Today the Food and Drug Administration is publishing their proposals for two new rules: the “Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Foods for Humans and Animals” (Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0143) and the “Accreditation of Third Party Auditors/Certification Bodies to Conduct Food Safety Audits and Issue Certifications” (Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0146).
In a call with industry stakeholders held earlier today, Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor announced this “next major step in the implementation of FSMA.” Taylor went on to say that the central tenet of FSMA is to prevent contamination and that these rules will help ensure that all foods produced here or abroad meet the same standards.
“I am glad they are in a position to release these rules today,” said WG’s Hank Giclas. “These rules are part of the comprehensive package required by the Food Safety Modernization Act and need to be looked at in the context of the Produce and Preventive Controls rules that are already on the table.”
The proposed rules for the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs) would require importers to help ensure that imported food is produced in a manner consistent with U.S. standards.
The proposed rules for the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors will establish an accreditation program to help FDA prevent potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers through the use of accredited third party auditors and certification bodies. FDA also expects that this program will increase efficiency by reducing the number of redundant food safety audits.
FDA has established a 120-day comment period for both of these rules and because they recognize that these rules have direct bearing on the already published Produce and Preventive Controls rules they are extending the September 16 deadline for comments by an additional 60 days. Mike Taylor said that because FDA was under court deadline to finalize rules this would be the final extension for comments on Produce and Preventive Controls proposals. Giclas said “the additional time is important and will help industry to evaluate all 4 rules as a “package” of preventive proposals.”
The proposed rules along with links to useful collateral and explanatory materials are available on FDA’s FSMA website. Western Growers will be reviewing and summarizing the proposals as quickly as possible and will provide updates and resources to help members evaluate and comment on these important regulations
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