New Federal Food Safety Rules Being Implemented
On September 10, 2015 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its final rules for Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food. The enabling legislation was the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011.
The stated purpose of this law is to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. The rules have been through several revisions after intensive comment periods and review.
Regulations scheduled for release in October will set new standards for farmers growing produce. These rules will likely require farmers to take new precautions against contamination responsible for food-borne illnesses.
Standards have been proposed for agricultural water, farm worker hygiene, and compost usage, sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment, and tools. The rules will apply to both domestic and imported produce.
The authorized increase in inspections will verify workers’ hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and animals stay out of fields producing fresh vegetables, among other things. The FDA’s administration anticipates the produce rule, as currently proposed, would prevent hundreds of thousands of illnesses caused by produce each year.
More information is available in FDA’s recent Press Release that includes links to the two new rules for human foods and for animal foods.