November 1, 2019
“Keeping the American food supply among the safest in the world is a top priority at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That’s why over the past several years we have taken additional steps to modernize the food safety system and build upon the improvements made by the foundational requirements of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Melinda Plaisier. “As we continue to implement FSMA, it is important for us to look at ways that we can work together at every level of the government and private sector to act quickly when food safety issues are discovered. Today’s important new rule, when finalized and fully implemented, will help us to better protect consumers through the improved accuracy and reliability of human and animal food testing.”
Today, the FDA issued a proposed rule to establish an accreditation program for laboratories that test human and animal food.
Currently, the FDA requires certain safety tests for human and animal food, as well as environmental testing which are largely conducted by private and government labs. Under this rule, when finalized, the FDA will recognize accreditation bodies, which will accredit laboratories to conduct food testing in certain circumstances. Specifically, this includes testing to support import decisions; as evidence for some enforcement matters (e.g., as part of a corrective action plan related to a facility suspension), for certain foods with specific testing requirements, such as certain tests for shell eggs, bottled water and sprouts; and testing conducted as required by the FDA in a food testing order.
The new laboratory accreditation program, when implemented, would help improve the accuracy and reliability of certain food testing through uniform standards and enhanced oversight of the laboratories and the tests being conducted. In addition, the results will be required to be sent directly to the FDA by the accredited laboratories.
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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.