Timeline Needed for Food Safety Act

US - The Food Safety Modernisation Act, signed into law in January 2011, calls for new preventive control provisions to take effect July 3, 2012.
calendar icon 31 May 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The Food and Drug Administration, however, is still drafting the regulations that will govern implementation, and members of the food industry, including International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), have urged the agency to issue updated guidance concerning the timeline for enforcement.

In a letter sent to Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, IDFA and 16 other food organisations said the fast-approaching date, combined with the lack of regulations and an official statement from FDA on enforcement, have generated uncertainty and concern among food companies.

The uncertainty is compounded for small businesses, the groups said. According to the law, the preventive controls provision will not take effect for small and very small businesses until FDA issues final regulations that define "small business" and "very small business" and outline the preventive control requirements.

"We understand the agency has stated informally that the FDA will not enforce these new requirements until the agency issues final regulations and allows time for implementation by the food industry," the letter said.

"That makes perfect sense, but because of the way the law is drafted, it is essential that the agency state, in writing, that this will be its enforcement posture."

In joint comments filed a year ago, IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation urged FDA to consider existing preventive control programs when drafting regulations for implementation.

They also asked the agency not to mandate finished product testing, to align new regulations with the Pasteurised Milk Ordinance (PMO) and to focus on the validation of pasteurisation systems, not finished products, to ensure public health and safety.

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