The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released two rules to help prevent foodborne illness. FDA says the proposed rules implement the Food Safety Modernization Act and are available for public comment for the next 120 days. Most groups with an interest in the rules – including the United Fresh Produce Association – are waiting to analyze them before reacting. United Fresh Vice President of Issues Management and Communications Ray Gilmer said the proposed rules must be commodity-specific, based on the best available science; risk-based; consistent no matter where produce is grown or packaged; and flexible to allow for advances in science and production technology. According to Gilmer – United Fresh is committed to ensuring those provisions – and others – are integrated into the final rules.
According to FDA – the first proposed rule would require makers of food to be sold in the U.S. to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. They would also be required to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The second rule proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. FDA says science and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. FDA is proposing compliance with most of the produce safety requirements by larger farms 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.
Three additional draft rules are still under review at the Office of Management and Budget. The rules cover foreign supplier verification, preventive controls for the feed industry and third-party audit certification.
Source: NAFB News Service