Food safety rules get comment extension, come under legal scrutiny

Earlier this month, United Fresh Produce Association and more than 80 other groups sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking the agency to put off setting a deadline until other still-awaited regulations from the FSMA are released, so the comments can reflect a full analysis of the rules.

The industry is awaiting the release of foreign supplier verification rules, which would subject imported foods to U.S. regulations and safety standards.

A federal judge on Monday ruled that the FDA has illegally held up writing many of the currently outstanding FSMA regulations, according to the Huffington Post. The California case pitted the Center for Food Safety against federal regulators and the court agreed that the food safety rules were being "unlawfully withheld."

Judge Phyllis Hamilton of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said the agency had also violated Congress's deadline in the legislation and the Administrative Procedure Act by "failing to complete the regulations by the statutory deadlines." The Administrative Procedure Act governs the regulatory process.