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FDA Seeks Comment on Preventive Controls Against Foodborne Illness

Constituent Update

May 27, 2011

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comment on preventive control measures for food facilities through a public docket opened this week as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama in January.

The FSMA requires registered food and feed facilities to evaluate the food safety hazards that could affect food and feed they manufacture, process, pack, or hold and to identify and implement preventive controls to address those hazards. The agency opened the docket to solicit specific recommendations from stakeholders on what preventive control measures are appropriate, and any other pertinent information and recommendations, including measures that are workable for small businesses.

FDA is required to issue guidance with respect to hazard analysis and preventive controls, and information submitted to the docket will be considered in the development of that guidance.

"The preventive-controls requirement of FSMA is one of the most important aspects of this historic law on food safety," said Michael R. Taylor, deputy FDA commissioner for foods. "It's imperative that we get information, data and feedback from industry and other stakeholders."

Under the FSMA, preventive controls plans are to include information on: evaluating the hazards that could affect food safety and specifying what preventive steps or controls will be put in place to significantly minimize or prevent the hazards.

The preventive control plans must also specify how the facility will monitor these controls to ensure they are working, how it will maintain routine records of the monitoring, and what actions the facility will take to correct problems that arise.

Under FSMA, the FDA is required to issue a rule on preventive controls for food facilities. The proposed rule is expected to be published this fall.

FDA has engaged in extensive outreach to stakeholders on various provisions of the FSMA. The opening of the docket on preventive control measures follows an April 20 public meeting convened by the agency on the same topic.

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