Levitt tells millers F.S.M.A. is 'big deal and here to stay'

by Jay Sjerven
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Joseph Levitt, Hogan Lovells
Joseph Levitt, partner at Hogans Lovells LLP, said the Food Safety Modernization Act is a “big deal and here to stay."

MARCO ISLAND, FLA. — The F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization Act is a “big deal and here to stay,” Joseph Levitt, partner, Hogans Lovells LLP, Washington, D.C., told soft wheat millers meeting on March 13 on Marco Island. Mr. Levitt said F.S.M.A. was the most important change in food safety regulation in our lifetimes. He said the law may very well endure for the next 50 years.

The transition from the Obama to the Trump administration may slow issuance of future guidance documents on how to implement F.S.M.A., but the seven final rules, the “seven pillars,” of the F.S.M.A. are established and will remain intact.

Mr. Levitt noted the flurry of executive orders relating to regulations and budget will have some effect on the pace of implementation and enforcement, but a rollback of F.S.M.A. itself was not in the cards.

The order requiring agencies to remove two regulations for every one introduced may prove problematic for the F.D.A., which would suggest no new rules may be contemplated for a while. Like all other federal agencies, the F.D.A. will seek exemptions from the hiring freeze. The F.D.A. budget may be trimmed, which may slow the full implementation of F.S.M.A., but the course has been set. Progress was expected to be incremental at any rate. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Mr. Levitt said.

Mr. Levitt said it was important to maintain a strong food safety culture. “Your best defense is to be able to explain your program.  ‘This is what we do, this is why we do it, and we care more about this than you do.’”
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