Friday, November 13, 2015

FDA unveils new anti-foodborne-illness rules

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today took major steps to prevent foodborne illness.

The federal agency announced that it has finalized rules that establish "enforceable safety standards" for produce farms, and make importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards.

The new rules are formally known as the "Produce Safety" rule, the "Foreign Supplier Verification Programs" rule, and the "Accredited Third-Party Certification" rule. Their details:

• The "Produce Safety" rule establishes "science-based standards" for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce that are designed to "work effectively" for food safety across the wide diversity of produce farms.

• The "Foreign Supplier" rule requires food importers to verify that foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that meets U.S. safety standards. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that imported food accounted for about 19% of the U.S. food supply, including about 52% of the fresh fruits and 22% of the fresh vegetables consumed by Americans.

• The "Accredited Third-Party" rule establishes a program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies to conduct food safety audits and to certify that foreign food facilities and food produced by such facilities meet applicable FDA food safety requirements.

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