The Food Safety Modernization Act requires U.S. food facilities to register with the Food and Drug Administration between October 1 and December 31, 2012, to indicate the types of foods produced at each facility. In draft guidance released last month, FDA proposed changes to the food categories identified in the registration system, including one that will affect cheese manufacturing facilities.
The current "cheese and cheese product" category has been subdivided into four categories:
- Soft, ripened cheese;
- Semi-soft cheese;
- Hard cheese; and
- Other cheeses and cheese products.
FDA intends to finalize the guidance, "Necessity of the Use of Food Categories in Food Facility Registrations and Updates to Food Categories," before the registration period begins on October 1. Although most guidance is non-binding, FDA expects to make this guidance binding for industry based on "Congress's explicit statutory authorization to establish a binding requirement."
FDA plans to use this food product category information, when necessary, to provide a quick and targeted response to food-related emergencies stemming from accidental or intentional contamination or adulteration. Each facility will be required to re-register every two years.
"While FDA intends to have guidance finalized prior to the October 1 deadline, there is a possibility that they will not be able to do so," said Clay Detlefsen, IFDA vice president of regulatory affairs. "In that case, we fully anticipate the requirement to register would be pushed back later, and IDFA will keep members informed accordingly."
For more information, contact Detlefsen at firstname.lastname@example.org