( FDA )

The Food and Drug Administration will continue to have a loose grip on enforcing supplier verification requirements for certain value-added produce operations.

The FDA is continuing its “enforcement discretion policy” for compliance with certain Food Safety Modernization Act supply-chain program requirements applicable to receiving facilities that are co-manufacturers, according to a news release.

Three of the rules created to implement the food safety law — Preventive Controls for Human Foods, Preventive Controls for Animal Food, and the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs — require co-manufacturers that are receiving facilities and/or importers that produce food for the brand owners to approve suppliers and conduct certain supplier verification activities. 

The mandates, according to the release, were put in place to make sure suppliers are addressing hazards requiring a supply-chain-applied control.

In November 2017, the agency enacted a two-year enforcement discretion policy for compliance with certain supply chain requirements in response to industry concerns. Those concerns regarded some situations where supply chain requirements could conflict with existing contracts between brand owners and the firms the brand owners select to supply co-manufacturers, according to the release.

“The enforcement discretion was intended to give brand owners more time to work with suppliers to adjust contracts so that supply-chain related information could be shared with co-manufacturers,” the release said.

Industry is facing additional challenges in meeting the supply-chain requirements, according to the release, and the enforcement discretion policy will continue while FDA seeks possible solutions to industry challenges. The FDA did not say how long the policy will be extended, but said the extension will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register notice.

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