The number of food facilities registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is on the decline, but may be getting to a more manageable number.
As of Feb. 2, there were 149,933 food facilities registered with FDA, and 47 percent — 70,976 — are outside the United States. That represents a 28 percent decline since Jan. 1, 2016, when there were 207,653 food facilities registered with FDA.
The steep drop in registered facilities is likely due to FDA removing food facility registrations that were not properly renewed by Dec. 31, 2016, from its registration database, according to a statement by Registrar Corp.
In an analysis of 2017 registrations for food facilities, Registrar Corp. found the 10 countries with the largest number of FDA registered food facilities remains the same as last year. (See chart at right for the Top 10.)
The drop off was greater than the 14 percent decline experienced after the 2014 renewal period.
New verification requirements took effect in 2016. Food facilities located outside of the United States are required to designate a U.S. Agent for FDA communications when renewing their registration.
Unless an agent was affirmatively agreed to in writing, FDA did not accept the renewal and the registration was removed from FDA’s food facility database.
Manufacturing, processing, packing or storing food for U.S. consumption without a valid FDA registration is a prohibited. Spokesmen for Registrar Corp says many foreign facilities do not realize their FDA registrations were removed until problems occur.
“To avoid costly detentions or regulatory action, it’s prudent for all food facilities to verify that their FDA registrations were properly renewed for 2017 before continuing with business as usual.” the Registrar spokesman added.
The precaution is “especially true” for food facilities located outside the United States. Registrar will verify the registration status of any food facility without charge, and it will serve as U.S. agent for food facilities that need such representation.
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