FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress on December 21, 2010, and signed into law on January 4, 2011, is a response to the increasing burden of foodborne disease. It provides for the FDA a legal mandate to require comprehensive, prevention-based controls throughout the entire food supply chain. Now the FDA has the power to enforce preventive measures in all aspects of the food chain, instead of having to respond to outbreaks of disease and then still have limited power to do that which is necessary. The various food operations must evaluate all potential hazards, come up with a working plan to prevent or ameliorate them, implement the plan, and monitor the results. The FDA now has to establish science-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables to minimize the risk of disease. The seafood industry is being held accountable for preventing contamination and protecting the public by modernizing their systems. Inspections are conducted on a risk-based approach. This is essential to the proper operation of the various parts of the food system. Imported food safety is a significant part of the law which authorizes the FDA to refuse any imported foods when necessary. Proper recordkeeping is highly important so that appropriate agencies can determine what is going on when they are not present. All testing of products must be done by accredited laboratories. To clarify the various provisions of this Act, the FDA issued a series of proposed rules on Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food, Preventive Controls for Animal Food, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs. These rules are open to comment by the public and then final rules will be issued in order to obtain appropriate compliance with the Act and prevent disease and injury to people and animals. (See endnotes 43, 47.)

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