Food

International Capacity Building

Information available related to International Capacity Building under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).



Building International Capacity with Respect to Food Safety

About 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur. Specifically, the legislation significantly enhances FDA’s ability to oversee the millions of food products that come into the United States from other countries each year. An estimated 15 percent of the U.S. food supply is imported, including 60 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables and 80 percent of seafood.

The law gives FDA important new tools to hold imported foods to the same standards as domestic foods. With these new tools, FDA can better ensure that imported products meet U.S. standards and are safe for U.S. consumers.

Full Text of the Law Relating to International Capacity Building

FDA's International Food Safety Capacity-Building Plan

Section 305 of FSMA requires FDA to develop a comprehensive plan to expand technical, scientific and regulatory food safety capacity of foreign governments and their respective food industries in countries from which foods are exported to the United States. Further, FDA is required to develop the capacity-building plan in consultation with certain stakeholders, including representatives of the food industry, officials from other federal agencies, foreign government officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that represent the interests of consumers, and other stakeholders.

FDA developed the Plan in consultation with officials from other parts of the U.S. government; foreign government officials; NGOs that represent interests of consumers; food industry representatives; and other stakeholders. FDA has held several consultations during the development of this Plan to provide interested persons an opportunity to discuss the considerations in the Plan. One of these was the International Capacity Building public meeting, held June 19, 2012. FDA also established a docket to collect comments, data, and information relevant to the international capacity-building Plan (Docket No. FDA-2012-N-0437). In developing this Plan, FDA considered all comments it received, both oral and written.

The capacity-building plan includes, as appropriate:

  1. Recommendations for bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements, including providing for responsibilities of exporting countries to ensure food safety;
  2. Provisions for secure electronic data sharing;
  3. Provisions for mutual recognition of inspection reports;
  4. Training of foreign governments and food producers on U.S. requirements for safe food;
  5. Recommendations on whether and how to harmonize requirements under the Codex Alimentarius; and
  6. Provisions for multilateral acceptance of laboratory methods and testing and detection techniques.   

This Plan also incorporates several additional themes associated with evidence based decision making, partnerships and assessment analysis.

FDA issued the final International Food Safety Capacity-Building Plan (PDF: 5.7MB) in February 2013. FDA anticipates that this Plan will provide a strategic framework for the agency over the next five years.

Page Last Updated: 09/15/2014
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