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Safety

FDA Proposes Food Safety Rules

by Britt E. Erickson
January 14, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 2

FDA has proposed two food safety rules that would shift the agency’s focus on food-borne illness from reaction to prevention. The long-delayed rules, released on Jan. 4, are mandated under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law two years ago. The first rule would require both domestic and foreign food manufacturers who produce food sold in the U.S. to identify hazards in their production processes that could lead to unsafe food and to develop ways to reduce the risks. The second rule would require farms to follow science- and risk-based standards aimed at preventing microbial contamination of produce. In general, reaction to the proposed rules has been positive, although many people are questioning why it took FDA so long to propose the rules and how the agency will implement them without additional funding. FDA is planning to release additional rules soon, including new requirements for importers to verify that food produced overseas is as safe as food produced in the U.S., standards to strengthen third-party food safety audits, and preventive controls for animal food facilities.

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