The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed two new food safety rules aimed at preventing foodborne illness as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Both of the rules are available for public comment over the next 120 days.
The first rule proposed today would require makers of food to be sold in the U.S. -- whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility -- to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The FDA 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 and very small businesses would be given additional time.
The second rule FDA proposed today is on enforceable safety standards for the 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 proposal stipulates 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 and very small farms would have additional time to comply, and all farms would have additional time to comply with certain requirements related to water quality.
FDA advises that more rules will soon follow that include new responsibilities for importers to verify that food products grown or processed overseas are as safe as domestically produced food and accreditation standards to strengthen the quality of third party food safety audits overseas. FDA notes that approximately 15% of the food consumed in the United States is imported, with much higher proportions in certain higher risk categories, such as produce. The FDA will also propose a preventive controls rule for animal food facilities, similar to the preventive controls rule proposed today for human food.