FSMA takes this principle and universalizes it: all importers now have the responsibility of driving U.S. food safety standards throughout their supply chains.
Another upside of the FDA’s metaregulatory approach, says Coglianese, is that border inspections become more than just the last line of defense against unsafe imports. They become a way to evaluate the entire regulatory scheme. “That kind of system assessment, with efforts to make continuous improvement, is a characteristic of most metaregulatory schemes,” he says.
The FDA will begin issuing proposals for comment next year, and all stakeholders will have a chance to try to shape the final rule. Whether the results will suit industry or achieve the ultimate goal of improved safety for food imports remains to be seen. Most stakeholders Security Management spoke with say they are optimistic—not the expected attitude when it comes to a forthcoming government regulatory scheme.