FDA proposes two rules
to prevent foodborne
illness, boost food safety
Jan 8, 2013 9:06 AM
The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed two new food safety rules that will help prevent foodborne illness. These proposed rules implement the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and are available for public comment for the next 120 days. The FDA encourages Americans to review and comment on these important proposed rules.
These proposed rules build on strides made during the Obama administration, including the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped up testing for E coli in beef as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety, which many producers, growers, and others follow.
The rules follow outreach by the FDA to the produce industry, consumers, other government agencies, and the international community. Since January 2011, FDA staff have toured farms and facilities nationwide and participated in hundreds of meetings and presentations with global regulatory partners, industry stakeholders, consumer groups, farmers, state and local officials, and the research community.
“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is a common sense law that shifts the food safety focus from reactive to preventive,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “With the support of industry, consumer groups, and the bipartisan leadership in Congress, we are establishing a science-based, flexible system to better prevent foodborne illness and protect American families.”
One in six Americans suffer from a foodborne illness every year. Of those, nearly 130,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from their illness. Preventing foodborne illnesses will improve public health, reduce medical costs, and avoid the costly disruptions of the food system caused by illness outbreaks and large-scale recalls.
The first rule proposed would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. This rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The FDA seeks public comment on this proposal. It is proposing that many food manufacturers be in compliance with the new preventive controls rules one year after the final rules are published in the Federal Register, but small businesses would be given additional time.
Public comment is also sought on the second proposed rule, which proposes enforceable safety standards for production and harvesting of produce on farms. This rule proposes science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.
The FDA is proposing that larger farms be in compliance with most of the produce safety requirements 26 months after the final rule is published in the Federal Register. Small farms would have additional time to comply, and all farms would have additional time to comply with certain requirements related to water quality.
For more information, visit www.fda.gov.
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