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402

Dear Mr. Lee:

This is in response to your letter of November 27, 1989, to Mr. Barry White, Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Safety Standards Programs. Your letter, which raised concerns about the applicability of OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard, (HCS) 29 CFR 1910.1200, was referred to me; please allow me to apologize for the delay of this response.

You specifically questioned "whether food products are guided by the OSHA Standard 1910.1200?" The HCS, at section (b)(5)(ii) specifically exempts from the labeling requirements of the HCS any food or food additive that is subject to the labeling requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, section (b)(6)(v) states that the entire standard does not apply to "Food, drugs, cosmetics or alcoholic beverages in a retail establishment which are packaged for sale to consumers." Food and food products are therefore not totally exempt from coverage under the provisions of the HCS.

Chemical manufacturers and importers are responsible for performing a hazard determination on the chemicals they produce to determine if, under normal conditions of use, their product could result in a hazardous exposure situation for downstream employees who will be working with or otherwise handling that product. "Chemical" is broadly defined in the HCS as "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of elements and/or compounds," and therefore includes food and food additives. Food products, like any other chemical product, must be evaluated for their downstream hazardous exposure potential. I