FDA rolls out first rules on federal food safety law
Tom Karst, 01/04/2013
On the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Food and Drug Administration proposed two new food safety rules Jan. 4.
The rules are the produce safety for growers rule and food facility rules designed to prevent outbreaks.
The proposed rules implement the FSMA and are available for public comment for the next 120 days, according to the FDA.
The produce safety rule proposes enforceable safety standards on farms. This rule proposes science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables, according to the release.
The rule for food facilities requires companies to develop food safety plans, whether the product is from a foreign country or domestic. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise, according to the release.
The FDA is proposing these plans be in place a year after the final rules are published in the Federal Register; “small” and “very small” processors/manufacturers would be given additional time.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, discussed the proposed rules at a Jan. 4 news conference.
Hamburg said additional rules to follow include new responsibilities for importers and accreditation standards for third-party food safety audits overseas.
Industry leaders said they would immediately begin review of the proposals.
“United Fresh is pleased that FDA has published the draft rules and look forward to working with all stakeholders to conduct a thorough review,” said David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology for United Fresh Produce Association. “We will work closely with members across the produce industry, leading food safety scientists, other stakeholders and the FDA to ensure the proposed rules are practical and effective for enhancing produce food safety.”
“We are eager to review and assess these rules so that we can provide thoughtful, real-world comments to the FDA that will advance produce safety in ways that are practical for your businesses,” said Bryan Silbermann, president of the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., in a news release.