FDA signs off on food safety rules

FDA signs off on food safety rules
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The Obama administration has finalized a sweeping slate of regulations meant to protect people and animals from foodborne illnesses.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday its final preventative control rules for animal and people food had been submitted to the Federal Register for publication.

The rules, which are required by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), will require food manufactures to implement preventative controls to minimize the risk of contaminating food when it’s manufactured, processed, packed or held by a facility.

“Documents submitted to the Federal Register can publish several days after they are submitted, with larger documents taking longer to process and display,” FDA spokeswoman Juli Putnam said. “The FDA is committed to sharing information about the final rules and how food facilities can comply as soon as we are able to do so.”

Putnam said the agency “cannot speculate” on when the final rules will be published for public review.

The FDA was forced by a court order to finalize the rules by Aug. 30 after the Center for Food Safety (CFS) took legal against the agency in August 2012. The center argued that the FDA had violated the FSMA and the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to issue the required regulations by statutory deadlines.

The agency has until Oct. 31 to issue its final standards for produce safety and a final rule to create a foreign supplier verification program, which are both regulations required by FSMA.