The Food and Drug Administration has settled litigation with two organizations that will allow more leeway in the deadlines for implementing rules released as part of the overarching Food Safety Modernization Act. The agreement reached by FDA and the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health was approved last week by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It is effective immediately.
The court had previously required FDA to publish seven major FSMA rules by June 30, 2015. Under the consent decree, the publication deadlines have been extended considerably, allowing FDA more time to gather and consider comments before issuing final rules.
Here are the new deadlines.
- August 30, 2015, for the rules on the preventive controls for human food and animal food;
- October 31, 2015, for rules regarding produce safety, the foreign supplier verification program and the accreditation of third-party auditors;
- March 31, 2016, for the rule on sanitary food transportation; and
- May 31, 2016, for the rule on intentional adulteration, or food defense.
The decree also allows more flexibility in the comment periods previously offered, so deadlines for comments on the proposed rules for food defense and sanitary transportation of human and animal food may be extended. IDFA has not submitted those comments yet but has joined the Grocery Manufacturers Association and others in asking for extensions for several rules.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at email@example.com.