The US Food and Drug Administration has finalised its long-awaited new food safety rules, with a compliance deadline for larger businesses of September next year.
The new regulations, introduced under the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA), include preventative controls to stop the spread of food borne illnesses in food products. The regulations follow consultation with the food industry and other interested parties, which began back in January 2013.
The regulation includes a requirement that food manufacturers produce and implement a detailed plan that identifies possible sources of pathogens and establishes ways to prevent those pathogens from contaminating food products. Manufacturing and production facilities must also establish a risk-based supply chain program that identifies preventative controls for raw materials and ingredients that could potentially represent a food safety "hazard".
The regulation will cover the majority of packaged foods on sale in the US. Meat and dairy producers are exempt from the rules as they fall under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture.
Responding to the final rule, Grocery Manufacturers' Association president and CEO Pamela Bailey said: "FSMA ensures that prevention is the cornerstone of our nation's food safety strategy, places new responsibilities on food and beverage manufacturers, and provides the FDA with the authorities it needs to further strengthen our nation’s food safety net.
"FSMA represents a comprehensive system of preventative measures so it is essential that FDA be appropriately resourced to effectively implement and enforce all of the food safety mandates set forth in the law. The food and beverage industry is committed to working with Congress, the Obama Administration and all stakeholders to ensure that Congress appropriates the necessary funding for FDA to fully implement FSMA."