NASDA to FDA: Get it right the first time - The Packer

NASDA to FDA: Get it right the first time

09/25/2013 10:34:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom Karst“Get it right the first time, that’s the main thing” - Billy Joel.

In love and food safety regulations, getting it right the first time is the main thing. And some people believe that the Food and Drug Administration needs more much more time to produce acceptable results.

The Food and Drug Administration’s produce safety rule now has more than 1,300 comments, and some of those commenting are seeking a longer period for comments about the rule.

That could be a problem, considering the FDA is under the thumb of federal courts about the deadlines for finalizing the food safety rules.

Final regulations related to the food safety legislation are due by June 30, 2015. That ruling, from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Phyllis Hamilton, was prompted by a lawsuit by the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group that says FDA has illegally missed Congressional deadlines for food safety regulations mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act. In that law, Congress had set July 2012 as the date food safety rules should be final.

In a Sept. 20 news release, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture said state agricultural officials from around the country voted unanimously to go to Congress and the FDA to assure adequate due process for the promulgation of FSMA rules.

From the release:

At the annual meeting of the NASDA supports the implementation of a food safety program and believes Congress should allow FDA to postpone finalization of this set of rules until a second draft of proposed rules can be published for public input.

NASDA members recognize the need to act swiftly to implement the law, which includes rules governing Produce Safety, Preventive Controls, Animal Feed, Import, and Third-Party Verification. However, given the complexity of the proposed rules, the current timeline may not allow FDA to craft a sound and operable food safety program.

Oregon Director of Agriculture Katy Coba, Chair of NASDA’s Food Regulation and Nutrition Committee, said, “Since FDA’s release of the rules earlier this year, NASDA members have been working diligently to review this necessary overhaul of America’s food safety regulatory system, but it is imperative we get this right. These rules must be workable for agriculture and reflect the realities of food production”

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Lenexa, Kan.  |  September, 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Kind of a defeatist attitude, your last line slam against Congress, my friend Tom. Should Congress allow a delay? Or should we just work with what we've got? There is still quite a bit of time to adjust the proposed rules, isn't there? That is FDA, not Congress.

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