The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalised a new food safety rule under the landmark, bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will help to prevent wide-scale public health harm by requiring companies in the United States and abroad to take steps to prevent intentional adulteration of the food supply.
While such acts are unlikely to occur, the new rule advances mitigation strategies to further protect the food supply, the FDA said in a statement.
Under the new rule, both domestic and foreign food facilities, for the first time, are required to complete and maintain a written food defense plan that assesses their potential vulnerabilities to deliberate contamination where the intent is to cause wide-scale public health harm, it aid, adding that facilities now have to identify and implement mitigation strategies to address these vulnerabilities, establish food defense monitoring procedures and corrective actions, verify that the system is working, ensure that personnel assigned to these areas receive appropriate training and maintain certain records.
The rule was proposed in December 2013 and takes into consideration more than 200 comments submitted by the food industry, government regulatory partners, consumer advocates and others.
Food manufacturers are required to comply with the new regulation within three to five years after publication of the final rule, depending on the size of the business.
The FDA has now finalized all seven major rules that implement the core of FSMA. The Intentional Adulteration final rule builds on the Preventive Controls rules for human food and animal food, the Produce Safety rule, Foreign Supplier Verification Program rule, Accreditation of Third-Party Certification rule and the rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. These seven rules will work together to systemically strengthen the food safety system and better protect public health.