Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has finalized two of its seven major food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The two rules were finalized this week and put more emphasis on preventing foodborne illness and more emphasis on partnering with state and local authorities to develop a nationally integrated food safety system.
For exporters, the rules will mean holding imported food to the same food safety standard as domestically produced foods.
The two rules are the preventive control rules and focus on implementing modern food manufacturing processes for both human and animal foods.
The rules aim to ensure that food companies are taking action and working with the FDA to prevent hazards to customers on the front end, rather than waiting to act when an outbreak has occurred.
What the rules mean
The preventive controls rules will now require human and animal food facilities to develop and implement written food safety plans that indicate the possible problems that could affect the safety of their products and outline steps the facility would take to prevent or significantly minimize the likelihood of those problems occurring.
The FDA says this means that food companies will be accountable for monitoring their facilities and identifying any potential hazards in their products and prevent those hazards.
Under these rules, the FDA will be able to:
• assess these systems and their outcomes to prevent problems;
• respond when food safety problems occur; and
• better protect the safety of manufactured food.
The preventive-controls final rules are the result of an extensive outreach effort, and incorporate thousands of public comments, including valuable input from farmers, consumers, the food industry and academic experts, to create a flexible and targeted approach to ensuring food safety.
Once the seven FSMA rules are finalized in 2016, says the FDA, they will work together to systematically strengthen the food safety system and better protect public health.