Under the new Food Safety Modernization Act, registered food and feed companies must evaluate known safety hazards that could occur as their products are made, processed, packed, transported and stored — things like the potential for cross-contamination, pest infestation or dirty equipment.


Then they must specify, put in place and monitor whatever steps will help minimize or prevent such hazards — things like segregating raw and cooked foods, pest controls and regular cleaning.

Given 18 months from the new law’s January adoption to devise guidelines for such hazard analysis and preventative controls, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now seeking public comment on what measures are appropriate, and other relevant information and recommendations, including what is workable for small businesses.

On Thursday, in announcing the agency was opening the docket for public opinion, Michael R. Taylor, deputy FDA commissioner for foods, said, “The preventive-controls requirement of FSMA is one of the most important aspects of this historic law on food safety. It’s imperative that we get information, data and feedback from industry and other stakeholders. ”

According to the FDA news release, this guidance-writing effort is on a fast track.  The agency said it expects the proposed rule to be published this fall.

Comments may be submitted either electronically or in writing until Aug. 22.

Submit electronic comments at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0238-0001.

Submit written comments to:

The Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

For more information on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) click here.