WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2013 – FDA today extended the comment period for two of its proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules until Nov. 22, 2013. The comments had previously been due today.

FDA says the extension is due to intermittent problems with the regulations.gov website, through which stakeholders are able to submit their comments on proposed produce and preventative control rules.

“We know that these difficulties are inconvenient and very frustrating,” the agency said in a statement. “For that reason, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to comment, FDA is providing more time for comments on both the proposed rule on produce safety and preventive controls for human food for an additional 7 days.”

Last week, organic advocacy group the Cornucopia Institute called for an extension to compensate for the site’s technical difficulties. Other farm groups said they were pushing their members to submit their comments through fax or the mail.

It’s the third extension for the safety rules, which were originally due in the spring. Since then, a federal court has ordered FDA to complete its safety rules by June 2015.

Additionally, FDA today extended the deadline for comments to determine the scope of environmental impact statements associated with its produce safety rule. Though the comments had originally been due today, they will now have a deadline of March 15, 2014, to allow for a more thorough “public scoping process,” the agency says.

The agency is particularly interested in “specific questions regarding agricultural water, biological soil amendments of animal origin, and wildlife,” it says.


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