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The purpose of the program is to allow the FDA to visit facilities involved in the manufacturing of tobacco products, including any related laboratory testing; observe the manufacturing operations of the tobacco industry, from the receipt of raw materials to the distribution of finished products; and learn about the manufacturing practices and processes unique to regulated tobacco products and their facilities, the government agency stated.
However, the FDA stressed that the visits will not "include or replace official FDA inspections of facilities."
As perhaps a predecessor to those visits CSNews Online reported that the FDA toured Merchants Grocery Co.'s tobacco processing operation in Culpepper, Va., last month.
The FDA was invited to attend by the American Wholesale Marketers Association, of which Merchants is a member. Eight FDA officials accepted the invitation and were escorted at Merchants by its president, Elvin Smythers, and COO Chris Smythers.
Companies interested in participating or to learn more information about the Tobacco Product Manufacturing Facility Visits Program are encouraged to submit a request via Federal Register Notice Docket No. FDA-2012-N-0853.