The most sweeping changes in FDA oversight of American food safety in more than 70 years were enacted by Congress December 21. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) commended Congress for approving the long-awaited legislation.
“It was a long, sometimes frustrating effort, but Congress finally enacted legislation to truly modernize FDA’s food safety oversight,” Joel G. Newman, AFIA president and CEO, said.
Critically important to the feed and pet food industries, Newman said, is AFIA’s success in guaranteeing the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 carries several “firewalls” to ensure human food regulations are not inappropriately applied to animal feed and pet foods.
Exempt feed industries
Newman explained the new law carries several additional requirements for FDA to recognize sourcing and production practices unique to the feed industry.
These include the need to buy ingredients from elevators and others who commingle grains and oilseeds from several farms, and to ensure FDA can exempt the feed and pet food industries from certain regulations when appropriate.
Also in the new law is new FDA authority to recognize and officially approve the use of third-party compliance, inspection and testing organizations as part of compliance regimens.
No registration fees
The new law does not impose registration fees on companies as the House-passed bill authorized, another major victory for AFIA and the agriculture/food industry coalition in which it participated.
The law does authorize user fees to pay the government’s cost of a mandatory recall, facility re-inspections, export certification and the voluntary importer inspection program.
The new law gives FDA first-time mandatory recall authority, but with administrative protections for regulated industry, an AFIA priority.
The new law requires all companies currently registered under the Bioterrorism Act to re-register every other year with the agency and to develop written, risk-based food hazard control plans.
Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) recognized by FDA’s Centre for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) qualify as risk-based controls.
The agency will have greater access to registered company records, the ability to trace back contaminations, a voluntary expedited import control program, and penalties are increased.