FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules to Prevent Foodborne Illness
- by Kyle Braver
UNITED STATES - The Food and Drug Administration has proposed important revisions to regulations governing the fresh produce industry in order to implement portions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and prevent the spread of foodborne illness. According to a press release, the new rules would cover:
- Preventive controls for human food.
- Preventive controls for animal food.
- The foreign supplier verification program.
“Ensuring a safe and high-quality food supply is one of the FDA’s highest priorities, and we have worked very hard to gather and respond to comments from farmers and other stakeholders regarding the major proposed FSMA regulations,” shared FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA believes these updated proposed rules will lead to a modern, science-based food safety system that will better protect American consumers from potentially hazardous food. We look forward to public comment on these proposals.”
The FDA explained that these rule changes were made in response to extensive feedback from the public and the fresh produce industry.
“Based on valuable input from farmers, consumers, the food-industry and academic experts, the FDA is proposing to update these four proposed rules to ensure a more flexible and targeted means to ensure food safety,” said Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine.
What will the new rules cover?
- Revise the water quality testing provisions to account for natural variations in water sources as well as adjusting the FDA's approach to the use of manure and compost in farming.
- An exemption for farms with $25,000 or less in produce sales from the produce-safety rules (as opposed to measuring the exemption based off total sales of all food produced on the farm).
- A clarification for food processors who produce human and animal food products. If a human food processor uses by-products to produce animal food, they do not need to comply with the full animal food safety rules provided they are already fully complying with the human food safety rules.
- A revision to the foreign-supplier verification law to give importers more flexibility in constructing supplier verification measures based on assessed risk and previous experience with the company in question.
Beginning on August 29th, the FDA will be accepting comments on these proposed revisions for 75 days, and will consider these comments before issuing the final rules in 2015.