FDA issues regulation to bolster food safety

The Food and Drug Administration has released rules that will require U.S. food manufacturers to make detailed plans to identify and prevent possible contamination risks in food production facilities. As the Washington Post reports, "[t]he new regulations, which will apply to the production of both human and animal foods, mark the first step in a broader effort to make the nation's food safety system more proactive, rather than merely reacting to outbreaks after they occur. The rules ... represent a cornerstone of a far-reaching law passed nearly five years ago by Congress, which aimed to overhaul the nation's food safety system for the first time in generations. The FDA said it expects to finalize additional rules regarding the growing and packaging of produce, as well as requirements that imported foods meet U.S. safety standards, in coming months."

In more technical language, the FDA explained:

[FDA] is amending our regulation for Current Good Manufacturing Practice In Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food in two fundamental ways. First, we are modernizing the long-standing current good manufacturing practice requirements. Second, we are adding requirements for domestic and foreign facilities that are subject to our regulation for Registration of Food Facilities to establish and implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food. We also are revising certain definitions in our regulation for Registration of Food Facilities to clarify the scope of the exemption from registration requirements provided for “farms” and, in so doing, to clarify which domestic and foreign facilities are subject to the requirements for hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food. We are taking this action as part of our announced initiative to revisit the current good manufacturing practice requirements since they were last revised in 1986 and to implement new statutory provisions in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The rule is intended to build a food safety system for the future that makes modern, science- and risk-based preventive controls the norm across all sectors of the food system.

The final rule is posted here.