The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reached a settlement with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Center for Environmental Health regarding the deadlines for publishing final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The agreement extends and staggers the final rule deadlines beyond the June 2015 deadline set by the U.S. District Court of Northern California last year. In exchange, the agency will drop its Ninth Circuit appeal in the dispute with the two consumer groups. The new deadlines are Aug. 30, 2015, for preventive controls for human food and preventive controls for animal food; October 31, 2015, for produce safety, foreign supplier verification program, and third-party accreditation; March 31, 2016, for sanitary transport, and May 31, 2016, for intentional adulteration. The settlement also removes any prior deadlines for public comment periods, which CFS says will allow for “more robust public participation throughout the rulemaking process.” “The FDA is committed to fully implementing the FSMA and to putting in place the modern, preventive framework envisioned by the law that will help to prevent foodborne illnesses and protect public health,” an agency spokesperson told Food Safety News. “The agency is working as quickly and expeditiously as possible to meet our deadlines for the final rules, while also ensuring that we get these rules right.” The agreement marks the end of the CFS lawsuit brought against FDA in 2012 for the agency’s failure to meet several deadlines for the FSMA-mandated rules.