The FDA will accepting public comments regarding newly proposed rule revisions to its Food Safety Modernization Act designed to help prevent food-borne illnesses, rather than responding to problems after they occur. The 4 updated proposed rules include: produce-safety; preventive controls for human food; preventive controls for animal food; and the foreign supplier verification program.
“Ensuring a safe and high-quality food supply is one of the FDA’s highest priorities, and we have worked very hard to gather and respond to comments from farmers and other stakeholders regarding the major proposed FSMA regulations,” stated FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA believes these updated proposed rules will lead to a modern, science-based food safety system that will better protect American consumers from potentially hazardous food. We look forward to public comment on these proposals.”
The changes not only include improvements in water quality testing to account for natural variations in water sources as well as adjust its approach to manure and compost used in crop production pending further research on this issue, the FDA is looking to address the issue of the use of spent grains, which are by-products of alcoholic beverage brewing and distilling that are commonly used as animal food.
“The updated proposed rule would also serve to clarify that human food processors that create by-products used as animal food already complying with FDA human food safety requirements (such as producers of wet spent grains) would not need to comply with the full animal food rule if they are already complying with the human-food rule,” added the agency’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine Michael R. Taylor.
In addition, he explained that the FDA is proposing a new definition of which farms would be subject to the produce-safety rule. “The proposed rule would not apply to farms with $25,000 or less in produce sales, rather than setting the threshold based on sales of all foods produced on the farm. The updated proposed rules also aim to simplify which entities are covered by the produce safety rule and which would be covered by the preventive controls rules.”
Lastly, changes to the foreign-supplier verification rule would give importers more flexibility to determine appropriate supplier verification measures based on risk and previous experience with their suppliers.
Public comments regarding any of these amendments will be accepted bythe FDA for the next 75 days as they continue to review expressed sentiments already received concerning sections of the proposed rules that will remain the same. The agency will issue its final rules next year.