WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has proposed two long awaited regulations as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (F.S.M.A.). The first proposed rule will mandate food-processing plants develop and implement hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans. The second rule will foster the establishment and enforcement of safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce.
Under the HACCP proposal, food companies will be required to identify and control potential risks for contamination. The proposal is part of the F.D.A.’s effort to focus on the prevention of food safety threats. Many companies will be required to comply with the HACCP proposal one year after publication in the Federal Register, with additional time allowed for small and very small businesses.
The fresh produce proposal establishes science- and risk-based standards for water and soil quality, worker hygiene and animal intrusion on fields. The F.D.A. proposes larger farms comply with the requirements 26 months after the rule is published in the Federal Register, with additional time allowed for small and very small farms.
“We know one-size-fits-all rules won’t work,” said Michael R. Taylor, the F.D.A.’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “We’ve worked to develop proposed regulations that can be both effective and practical across today’s diverse food system.”
For example, under the proposed produce safety rule fruits and vegetables that must be cooked prior to consumption, such as potatoes and artichokes, will not be subject to the same standards as foods that may be eaten raw.
“The F.D.A. knows that food safety, from farm to fork, requires partnership with industry, consumers, local, state and tribal governments, and our international trading partners,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, F.D.A. commissioner. “Our proposed rules reflect the input we have received from these stakeholders and we look forward to working with the public as they review the proposed rules.”
F.D.A. officials added that the agency will issue additional proposed regulations related to the F.S.M.A. in the coming months.
“We are pleased that implementation of F.S.M.A. is moving forward and look forward to working with the F.D.A. by continuing to share our food safety expertise and best practices and by evaluating and commenting on the proposed rules,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
The proposed rules will be available for public comment 120 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register