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Consumer and Public Health Groups: FDA Should Not Delay FSMA Implementation

October 8, 2013
by Christoper Waldrop
Food Safety News

(The FDA’s important food safety work, like the rest of the agency’s mission and much of the federal government, is currently on hold due to the government shutdown.  But once the agency gets back to work – which we hope is very soon – we urge them to continue to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act as expeditiously as possible.)

In 2010, Congress passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with overwhelming bipartisan support. Passage of the legislation followed years of debate on how to improve our food safety system, numerous Congressional hearings, and media reports on dangerous foodborne illness outbreaks, which were sickening and killing consumers across the country.

After President Obama signed the bill into law in January 2011, consumer groups were hopeful that FDA would work swiftly to implement the law.  Prior to writing proposed rules, FDA made considerable efforts to gather stakeholder input, holding several public meetings and numerous interactions with food producers and other stakeholder groups. When FDA finally developed proposed rules on produce safety and preventive controls, the rules were reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget for over a year before they were released to the public. FDA again held public meetings and engaged stakeholders to solicit their input, even sending FDA officials on a cross-country tour to hear directly from food producers. The due date for public comment on the proposals was pushed back twice to accommodate industry requests and to allow time to review the proposed import rules.

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