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(a) Activities performed after conversion of an aquatic product to a nonperishable state cannot form the basis for application of the section 13(b)(4) exemption unless the subsequent operation is so integrated with the performance of exempt operations on the aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life mentioned in the section that functionally and as a practical matter it must be considered a part of the operations for which exemption was intended. The exemption is, consequently, not available for the handling or shipping of nonperishable products by an employer except where done as a part of named operations commenced on the product when it was in a perishable state. Thus, employees of dealers in or distributors of such nonperishable products as fish oil and fish meal, or canned seafood, are not within the exemption. Similarly, there is no basis for application of the exemption to employees employed in further processing of or manufacturing operations on products previously rendered nonperishable, such as refining fish oil or handling fish meal in connection with the manufacture of feeds. Further specific examples of application of the foregoing principle are given in the subsequent discussion of particular operations named in section 13(b)(4).
(b) In applying the principle stated in paragraph (a) of this section, the Department has not asserted that the exemption is inapplicable to the performance of the operations described in section 13(b)(4) on frozen, smoked, salted, or cured fish. The Department will continue to follow this policy until further clarification from the courts.