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Industry praises FDA's finalization of two FSMA rules

Industry praises FDA's finalization of two FSMA rules

Industry associations commended the FDA for finalizing the first two of seven rules that have been proposed to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, Thursday.

The issuance of the rules for Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Food, which some companies will have to comply with by as soon as September 2016, mark the culmination of “an extensive outreach effort that incorporated thousands of public comments, including valuable input from farmers, consumers, the food industry and academic experts, to create a flexible and targeted approach to ensuring food safety,” according to the FDA.

Among the groups providing input was the Food Marketing Institute, which noted the rules represent “significant new responsibilities for food manufacturers and retailers up and down the supply chain."

“We commend the agency for its commitment to transparency, guidance and education throughout the rulemaking process,” said FMI’s VP of food safety programs, Hilary Thesmar, in a statement. “FSMA represents the most sweeping change to our food safety laws in over 70 years, and we will continue to work with FDA to analyze the rules and assess implications for the grocery industry.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has educated food and beverage industry members on FSMA compliance, praised FDA for its “deliberative and inclusive approach” to developing the regulations.

“FSMA ensures that prevention is the cornerstone of our nation’s food safety strategy, places new responsibilities on food and beverage manufacturers, and provides the FDA with the authorities it needs to further strengthen our nation’s food safety net,” said Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of GMA, in a statement.

The American Frozen Food Institute, which has been engaged in shaping the rules required of FDA to guide implementation of FSMA, is likewise pleased with the issuance of these final rules.

“We appreciate and value the collaborative working relationships cultivated by FDA during the development of these rules, and we believe a comprehensive, systemic approach to food safety will continue to provide Americans with the safest possible food supply,” said president and CEO Kraig R. Naasz, in a statement.

Industry stakeholders also pointed to the necessity of federal funding for food safety activities.

AFFI is among a group of retailers, manufacturers and industry associations that urged the Obama Administration to develop a fiscal year 2017 budget that adequately funds FDA’s food safety programs without saddling consumers and food makers with burdensome new taxes or fees.

“We stand ready to work with the administration and Congress to ensure sufficient federal resources are allocated to FDA’s critical food safety activities without imposing new costs on food makers and consumers through user fees," said Naasz.


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GMA's Bailey echoed the sentiment, saying: “FSMA represents a comprehensive system of preventative measures so it is essential that FDA be appropriately resourced to effectively implement and enforce all of the food safety mandates set forth in the law.

“The food and beverage industry is committed to working with Congress, the Obama Administration and all stakeholders to ensure that Congress appropriates the necessary funding for FDA to fully implement FSMA.”

The final rule for Preventive Controls on Human Food has elements of both an initial rule proposed in Jan. 2013, based on feedback collected from industry, consumer groups, the agency’s federal, state, local and tribal regulatory counterparts, academia and other stakeholders, collected before that time, and a supplemental proposal based on feedback solicited during a subsequent comment period, that was designed to make the originally proposed rule more practical, flexible, and effective for industry, while still advancing the FDA’s food safety goals, according to FDA.

For example, flexibility has been built into key requirements, including control of the supply chain, and the definition of farms — which are exempt from these regulation — has significantly changed to reflect modern farming practices, according to FDA.

The final rule for Preventive Controls on Animal Food likewise combines elements of an initial and supplemental proposal.

Additional rules will be finalized throughout 2016, according to FDA.

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