FDA Announces First New Food Safety Regulations

May 9, 2011

New regulations for food recall and food imports will go into effect in July.

The first of many regulations established under the new Food Safety Modernization Act were introduced last week, according to FDA reports. Both rules will come into effect on July 3.

First, a new regulation will allow FDA to detain any food product it believes is insanitary or unsafe to the general public. The agency will be able to detain a product for up to 30 days while deciding on further action (seizure, federal injunction against distribution, etc.). Previously, FDA needed sufficient evidence to characterize a product as contaminated or mislabeled in a way that posed a serious health risk to humans or animals. FDA would have to work with state agencies to embargo products before federal action could be initiated.

“This authority strengthens significantly the FDA’s ability to keep potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers,” said FDA deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor.  “It is a prime example of how the new food safety law allows FDA to build prevention into our food safety system.”

The second regulation relates to U.S. food imports. If a party imports a food product to the United States, that party will be required to disclose any previous refusals of the product by other countries. The regulation allows for FDA to make better informed decisions on imported food risks, said Taylor.