SILVER SPRING, M.D. — The Food and Drug Administration has finalized the first two of seven rules under the bipartisan F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization Act (F.S.M.A.), which focuses on the prevention of foodborne illness.
The two rules finalized, the preventive controls rules, focus on implementing modern food manufacturing processes for human and animal foods, ensuring that food companies will work with the F.D.A. and apply greater controls to prevent hazards.
“Rather than just react to outbreaks, we are requiring food facilities to take measures to prevent them from the get-go,” said Jenny Scott, M.S., a senior adviser in the F.D.A.’s Office of Food Safety.
With the new rules in place, food facilities will be required to develop and employ written food safety plans that mark possible problems that may affect their products’ safety and outline steps the facility would take to prevent or greatly minimize the likelihood of those problems transpiring. The F.D.A. will then assess these systems and their outcomes.
|Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, F.D.A.|
“We’ve been working with states, food companies, farmers and consumers to create smart, practical and meaningful rules,” said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, F.D.A. “And we have made a firm commitment to provide guidance, technical assistance and training to advance a food safety culture that puts prevention first.”
Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said the G.M.A. welcomes the new regulations.
“F.S.M.A. ensures that prevention is the cornerstone of our nation’s food safety strategy, places new responsibilities on food and beverage manufacturers, and provides the F.D.A. with the authorities it needs to further strengthen our nation’s food safety net,” Ms. Bailey said.
An estimated 48 million people fall ill each year from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die every year. Over the past few years, outbreaks related to various foods, from spinach to peanut products, have accentuated the need to make improvements in food safety.
“Today’s announcement sets us on the path to a modern food safety system that will prevent illnesses and continue to build confidence in the safety of the food served to our families every day,” said Stephen Ostroff, acting F.D.A. commissioner.The F.D.A. plans to have finalized all seven F.S.M.A. rules in 2016.