WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued the last of seven proposed regulations to overhaul food safety regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The latest regulations outline rules for the transport of food by shippers, receivers, and carriers in order to prevent contamination at vulnerable points in the food supply chain. This brings to an end a process that started last January, and the new regulations will now be open to the public for review through May 31, 2014.
"We are now one step closer to fully implementing the comprehensive regulatory framework for prevention that will strengthen the FDA’s inspection and compliance tools, modernize oversight of the nation’s food safety system, and prevent foodborne illnesses before they happen,” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.
The new rule would require shippers to inspect vehicles that are being used to transport food, if the food is not stored in a closed container. This would also apply to international shippers, who transport food using air freight or container vessels and then arrange for the transport of food via roadways in the U.S.
The FDA would only cover shippers, receivers and carriers engaged in food transportation if they have annual sales above $500,000. These rules will not apply to fully packaged shelf-stable foods, live food animals, and raw agricultural commodities when transported by farms.
In order to ease business in to the new regulations, the FDA will stagger implementation dates based on business size, and should be implemented one to two years from the issue of the final rules.
Action on FSMA comes more than three years after the legislation was enacted.