As the year draws to a close, Food Safety News decided to take a look back at the agency’s comings and goings during the past 12 months.
Six of the seven main FSMA rules were proposed this year: preventive controls for human food and produce safety were proposed in January, foreign supplier verification programs and accreditation of third-party auditors for foreign facilities were proposed in July, preventive controls for animal food was proposed in October, and mitigation for intentional adulteration was proposed in December.
The only rule we haven’t seen yet is sanitary transportation of human and animal food, which is expected in January.
FDA took various other rulemaking steps this year. Among the various reports released, the agency issued a final rule and guidance for industry on administrative detention of food, an International Capacity-Building Plan, FDA’s food defense study and several reports to Congress.
The agency also did extensive outreach in 2013 on the proposed rules. FDA officials held eight public meetings across the country to solicit comments plus more than 175 listening sessions, webinars and meetings with various stakeholders.
Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor visited the Pacific Northwest and New England to discuss the produce safety and preventive controls rules with farmers, state officials and others.
FDA’s foreign offices conducted outreach in various countries, and officials visited Mexico, Canada and Europe, where they met with members of the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the Global Food Safety Initiative.
“We were determined from the beginning to be transparent in our processes and to engage all stakeholders in the work of crafting final regulations,” Taylor wrote on the FDA blog on Dec. 19. “Our outreach work has been focused on ensuring that we never took our eyes off the ultimate goal: Keeping the food that you and your family eat safe.”
While FSMA was the main focus of 2013, FDA also proposed limiting arsenic in apple juice, issued a set of standards for labeling food as “gluten-free,” announced plans to study the safety of caffeine added to food, released a report on the pathogens and other contaminants in spices, determined that partially hydrogenated oils are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food, released guidance for industry on reducing levels of acrylamide in certain foods, and issued a plan for phasing out the use of certain antibiotics in food animals.
Please stay tuned. On Thursday, we’ll bring you a look at the expected FSMA timeline for 2014.© Food Safety News