New FDA Regulations for Food Safety

Foodborne illness prevention strategies have been developed and will soon be put in place

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks effect thousands of people every year in the U.S. the
The FDA has unveiled proposals to help the food industry prevent future outbreaks.

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, said, “The FDA knows that food safety, from farm to fork, requires partnership with industry, consumers, local, state and tribal governments, and our international trading partners. Our proposed rules reflect the input we have received from these stakeholders and we look forward to working with the public as they review the proposed rules.”

"Check out the new rules on the FDA website."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presented two new rules for food safety guidelines to protect the public from food borne illness. These rules are part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Americans are able to read and comment on the new rules for the next 120 days on the FDA website.

Salmonella poisoning and E. coli infections have been the focus of public health concern since multiple outbreaks have effected and even killed people through the years.

Food borne illness is contracted by one out of every six people in the U.S. per year. Almost 130,000 must be hospitalized for treatment and approximately 3,000 die each year.

For the past 2 years, the FDA has worked with consumer groups, all areas of the produce and agriculture industry, government agencies and international food relations to understand each process and develop these new guidelines.

Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, said, “The FDA FSMA is a common sense law that shifts the food safety focus from reactive to preventive. With the support of industry, consumer groups, and the bipartisan leadership in Congress, we are establishing a science-based, flexible system to better prevent food borne illness and protect American families.”

These rules are directed at preventing food borne illness during domestic and international food production in an effort to eradicate outbreaks in the U.S.

The first rule will require all domestic and international food production facilities that distribute to the U.S. to develop a preventive safety plan for food borne illness. Each facility will have 1 year from the rule’s enactment to design a plan that will include a action plan to contain and correct any food safety issues.

The second rule is directed at produce farms with science-based guidelines for both growing and harvesting all forms of produce. This rule includes aspects of water safety.

Large farms will have 26 months to comply with the new rules and smaller outfits will have additional time. 

Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said, “We know one-size-fits-all rules won’t work. We’ve worked to develop proposed regulations that can be both effective and practical across today’s diverse food system.”

“There are a lot of common-sense, practical things that work to reduce risk of contamination. We’re not going to relinquish all risk of contamination, but these steps will make us think more about what we can do to reduce it.”

The FDA team drafted these rules after five public federal meetings and regional, local meetings in 14 states, and visiting diverse farms and facilities.

At this time, a third rule is under construction that will encompass food safety in international farms and facilities that import into the U.S. The FDA reports roughly 15 percent of U.S. food consumption is produced internationally.

Down the line, animal food facilities will undergo a similar process to improve the health and safety of animal food production.

Review of and commentary on the first two rules of the new FSMA proposal is highly encouraged by the FDA.


This FDA News Release was published in January on the FDA website.

 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 4, 2013
Last Updated:
August 14, 2013