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Margaret A. Hamburg

FDA Compliance

Proposed Rules Will Strengthen Global Food Safety

FMSA includes enhanced focus on supply chain standards

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 15:36

It’s a small world. Every day, there’s a good chance that some of the food you’re eating came from another country. Fifteen percent of the food we eat, including nearly 50 percent of the fresh fruit and 20 percent of vegetables, is imported each year.

That’s why it’s so important that we do everything we can to help ensure that foods exported to the United States are safe for you and your family. To that end, two new rules that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes focus on preventing food safety problems before they happen.

These rules would make importers more accountable for food safety, and would enhance our ability to monitor conditions and standards in foreign facilities that produce and process food.

While the FDA will continue to rely on inspections at U.S. ports of entry to keep contaminated foods from entering our country, under these proposed rules, we will significantly enhance our ability to identify issues before food gets to our shores.

The bipartisan Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed by President Obama in January 2011, calls for a new level of accountability for everyone involved in the food supply chain, even if that chain begins halfway around the world.

So, in accordance with FSMA, we are proposing these rules:
• The Foreign Supplier Verification rule will require importers to verify that foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner consistent with U.S. standards. Under the proposed rule, in general, importers would be required to identify potential hazards associated with each food and verify that appropriate steps have been taken to adequately control those hazards.
• The Accredited Third Party Certification proposed rule would establish a system to strengthen the quality and credibility of safety audits and certifications for food exported to the United States.

These two proposed rules build on two other FSMA rules proposed earlier this year focused on ensuring the safety of produce and food facilities.

In the century that has passed since President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act of 1906, food safety has been a driving force for the FDA and part of our core mission.

We know that to protect American consumers, our work doesn’t stop at national borders. The world may be changing, but the FDA’s mission to continue to ensure the safety of the food supply for you and your family has not.

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About The Author

Margaret A. Hamburg’s picture

Margaret A. Hamburg

Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., is the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The second woman to be nominated for this position, she is an experienced medical doctor, scientist, and public health executive. As the top official of the FDA, Hamburg is committed to strengthening programs and policies that enable the agency to carry out its mission to protect and promote the public health.