The food retail industry is readying for the implementation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new food safety rules.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), in fact, is recognizing the FDA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s food safety system with the Sept. 10 release of two rules pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Food. The final rules released go into effect next year and will impose significant new responsibilities for food manufacturers and retailers up and down the supply chain.
FMI VP of Food Safety Programs Hilary Thesmar said, “We commend the agency for its commitment to transparency, guidance and education throughout the rulemaking process. FSMA represents the most sweeping change to our food safety laws in over in 70 years, and we will continue to work with FDA to analyze the rules and assess implications for the grocery industry.”
It will be critical for FDA and industry to work together to provide clear and consistent guidance, education and outreach to ensure a smooth implementation process, according to FMI, which was supportive throughout the legislative process during the 111th Congress; it now works closely with the FDA as the agency continues its implementation of the law and releases additional FSMA rules over the next few months.
The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has been actively engaged on behalf of its 500 members to help shape the rules required of FDA to guide implementation of FSMA as well.
AFFI CEO Kraig R. Naasz said, “AFFI commends FDA for its current approach to FSMA implementation. 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.
“Food safety is the highest priority of the frozen food and beverage makers and distributors,” he added. “In fact, AFFI has invested significant resources to develop best-in-class tools and strategies to assist food and beverage makers prepare for and comply with the new food safety paradigm created by FSMA.
“We also 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.”
FSMA, which was signed into law in January 2011, represents the first major overhaul of the nation’s food safety system in more than 70 years. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
AFFI and a coalition of more than 60 food groups recently 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.