FDA finalises new rules on produce and imported foods
16 November 2015 • Author(s): Victoria White
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalised rules that establish enforceable food safety standards for produce farms, and make importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets US safety standards.
The FDA also issued a rule establishing a programme for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies, also known as auditors, to conduct food safety audits of foreign food facilities.
The rules, which implement the FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act, will help produce farmers and food importers take steps to prevent problems before they occur. They build on the preventive controls rules the FDA finalised in September 2015, which mandate modern preventive practices in food processing and storage facilities. These rules work together to systematically strengthen the food safety system and better protect public health.
FDA releases three new rules
The new rules released by the FDA are the Produce Safety rule, the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) rule, and the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule. The Produce Safety rule establishes science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce that are designed to work effectively for food safety across the wide diversity of produce farms. The FSVP rule requires food importers to verify that foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that meets US safety standards. The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule establishes a programme for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies to conduct food safety audits and to certify that foreign food facilities and food produced by such facilities meet applicable FDA food safety requirements.
The FDA has finalised five of the seven major rules that implement the core of FSMA. The remaining two rules on Sanitary Transportation and Intentional Adulteration are scheduled for release in spring 2016.
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