FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules Aimed at Preventing Foodborne Illness

By Carlton Purvis

According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data, nearly 130,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die annually from foodborne illnesses.

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) the FDA has proposed two new food safety rules aimed at preventing foodborne illness. The FSMA, enacted in 2011, was the first overhaul of the country’s food safety system in more than 70 years.

“The proposed rules build on significant strides made during the Obama Administration, including the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped up testing for E. coli in beef as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety, which many producers, growers and others currently follow,” says a press release distributed by the FDA on Friday.

The first rule would require producers to develop a formal foodborne illness prevention plan and additionional plans for correcting problems if they occur. The second rule proposes enforceable, science and risk-based safety standards for produce production on farms.

The FDA hopes producers can be in compliance with the first rule within a year and the second within two years, with additional time for smaller farms.

The rules, Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (680 pages) and Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (540 pages), are available for comment for the next four months on the FDA Web site.

Additional rules will have requirements for importers to make sure foods are processed overseas are as safe as foods grown domestically and preventative controls for animal food facilities.

The New York Times reports the overhaul would cost producers tens of thousands of dollars a year and resources for oversight are an ongoing concern.

photo by Lori L. Stalteri/flickr


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