The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule laying out recordkeeping requirements for foods that could be linked to foodborne disease outbreaks. 

At the core of the proposed Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods is a requirement for those who manufacture, process, pack or hold foods on the Food Traceability List to establish and maintain records containing Key Data Elements associated with different Critical Tracking Events. That list currently includes food such as cheeses, shell eggs, herbs, leafy greens, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, nut butter, melons, peppers and sprouts.

While the proposed requirements would only apply to those foods on the list, they were designed to be suitable for all FDA-regulated food products, according to a FAQ about the rule, which is carrying out a requirement of the Food Safety Modernization Act. FDA would encourage the voluntary adoption of these practices industry-wide.

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FDA estimates the benefits of implementing the regulation would outweigh the costs as the public would see improved public health benefits for an estimated scenario of 84% traceback time improvement.

The proposed rule will be available for public comment for 120 days from the date of publication, which is expected in the next one to two weeks. FDA proposes that the compliance date for all persons subject to the recordkeeping requirements would be two years after the effective date of the final regulation.

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