FDA Releases Groundbreaking Rules on Produce and Imported Foods to Modernize and Strengthen Food Safety System

Constituent Update

November 13, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today took major steps to prevent foodborne illness by finalizing rules that establish enforceable safety standards for produce farms, and make importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards. The agency also issued a rule establishing a program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies, also known as auditors, to conduct food safety audits of foreign food facilities.

Today’s final rules, which implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, will help produce farmers and food importers take steps to prevent problems before they occur. They build on the preventive controls rules the FDA finalized in September 2015, which mandate modern preventive practices in food processing and storage facilities. These rules work together to systematically strengthen the food safety system and better protect public health.

The new rules released today are the Produce Safety rule, the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) rule, and the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule.

  • The Produce Safety rule establishes science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce that are designed to work effectively for food safety across the wide diversity of produce farms.
  • The FSVP rule requires food importers to verify that foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that meets U.S. safety standards. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that imported food accounted for about 19 percent of the U.S. food supply, including about 52 percent of the fresh fruits and 22 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by Americans.
  • The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule establishes a program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies to conduct food safety audits and to certify that foreign food facilities and food produced by such facilities meet applicable FDA food safety requirements.  

The FDA has finalized five of the seven major rules that implement the core of FSMA. The remaining two rules on Sanitary Transportation and Intentional Adulteration are scheduled for release in spring 2016.

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Page Last Updated: 11/13/2015
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