by Brian Wolfman
The FDA has issued two proposed rules to implement the Food Saftey Modernization Act enacted in 2011. Check out the FDA's home page for the new rules. The law seeks to do more to prevent food borne illness.
The first new rule concerns controls for human food and is aimed at the 166,000 or so registered domestic food facilities, including manufacturers, processors, warehouses, storage tanks, and grain elevators. Under the proposed rule, these facilities must devise a plan that
- evaluates hazards that are reasonably likely to occur in food, such as pathogens (disease-causing organisms) and allergens.
- specifies the steps that will be put in place to minimize or prevent those hazards.
- specifies how these controls will be monitored.
- maintains routine records of the monitoring.
- specifies what actions will be taken to correct problems that arise.
The second, more specific, rule proposes new standards for produce safety because produce is often a conduit for food borne illness. The proposal imposes standards for
- use of Irrigation and other agricultural water
- farm worker hygiene
- use of manure and other additions to the soil
- Intrusion of animals in the growing fields.
- sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools
The devil will be in the details, and if you want to read a detailed overview of the proposed rule (with links to various parts of the proposal), go here. The full 680-page proposal is here. The Washington Post has this article explaining the proposed rules. Go here for an AP story.
Three more rules to implement the 2011 Act are yet to come. They concern
- Foreign Supplier Verification for Importers: This program will require importers to verify that foreign suppliers are following procedures that provide the same level of health protection as that required of domestic food producers. About 15 percent of the food consumed in the U.S. is imported, including about 49 percent of fresh fruit and 21 percent of vegetables.
- Accredited Third Party Certification: The accreditation of third-party auditors would help ensure that food producers in other countries comply with U.S. food safety laws.
- Preventive Controls for Animal Food: This is the implementation of preventive controls at animal food facilities that are similar to those proposed for human food.