News Feature | March 21, 2014

FDA Announces Changes To FSMA Timeline

By Laurel Maloy, contributing writer, Food Online

FSMA Timeline FDA

As the final rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act near completion, the countdown to implementation requires deadline extensions and further input from the food industry and the public

The proof of what a huge job is being undertaken by the FDA as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) nears full implementation is in yet another extension. The FDA asked for, and received, a 90-day extension for publication of the final rules for intentional adulteration and the draft for qualitative risk management. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) extended the original March 31 deadline to June 30. This request for extension follows on the heels of the final public meeting on the rule, held in Anaheim last week.

FSMA’s intentional adulteration rule — it’s more than food defense

Early summer 2014 will see revised language published for the proposed rules on preventive controls for animal food, as well as for produce safety and preventive controls for human food rules. Calls for an extension for the comment period on the animal food rule by the grain and feed industry have been denied. An American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) spokesman, Richard Sellers, expressed disappointment, citing the FDA’s extension by the court. The deadline for comments on this rule is still March 31.

One other extension was granted for the comment period on the draft of methodological approach to identifying high-risk foods under section 204 of FSMA. The FDA was given another 45 days, the new deadline being extended from Apr 7 to May 22. Comments can be submitted here. The updates have been officially published by the FDA here and all extensions will be announced in the Federal Register. Stakeholders will receive updates through FDA’s CFSAN Constituent Updates.

The FDA is moving forward relatively quickly, considering its lack of funding and the daunting task of implementing a sweeping program affecting so many. Cooperation, patience, and what appears to be a well thought out strategic plan by the FDA will hopefully result in concise rules with little wiggle room for non-compliance.