In what may seem to be an obvious move the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now finalized new rules that will require U.S. food manufacturers to prevent food-borne illness by implementing detailed plans on the prevention of food-borne illness. The new rules come in the wake of deadly food-borne illness outbreaks that kill more than 3,000 people every year.
Current regulations require food manufacturers, distributors, and regulators to only respond after an outbreak has occurred. With the new regulations they have to anticipate where the germs can get into their food product and then prevent it from happening, putting more focus on the prevention rather than waiting for it to occur.
Understanding the Food Safety Modernization Act:
The new regulations require food manufacturers to submit a food safety plan to the government that has to show how they plan on keeping their operations safe. The long-awaited regulations are a part of the government’s move to implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is an overhaul of food safety that Congress passed five years ago.
According to The New York Times, Michael R. Taylor, the deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the F.D.A., said that the law’s mandate was to
“transform the whole food safety system,”
“We don’t want to issue regulations that force change for change’s sake if they don’t make a real difference in food safety,” Taylor said, “Getting high rates of compliance is really the crucial issue.”
The new regulations do allow some exemptions which include one for the small producer that has less than $1 million in sales. There are some consumer advocates saying that it is a bit of a loophole, but the consensus among most advocates is that the rules are a huge improvement.
Voices of FSMA: The Road to Implementation:
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which is a trade group that represents the food and beverage producer, said in a statement, “for the deliberative and inclusive approach it took in developing these regulations.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Sandra Eskin, director of food safety for Pew Charitable Trusts said until now: “the FDA would investigate after the fact, after people got sick and products were recalled,” but now the federal officials are able to take action before food products that are contaminated hit the store shelves and “That’s huge,” she said.