Industry leaders from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and United Fresh are reacting to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) release of proposed food safety regulations.
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin
“The proposed rules—Preventative Controls for Human Food and Produce Safety—are important components to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which FMI supported when it was enacted by Congress and signed into law two years ago. The food retail community shares the commitment to selling safe, quality food to its customers.
“Food safety is the highest priority for FMI and its members, and FMI appreciates the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rules, in order for the final standards to properly safeguard the risk of product contamination.”
GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey
“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama two years ago today, is a landmark piece of legislation that represents the most comprehensive reform of our nation’s food safety laws and regulations in more than 70 years.
“FSMA ensures that prevention is the cornerstone of our nation’s food safety strategy. It places new responsibilities on food and beverage manufacturers and provides the FDA with the resources and authorities it needs to further strengthen our nation’s food safety net.
“To fully implement FSMA, the FDA will issue more than 50 regulations aimed at improving food safety.
“Today, we applaud the Obama Administration and the FDA for releasing the first two sets of proposed regulations from the new FSMA law (preventive controls and produce safety) for public comment.
“Consumers expect industry and government to work together to provide Americans and consumers around the world with the safest possible products. FSMA and its implementation effort can serve as a role model for what can be achieved when the private and public sectors work together to achieve a common goal.
“We are pleased that implementation of FSMA is moving forward and look forward to working with the FDA by continuing to share our food safety expertise and best practices and by evaluating and commenting on the proposed rules.”
PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann
“We’re pleased to see the proposed rules released and are eager to review and assess them. Throughout the regulatory process, we’ve worked diligently with and will continue to inform key decision makers to help guide these regulations in a direction that will best serve public health and our industry’s food safety needs.
“In the coming days we’ll provide an online summary of the proposed rules and will be scheduling a free webinar for members with FDA and PMA experts. And, over the next few months, we’ll read and analyze the proposed rules and work with PMA’s volunteer leaders to submit commentary to the FDA. Once the FDA reviews all the comments submitted, they’ll revise the rules in a final form, which will include a timeline for implementation.
“It’s important to remember that these are the first two of many proposed rules that will have implications for every aspect of the global produce supply chain. As more proposed rules are released, we’ll continue to provide updates to our membership and provide commentary to FDA on the industry’s behalf.
“Food safety remains a top priority for our members and we look forward to effective enhancements in food safety that not only protects public health, but bolsters consumer confidence. FDA has put in a great amount of time and effort to develop these proposals and they deserve our focused attention as the agency asks for our input.”
United Fresh’s Dr. David Gombas and Ray Gilmer
“United Fresh is pleased that FDA has published the draft rules and look forward to working with all stakeholders to conduct a thorough review,” said Gombas, SVP of food safety and technology. “We will work closely with members across the produce industry, leading food safety scientists, other stakeholders and the FDA to ensure the proposed rules are practical and effective for enhancing produce food safety.”
“United Fresh Produce Association has been among the most vocal supporters of comprehensive modernization of the food safety system in the United States, working with members of Congress and the Bush and Obama administrations, and testifying before House and Senate committees more than 10 times to advance improved food safety for fresh produce,” said Gilmer, VP of issues management and communications. “We will be analyzing the proposed rules to ensure that they draw upon the principles we have supported throughout the development of the FSMA. The proposed rules must be: 1) commodity-specific, based on best available science; 2) risk-based; 3) consistent no matter where produce is grown or packaged, in the U.S. or imported, large or small operations; and 4) flexible to allow for advances in science and production technology. We are committed to ensuring that those critical provisions, and others, will be integrated into the final rules going forward.”
The proposed rules
• The Preventive Controls for Human Food rule would require food companies—whether they manufacture, process, pack or store food—to put in place better controls to minimize and reduce the risk of contamination. Details.
• The Produce Safety rule would require farms that grow, harvest, pack or hold fruits and vegetables to follow standards that are aimed at preventing contamination. Details.