The US Food & Drug Administration has outlined proposals for two new rules designed to strengthen assurances that imported food meets the same safety standards as food produced domestically.
The rules, proposed Friday by the FDA, would make US food importers responsible for ensuring their foreign suppliers are handling and processing food safely. The new measures, which form part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, include verifying foreign suppliers and accrediting third-party auditors, FDA said in a statement.
“These rules would make importers more accountable for food safety, and would enhance our ability to monitor conditions and standards in foreign facilities that produce and process food,” the FDA said.
“While we will continue to rely on inspections at US ports of entry to keep contaminated foods from entering our country, under these proposed rules, we will significantly enhance our ability to identify issues before food gets to our shores.”
The new measures will require importers to identify potential hazards associated with each food and verify that appropriate steps have been taken to control those hazards. The rules will also see the establishment of a system to strengthen the quality and credibility of safety audits and certifications for food exported to the US.
The proposed rules build on two other FSMA rules proposed earlier this year focused on ensuring the safety of produce and food facilities.
Comments on the two new proposed rules are due 120 days from the publication in the Federal Register on 29 July.