FDA extends FSMA comment period

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 - FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg today announced that FDA intends to extend the comment period for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed rules by another 120 days. The comment period was originally set to end May 16.

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Commissioner Hamburg's remarks about the comment period extension, made today on Capitol Hill, come only days after a number of agricultural groups sent a joint letter to FDA requesting the extension.

“Based on our current analysis, it would be impossible for any interested party to meaningfully comment on these two proposed rules by the current deadline of May 16, 2013 given they propose such a substantial overhaul of the structure of food safety regulation,” they wrote.

Others complained of the timing of the comment period, which coincided with the busy growing season.

Two new food safety rules were released at the beginning of this year, two years after Congress passed FSMA. The first rule, which will primarily affect farmers, proposes a number of safety standards for the production of fruits and vegetables.

The second rule will require food producers to “develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illnesses,” according to an FDA press release. Producers will also have to create contingency plans to correct for any problems that arise during the manufacturing process.


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