WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is extending the re-registration period for food facilities from Dec. 31, 2012, to Jan. 31, 2013.
The F.D.A. said it made the decision because there was a delay in its implementation of biennial registration renewal and registration renewal did not become available until Oct. 22.
Facilities are required to re-register every two years, and the re-registration will serve as an update to existing registration information and will involve making any edits to existing information and adding new information. When the process is complete, facilities will keep their existing registration numbers in most cases. Failure to re-register during the allotted time period will lead to the suspension of a facility’s registration.
The Food and Drug Administration announced on Sept. 28 it would be delaying its food facility registration efforts. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (F.S.M.A.), all food plants must register with the Food and Drug Administration, with renewals due in even-numbered years. The normal window for registration was to be Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
Under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, all facilities that manufacture, process, package, receive or store food for consumption in the United States were required to register with the F.D.A. The act required facilities to register only once with the understanding that any significant changes to the facility would have to be reported within 60 days.
The F.S.M.A. added the requirement that all food facilities would have to renew their registrations with the F.D.A. every two years, in even-numbered years, beginning this year. The act also required each food facility on registering to provide the agency not only basic information relating to owners, agents and trade names, but the types of activities conducted at the facility and the general categories of food products manufactured, processed, packed or stored in the facility.
In August, only weeks before the renewal process was set to begin, the F.D.A. issued a new guidance to industry titled “Necessity of the use of food categories in food facility registrations and updates to food categories,” in which it specified additional food categories it intended to include as mandatory fields in its food facility registration form.
The F.D.A. also indicated on its web site “three additional updated food facility registration guidance documents will be released later this year to further clarify the process.”