National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Just talked briefly with David Gombas of United Fresh the afternoon of Jan. 3 and said that he, too, has heard rumors that the FDA is on the verge of releasing their long awaited food safety rules.

I called Gombas after I received an email from the Nature Conservancy, alerting me with the "heads up" about the proposed rules. According to the email, the rules will be release the rules tomorrow  (Jan. 4) and they will be published in the Federal Register on Monday (Jan. 7).

No evidence of the food safety rules so far at the Office of the Federal Register prepublication page.

The Nature Conservancy says the rules will have a 120-day public comment period.

President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act in January 2011 and it seems the whole world has been waiting for proposed food safety rules to be released.

Lee Mannering of PMA noted today in PMA's Field to Fork blog about a significant anniversary that will occur tomorrow.

From the blog:

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the Food Safety Modernization Act being signed into law, and as you know, several proposed rules our industry has been expecting have been under review for more than a year. Just before the December holidays, a USA Today article speculated that a reason for the delays is that “FDA has been the victim of a push in Washington to rein in spending and some Republicans in Congress who have questioned the necessity and cost of the regulations.”

The same article also offered some insight into the status of the proposed produce safety regulation. “The produce rule, for example, has been besieged with criticism that it was poorly written, and an insufficient job was done analyzing the costs and benefits for producers. All this has caused the rule to swell in excess of 700 pages, likely contributing to its subsequent delay, according to those who follow the food safety legislation,” the article stated.

If the rumor is true - and the anniversary date seems to give it credence -  then the industry better buckle up. It's going to be a bumpy couple of years.