What is in this article?:
- FDA proposes new food safety rules
- Putting the rules into action
Measures could impact the quality of food supplied to restaurants
Proposed federal safety rules announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today are expected to reduce the risk that restaurateurs will receive dangerously contaminated foods, industry, public health and consumer groups maintained.
The rules, which the Washington-based FDA promulgated as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, signed into law by President Obama in 2011, appear to have no direct impact on restaurant-level foodservice operations, as they target food manufacturers and produce growers and harvesters.
But the measures, which will be subject to public comment for 120 days before being finalized, have the attention of restaurateurs, as they will impact the quality of the overall food supply, thereby reducing their potential liability.
“For the foodservice industry, there is no greater priority than food safety and our customers’ well-being. The National Restaurant Association strongly supports the Food Safety Modernization Act and believes these changes should provide for safer imported and domestically produced foods,” said Joan McGlockton, NRA vice president for industry affairs and food policy.
FDA officials said new rules build on strides made during the Obama administration, such as the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped-up testing for E. coli in beef, as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety.
The first rule proposed Friday would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness, not unlike the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, or HACCP, program now followed by the meat and seafood industries, said Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. The rule would also require manufacturers to have plans for correcting any problems that arise.
FDA officials said the second rule proposed Friday calls for enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms drawn from science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.
“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is a common-sense law that shifts the food safety focus from reactive to preventive,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, said in a statement about the goal of FSMA and the new rules. “With the support of industry, consumer groups and the bipartisan leadership in Congress, we are establishing a science-based, flexible system to better prevent foodborne illness and protect American families.”