Obama shores up food safety with final rule

Obama shores up food safety with final rule
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The Obama administration on Thursday finalized the last in a series of seven major rules to overhaul the nation’s food safety system and better protect consumers from food-borne illnesses.

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Under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new rule, domestic and foreign food facilities are required for the first time to complete and maintain a written food defense plan. The plan maps out the areas in the production process that are most vulnerable to deliberate contamination meant to cause wide-scale harm to the public.

“Today’s final rule on intentional adulteration will further strengthen the safety of an increasingly global and complex food supply,” Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s incoming deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement.

Food manufacturers have to comply with the new rule within three to five years, depending on the size of the business.

Facilities now have to identify and implement mitigation strategies to address vulnerabilities, establish monitoring procedures and corrective actions, verify the system is working, ensure personnel receive appropriate training and maintain certain records.

The rule is the last of a series of seven regulations required by the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act.