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FDA Issues First New Regs Under FSMA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced two new regulations Wednesday, the first rules issued since the Food Safety Modernization Act gave it some extra muscle.

Both rules take effect July 3, the agency said in a statement.

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The first rule allows the FDA to detain food that may be contaminated or mislabeled.  The agency will have 30 days to keep potentially unsafe food from entering commerce while it determines whether further action – such as seizure or a federal injunction – is necessary.

Previously, the FDA could act only if there was evidence of serious harm or threat of death, and had to work under states’ legal authority in negotiating recalls with food companies.  FDA said it will continue to work in partnership with state agencies, but now has the power to administratively embargo potentially unsafe food.

“This authority strengthens significantly the FDA’s ability to keep potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Mike Taylor in the statement.  “It is a prime example of how the new food safety law allows FDA to build prevention into our food safety system.”

The second rule requires anyone who imports food or animal feed into the United States to disclose whether another country has already rejected or refused entry to the same product.

Taylor said these rules will be followed later this year and next year by proposed rules for both domestic and imported food.

The order on administration detention of food and the rule on imported food are being published in the Federal Register. Comments will be accepted for 90 days.

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