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FDA Extends Comment Period on Traceability Report

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week it is extending the deadline for comments on a 300-page traceability report put together by the Institute of Food Technologists for another 90 days to July 3.

As Food Safety News reported last month, the report, which looks at two pilot projects, was mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act. The comments the agency receives will inform a future rule on recordkeeping requirements that could vastly improve traceability in the food chain.

The report, which involved numerous stakeholders, was crafted by the Institute of Food Technologists over the past couple years. The organization conducted two pilot projects — one on tomatoes and one on chicken, peanut butter and spices used in processed food — designed to look at how food can be rapidly tracked, what types of data are needed and how the data can be made available to FDA.

The report makes several recommendations to FDA. IFT suggests, for example, that the agency establish a uniform set of recordkeeping requirements for all all FDA-regulated foods, with no exemptions based on risk, and that each member of the food supply be required to develop a product tracing plan. The document also calls on FDA to be more clear in communicating what it needs from industry to conduct food tracing investigations and says FDA should considering adopting a technology platform that would allow “efficient aggregation and analysis” of data submitted to FDA on request.

To submit comments on the report electronically, go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter docket number FDA-2012-N-1153.

See more about the report here.

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